[Editorial] Should You Use Bing’s Disavow Links To Report Spam Links Pointing Towards Your Site?

The Penguin update, Google’s latest algorithmic tweak takes over optimization very seriously. To be precise, Penguin has been addressed to answer the ever expanding issue of link spam; this algorithmic change lowers the ranking of sites who use unfair means to gain higher ranks in Google search results. (e.g there are sites who try to rob the so called “PageRank” through repetitive anchor texts.)

Penguin, apart from filtering over optimized sites, also scans for possible violations of Google Webmasters quality guidelines. If you have a website which has been intentionally over optimized, has a good number of paid links / reciprocal links, the chances of getting hit by a forthcoming Penguin update is very high. In fact, almost unavoidable.

Probably the worst thing regarding Penguin update is that there is no way you can prevent the upcoming massacre, as you don’t have control on who links to you. This has evoked the concept of negative SEO and many webmasters have this question – Can competitors harm my site through spam links? What is the procedure to tell Google that these links that point to my site are spam, I have not bought them and I dont want them to be associated with my site? I want to tell Google that I am not behind these links and my website should not be a victim of any algorithmic update.

Google: We Will Figure Out Spam Links On Our Own

Google’s classical reply is “You don’t have to worry about who links to you, we will figure it out on our own. We have our own judgement, methodologies and algorithms in place, as reliance on manual feedback from every single site owner is practically impossible. If some spam source is linking to your content and you see thousand of incoming links out of nowhere, you may want to file a spam report.”

However, Google Engineer Matt Cutts has recently said in a video that there are situations when a competitor can actually “behave like a competitor” and try to harm your site.

Matt said:

“Whenever we write an algorithm, e.g which looks at incoming links, we do think about what if a competitor tries to hurt someone else. We try to put in code to make sure that this practice is not easy to do, its not the case that someone can hurt someone else that easily. As a result, we haven’t really felt the need to add a feature in Google Webmaster tools which allows the webmaster to send us a list of links that Google should not trust or count upon. Maybe we will do it down the road but at least for the time being, we are not offering this feature.”

Bing: Tell Us About Unnatural Links From Bing Webmaster Tools

Bing has played white and made the first move, announcing a new feature in Bing Webmaster tools which allows webmasters to disavow links that are unnatural, spammy or completely created from “junk”.

Starting today, you can use your Bing webmaster tools account to tell Microsoft the sources who are maliciously linking to your website. There are situations when a spam site, a porn site or a low quality site rips you off and links to random pages on your site, so now you can tell Bing – “Hey, please do not count these low quality links, I don’t trust them and I have good belief they have been created by a spammer.”

An excerpt from the post:

Using the Disavow Links tool, you can easily and quickly alert Bing about links you don’t trust.  Using the drop-down, you can choose to input signals to us at the page level, a directory level or at a domain level.  We’ll note the “type” of location (page, directory or domain) and the date you told us of the action.

So if you’re paranoid about link spam and want to play it safe, you may want to send the entire list of spam sources to Bing. Please note that Bing team has clearly stated not to expect a dramatic change in search results, just because you’re using the “Disavow links” tools from Bing Webmaster tools. Your action will help Bing understand your intent and thoughts about links that are pointing towards your site, everything else will obviously be in Bing’s hand, not yours.

Verdict: Haters Gonna Hate, Spammers Gonna Spam – Just Do Your Thing!

If you ask me, I would not worry about it at all because this is something beyond my control. A hundred spam sites is okay but in reality, the number is quite high and keeps on increasing every single day. Reporting spam is a vicious circle and a complete waste of time, if your site is a bit old and has decent traffic.

But there can be situations when you’re left with no other choice. For example, your site got hit by a Penguin refresh, you analyzed the logs and found that organic traffic from Google and Bing has tanked. You can try and see if things work out but in general, I would not worry about it that much.  It is best not to worry about something which you can’t control but to make your own thing better, provide a good user experience and polish it until the shine returns.

Setbacks are part of the business, it is just a matter of time when you will take the right steps and the results will reflect on their own, without you having to knock doors of every other search engine on earth.

You know, Karma is awesome!

