Overdrive Compares Google, Bing Social Search Results

  • by May 26, 2011


Companies that are more active on Facebook or interested in real-time news will receive better social search results with Microsoft's Bing than Google, according to a study by digital agency Overdrive Interactive. Conversely, Google delivers better results for companies that are more active on Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Quora and Google Buzz.

In a new white paper titled "Social Searching: Personalizing the Web," Overdrive noted that Google users need to be logged into a Google account to see social search results, and the Google account must be linked to their social networks.

Bing users can access social search by logging into either Facebook or Windows Live -- both accessible through the top of the Bing home page. "The biggest difference between Google and Bing is that Bing has formal partnerships with Facebook to bring more relevant Facebook results to users," Overdrive stated.

For its test, Overdrive selected 30 subjects -- 10 Fortune 500 companies (including Target, Geico, Netflix and Continental Airlines), five celebrities, five video games, five TV shows and five movies.

Google-related conclusions included:

• Searching on a subject whose Facebook fan page a user has "liked" delivers more relevant results than the same search conducted without having "liked" a page.

• Being logged into Twitter while conducting a company search can bump the company's Twitter profile into the top results.

• Searches for celebrities yielded the most shared results from both Facebook and Twitter.

For Bing, Overdrive found:

• The Fortune 500 category delivered more live Twitter streams than any other category.

• Logging into Facebook or Twitter during a search session auto-corrected a user's geolocation.

• Logging into Facebook from Bing before doing a company search was likely to deliver a first-page listing for that company's Facebook page.

• For the same searches, Bing displayed more live Twitter streams than Google did.

"Search engines used to index web sites and their external linking structures as their main source of site authority and resultant Search Engine Result Pages," explained Jeff Selig, Overdrive's director of analytics and optimization and co-author of the white paper.

"With the addition of social indexing or social tagging, search is now defined by explicit and implicit user feedback," he added.

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