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April 2015

Bing has been on a rampage lately, working steadily to prove it can out-google Google. First they released a high-powered suite of image search features, then improved local business listings. The latest Bing rollout, however, doesn't aim to rocket it ahead of Google: it just plays catch up. That rollout is the appearance of long form answers in the search results. That means that Bing puts an in-depth answer box in the search results, giving you the information you want without ever having to click through to a site. For example, a search for "how do I get malaria?" might offer a detailed answer scraped from

Recently Glenn Gabe authored an interesting piece on the dangers of the disavow tool. Disavow is a tool that Google offers so you can disclaim low quality links pointing to your site---essentially calling "not it" and getting your penalty removed. That tool is extremely useful if you cultivated less-than-great links in the distant past or if your competitors try to undermine your SEO by pointing spam your way. But Glenn warns that it can also go horribly awry: website owners who aren't careful could cast away high value links, or even close the door on good links in the future. That's a major blow to your search ranking. I

"Internet" and "piracy" have become almost synonymous. The rise of high speed internet has made it possible to share videos, images, books and whole movies, with or without the creator's permission. But whose responsibility is it to fight back---the copyright owners, or the search engines? That question remains contentious, but Google has stepped up its efforts to crack down on piracy. The exact measures they use (and how well those measure work) are detailed in a full report by Danny Sullivan, using HBO's Game of Thrones as its case study. This issue is near to my heart, because when Season 4 debuted last year I was in Guanajuato, Mexico, and

By now you know that Google penalizes sites that aren't mobile friendly, and how to prepare your site so you're not one of the casualties. So far, however, the focus in the SEO community hasn't gone much farther than that---being mobile friendly is good enough to keep your search ranking, so it's all you need, right? A new article by Bryson Meunier explores how we can go beyond that. Bryson points out that being mobile friendly is the bare minimum of what it takes to avoid a penalty. He asks how we can make mobile sites even better, and what effects that may have, both for

Not long ago Google made a relatively unnoticed announcement: content from Android apps would get highly ranked in Google search results. As I wrote at the time, that simply doesn't affect many people---you need to already have the app installed for its content to show up in your searches. And it's only for Android, not iPhone. It turns out that little-heralded event was just the first step, however. Google has now changed the rules. It's not just content from apps you've installed, it's content from any Android app that Google has indexed. If your search turns up a result from an app you don't have, Google will recommend

As reported on Search Engine Land, Google is rolling out even more experimental search features---and two of them have been spotted in the field. They're being tried out on a small percentage of real search users, which means they could become standard soon. One of these offers new functionality, while the other is a redesign of the mobile search results page. "People Also Ask" The first live test involves a completely new feature known as the People Also Ask box. This does exactly what it sounds like: when you run a search, the box tells you a few popular questions related to that search. For example, let's say you

Is Yahoo working in a secret search engine to replace Bing? According to a recent leak, the answer might be yes---and it may already be offering results to a small percentage of users. Bing and Yahoo A little background is in order. Most people think of Yahoo and Bing as separate search engines, which is true to an extent. Yahoo is its own company, has a search service and at one time was among the leading innovators in search technology. However, since 2009 Yahoo search results are actually delivered by Bing. The truce is an uneasy one. Bing's search engine does the work, but Yahoo's logo is slapped

Not unlike schoolboys in a playground scuffle, Getty Images and Bing have gone from facing off to teaming up. The two internet giants have abandoned a lawsuit and say they'll work together from now on. The lawsuit was launched in September over what Getty referred to as "massive infringement" of copyright. Getty demanded compensation, but dropped the case this month. The Contenders Getty Images is more than a stock photo provider---it's one of the biggest players in the field. Its collection includes 80 million unique images, including all of iStock (which it owns). It also boasts over 50,000 hours of stock video, fueled in part by a partnership with the BBC, and has

A court decision in early April returned a baffling result in a defamation suit against Google Japan. If it stands, the judgment could have a domino effect on how Google works in Japan and around the world. A Review Too Far Click on any business in Google Maps and you'll get a few key pieces of information: their address, contact info, and average user rating. Click on that rating and you can see reviews by other users. This functionality is the same in all versions of Google across the world; it's an easy way to get a sense of what other customers are saying and perhaps what to

I have to disclose some personal bias. I'm a Google man. I have been basically since around the time that "google" became a shorthand for "to search," and they really pulled me in when they launched Chrome, which is still my browser today. As you can imagine, when Microsoft released the Bing search engine, I was nonplussed. That wasn't just because of my bias, however. Search engines get better with time. The more search strings they handle, the more they can evaluate how well users are getting the results they want and, ultimately, improve their algorithms to make the process even better. Thus, a new search engine is