Can’t Touch This! MC Hammer Introduces New Search Engine – WireDoo

In an effort to show the world that he is still too legit to quit, MC Hammer introduced his newest endeavor – WireDoo! The announcement was made at the Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco yesterday. News.com.au reports that the rapper-turned-internet-pioneer’s company slogan is “Search once, see what relates”.


MC Hammer admitted that the world didn’t need another search engine but that WireDoo is “about relationships beyond just the keywords”. Apparently, this new service will strive to find content surrounding the key words entered. It will use “deep search” and “relationship search” technologies to get better results. At this time, the details are vague. As you can see from the picture below, WireDoo is not yet available. You can sign up for their beta test and they will notify you when they are ready.


Sign Up

MC Hammer is currently CEO of Alchemist Management, a mixed martial arts management and marketing company. The “About” section of their website describes him best, saying, “Legendary music icon and master of reinvention MC Hammer is CEO of Alchemist Management. Most recently, Hammer became one of the most influential personalities on the social media platform Twitter with over 1.8 million followers.” Wow, who would have ever thought that. I guess that rebel spirit of his is the secret of his success.

MC Hammer
Courtesy of Alchemist Management Website

There is a disappointing lack of information on the Web 2.0 Conference’s website. I am not sure if there are legal issues that surround posting videos of the rap mogul, or whether they are simply not taking him seriously. I am very curious to see where his newest endeavor takes him. It may not reinvent the web, but I think it will be fun to watch.

What do you think? Will this new endeavor go the way of parachute pants, or will it be a roaring success?


Looks Like Bing and Twitter are Renewing the Search Deal

So, this one’s fresh off the Web’s water-cooler that is Twitter. Bing and Twitter did a Twitter conversation that hints at a renewed search deal between the two, or at least some announcement around the same.

(Read from bottom up to the top)image

While this is also a dig at Google who lost the search deal, it could just pave way for a fresh announcement around Bing-Twitter deal. While Bing has made good strides in several search verticals like travel, it struck a fine deal with Twitter two years ago that allows it to use Twitter data for its real time search queries. Twitter’s search, for all it’s worth, is far from being useful allowing searching only past few tweets. Bing had earlier also integrated social information from Facebook within the search results making them more relevant.


While this conversation was on, Stefan Weitz, Director of Bing at Microsoft added fuel to the fire by posting a message to Jessica Verrili who handles Business & Corporate Development at Twitter.

While Twitter and Bing do the harmless flirting in the preview, I’ll grab some popcorn and wait for the show reel.

Move over, Yahoo Yodel. In Europe, it’s Time to Bing.

As part of the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance, from August 3, Yahoo! search results in Europe will be powered by Bing. Yahoo! will be migrating organic search results for its European properties to the Bing search index.

Yahoo - Microsoft Search Alliance

Organic (also referred to as algorithmic) search results are the non-paid listings found on the main body of the Yahoo! search page. This transition will happen for Yahoo UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. At this time, Yahoo! is not transitioning paid search results to Microsoft Advertising adCenter and companies can continue using their Yahoo! Search Marketing accounts.

In August 2010, a similar transition happened for Yahoo.com. After the transition, there were no changes in the branding or search experience, except a Powered by BingTM‘ text in the footer of the search page.

If you are a webmaster and organic search results bring traffic to your site, you are advised to compare your organic search rankings on Yahoo! Search and Bing for the keywords that drive your business and check for any potential impact to your website traffic. You might also want to check if you need to modify your paid search campaigns. Also, if you are not using the Bing webmaster tools, it is a good idea to do that now to ensure your site is prominently listed in both Yahoo! and Bing organic search results.

Facebook Comments Plugin Could Deprive Your Site Of Google SEO Juice

recently launched a new commenting system for websites and blogs which allowed website owners to add a commenting system to their blog posts.

No SEO Facebook Comments

The idea is very good considering that Facebook now has around 600 million users on the web and it would allow a user to comment with ease while allow them to also post those comments to Facebook itself. Facebook comments plugins also has a lot of other nice features like automatic plugin ratings based on likes and comments among other things.

However, the new Facebook commenting system also comes with a catch. The comments are only accessible to Facebook and cannot be indexed by Google or any other search engines for that matter.

