Bing sucks at searches.
You know how I know that? Because I have an anecdote to prove it.
Anecdotes don’t prove anything. I know that. You know that. If I’m going to make a broad claim I ought to have solid evidence and statistics and data. I don’t. Well, I do, but that’s not the point, because I have a really good anecdote.
This wouldn’t matter except that Microsoft keeps trying to shove Bing down our throats. That’s behind the incessant pushes to use Edge for web browsing. The constant Edge popups, the ads for Edge that appear when you start up a new computer, the way Edge is used as the web browser and Bing is used for searches in the new Windows news feeds even though neither one is your default – Microsoft is obsessed.
There are three reasons Microsoft can’t give up: (1) business competition – Microsoft can’t accept that it’s been beaten handily by Google in search and web browsers; (2) pride – Microsoft’s feelings are still hurt that it stopped being cool with consumers years ago; and (3) advertising revenue – there’s good money to be made from advertising and Microsoft is pissy that it’s going to Google and Facebook.
Bummer, Microsoft, we feel you, but Bing sucks.
Let me give you some quick background and show you some screenshots and you’ll understand why I think that Bing is terrible at searches.
This is about me. My website, www.bruceb.com, the apple of my eye, the joy of my life. Maybe you have a business website. If so, you might want to check – this also could be your story.
Bruceb.com has been my business website since 1996. The site is constantly updated. I’ve been writing Bruceb News articles continuously for 24 years. (They were shorter in the early days.) The website is visited by a few thousand people every month, some of them regular readers, many of them sent to one of the articles when they search for a Windows tip or an explanation of Microsoft’s confusing business and personal accounts or the like.
Go to www.google.com and do a search for Bruceb Consulting or bruceb.com. Your search results will look something like this:
Now it’s more obvious. My website does not exist in Bing’s search index.
If you keep scrolling through Bing’s search results, there is literally no link to my business anywhere.
A couple of questions came to mind when I discovered this a few days ago.
(1) Look, I have to repeat this because it’s so weird. There is no link to my website in Bing’s search results for Bruceb Consulting or bruceb.com. What the actual f***? How is that possible?
(2) Notice that the third link is a Mapquest link to my mailing address. Mapquest. Mapquest? Really? Have I slipped through a Bing wormhole into the past?
(3) Is this Microsoft’s way of punishing me for writing snarky articles?
Answer to the last question: No. I’m not important enough. This is happening because Bing sucks.
When you view Bing’s search results fullscreen on a computer, there is a sidebar to the right with a “website” button and my phone number. But that only deepens the mystery – if it knows enough to put a link on the right (where it’s not displayed on mobile), why doesn’t it have that link as the very first search result in a search for the literal domain URL?
Early last year Microsoft floated the idea of forcing Bing to be the default search engine in Chrome for Office users. It was the Hindenburg of trial balloons but it was a good excuse for compilations like this one in Digital Trends of Bing’s history of search results loaded with child pornography, racist imagery, and conspiracy theories, and the time that the first result for “Google Chrome” was a malware site. It’s also hard to overlook the study in late 2019 that found Bing returns misinformation and disinformation at a far higher rate than Google. And it’s a bit troubling that last week Bing removed the iconic image of “Tank Man” on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, presumably in response to pressure from the Chinese government.
But I’m still kind of stuck on the point that my website does not exist in Bing’s search index. I’m pretty convinced there is only one conclusion that fits.
Bing sucks at searches.