It seems Bing places a lot of weight on site rep, but also on author reputation too. Schwartz already looked at how Bing employs engagement metrics when ranking. This new installment examines why reputation and transparency of authorship, along with negativity are also crucial factors when trying to perform well on the search engine.
Author reputation and Bing
When asked about author reputation, Canal - who is Bing's Principal Program Manager, said, "I will take the example of coffee. If you search for 'coffee grinder', most customers want the basic coffee grinder that is, I don't know, $25 in a shop and that's it; this is good, they are satisfied by this. But professionals or the people who really love coffee are not interested in the cheap coffee grinder. They want the expert things that will grain the coffee in a special way and so on. And for this customer, they really want to get the expert answer from specific individuals in the U.S. that are writing high-quality blogs, high-quality information, that have high-quality reviews. What really matters is having knowledge and understanding that the people who wrote this content are trustable -- it's high quality. So coming back to you, Barry, obviously you are one of the top [reporters], if not the top on search engines, and when we search for [search engine-related content], we may be more interested by your articles than by some others people that do some random SEO comments about SEO or ranking. You become the authority, we believe that we know and
we will know even more moving forward that you are a celebrity, knowledgeable on search engines, and so we will promote your content because you write high-quality documents." Olson, Head of Evangelism at Bing, added, "But, we probably wouldn't rank you for COVID."
Website reputation when ranking on Bing
When quizzed about how Bing arrives at an assessment of a website's reputation, Canal said, "Let's take the example of a virus today: if you type COVID-19, what matters? Is it Wikipedia because we see some interesting content on each and everything? Or, are you more interested in WebMD or some government sites that provide the latest on this thing? Or, are you interested in a document that you may post on COVID-19 that you did in Search Engine Land? And at the end, it is really about mapping and understanding that this website is an authority for this specific domain. And, it's all about understanding that authority means there is very trustable content there that we can use to link customers and satisfy the intent of a customer. And so [there are] a lot of techniques in play to really understand and classify internet content, internet domains, internet hosts and so on, and associate 'Okay, this is reputable on [this] specific topic.
'Completeness of content' matters too
Olson also revealed that completeness of content is an important factor when Bing ranks material in search results, adding, "You don't have to have the history of everything on a single page. There are so many websites, and this falls in a couple of different areas, [for example, a page with the title] 'You won't believe the amazing change between Mary Kate and Ashley on Full House versus today,' and it's an article that every page is just links or ads everywhere, and instead of showing the before-and-after photo you have to go through 75 pictures to get there. It is not complete content -- you have to literally go through 75 different pages. So that would be considered not complete in my mind. Just making sure that you have an article that's a full article: If you're talking about a topic, that you don't just say one word or a sentence or an H1 tag, but you actually are then completing that thought, you complete the answer. So again, going back to the quality, it's useful and relevant based on the query and to the user set so they don't have to click through 40 pages to get the answer."
Using transparency of authorship to rank higher
When it came to transparency of authorship, Olson said, "Not every piece has to have an author. Part of the transparency was the understanding: Is this written by a person? Is it a corporate entity? Because there's content that gets scraped and republished, so for me on the transparency side was understanding is there an actual author or person." She then added an example based on when she writes material herself: "I write on the Microsoft Advertising blog and that gets associated with me but sometimes I write for Microsoft Advertising where it's not necessarily me as Christi talking about a topic."
Negativity is a factor
Olson went on to explain why negativity matters when material gets ranked in Bing results: "Back to when Bing participated in something called the Trust Project they asked questions such as 'Is it a true statement or is it just derogatory? Am I saying horrible things about somebody that are unsubstantiated claims, is there any truth or backing behind it? I can say that I held a party and it was the biggest party in the world, but if you see my living room, could I really hold the biggest party in the world in my living room?"
Olson reveals that the search engine uses citations and sources to determine whether or not a piece of writing is credible, saying, "If you're making a statement, whether it's positive or negative, do you have data to back it up, is it a trustworthy data source, do you provide those links?"
While a lot of this is pretty straightforward and expected, it's interesting to get some insight as to exactly what matters to Bing. I guess that if you're not a renowned author in your field, you can make sure and provide as much information on sources as possible, and guest posting on websites that carry some clout is going to be just as effective on Bing as anywhere else.