Facebook Comments Bad for SEO and Webmasters

Commenting plays a big part on any blog allowing users to discuss a topic or add their own opinions to one. However, in addition to that comments are also a important part of SEO for a website, because they add value to it and Google often uses them while rating a webpage in their search results.

A very insightful post on Blind Five Year Old discusses this issue in depth and talks about how users comments are owned by Facebook. In fact I don’t think that even a webmaster has a way to export their comments from Facebook and integrate it in your own backend. This is a definite put-off for me since I would like to have control over data for my site.

Of course Facebook will more likely than not address these issues in the future, but it might take time. As of now, I feel that the Facebook comment plugin makes more sense on static websites which do not have a commenting system. I would definitely have loved to have tried out the Facebook comment plugins on the site, but these two pitfalls seem to be too big to ignore.

Do you use the Facebook comment plugin? Would you use it in future considering that you might lose out on Google rankings as well or not be able to re-import the comments to your blog? Do let me know through your comments.

Google Launches Instant Previews for Search Results

Looks like Google wants to go the instant way for everything. After launching , they have now added a new feature to Google search which will display instant previews to users for search results.

Google Instant Previews

Google had started testing Instant previews in early October, with more widespread tests in end of October. The feature was finally released to public earlier today. With Instant previews, users will be able to see a graphic overview of a search result which highlights the most relevant sections related to the search terms.

This is definitely a good thing because it will now allow users to preview pages before they actually visit it. However, from a webmaster point of view this might reduce the number of clicks you see to your website.

Here are some of the key features of Google Instant Previews:

  • Quickly compare results – A visual comparison of search results helps you pick the one that’s right for you. Quickly flip through previews to see which page looks best.
  • Pinpoint relevant content – Text call outs, in orange, will sometimes highlight where your search terms appear on the webpage so you can evaluate if it’s what you’re looking for.
  • Interact with the results page – Page previews let you see the layout of a webpage before clicking the search result. Looking for a chart, picture, map or list? See if you can spot one in the preview.

Instant Previews is currently not available for everyone and will be rolled out gradually to users across the world in the next few days.

Bing Real-Time Live Search Mocks Google Streaming Results

The world is waiting for Google to unveil the new real-time search as you type in the Google Press Conference scheduled in some time. You can also try out the Google Real-time search as you type, however, Microsoft Fan, Long Zheng has created a similar Live search experience using Bing’s API and Ajax.

Bing Real-time Search Results by Long Zheng

This is definitely a slap on the face for Google who have been working on the streaming search results for a while now, however, unlike the efforts Zheng put in, Google might have done a lot more.

So is the Google Streaming Search better than Zheng’s Bing Real-time live search? You can try both for yourself and decide by visiting Google’s streaming search results here and Zheng’s Bing Live Search here.

Try Google Real-time Search Results As You Type

Google will be holding a press conference today to unveil new search features including the Search as you type results. However, you do not have to wait till Google unveils it to the public to start using it.


Google’s Instant Search results page is already up and you can use it to see how the new interface works by heading to this URL. Using the search box provided, you can type in your search query and the results will update as you type.

I tried it out for several queries and not only is it super-fast, it also is very useful when you might not be sure what exact search keywords you should use. This is fantastic, go give it a try here.

(Source: TNW)

Yahoo Starts Testing Microsoft Search Listings

Quite recently, we told you that Yahoo was going to start testing with Microsoft soon, and today, they have officially announced that Yahoo is now testing organic and paid search listings from Microsoft’s Bing powered search backend.

Yahoo has begun testing displaying organic and paid listings using Microsoft’s search engine Bing. The only difference between the older and newer search is that the results will no longer be served by Yahoo, however, the interface and design of Yahoo search will remain the same.


As seen in the screenshot above, the organic search results in the yellow boxes are powered by Microsoft and include a mix of both organic and paid listings, the rest of the content on the page is still processed by Yahoo themselves. Right now, the Microsoft powered search listings will only be displayed on Yahoo web search.

However, Yahoo is also planning to include the Microsoft powered search listings on Yahoo! Mobile properties. Yahoo plans to roll out full Microsoft integration to all US and Canada users by August/September timeframe. More at the Yahoo! Search Blog.

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