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Bing It On! Guess Who Won?

I read a news article today about Bing It On, Bing's blind test of its own search results versus Google. Their claim is that people choose Bing's results 2 to 1 over Google when they don't know what engine is returning the results. In their words, "People are surprised because of how deeply the Google habit is ingrained in most searchers—they are responding based on their habits rather than the facts."

I decided to go ahead and give it a try to see if my own experience agreed with theirs. Certainly before the horrid Penguin update I would never have said that Bing's results were better than Google's. But now, after that miserable slap to Google's credibility... how would I choose?

The Bing It On challenge has you run five queries, then shows two sets of results (with no name attached). You can pick which results you think were better, or call it a draw. Here are my results:

Query Winner
old time radio Bing
Jonathan Leger Google
Plano TX Kenmore Repair Bing
search engine optimization Google
December flights to Paris Bing

In this blind test, I chose Bing's results 3 out of 5 times. Let me tell you why, query by query.

Old Time Radio

In my opinion, the absolute best site for getting old time radio shows for free is It was number one (where I think it belongs) in Google for ages -- until Penguin. Bing still has it at number one apparently, and that was the decision maker for me. Otherwise the results were similar.

Jonathan Leger

Who doesn't search for their own name, right? So I figured I'd give it a go and see. Google included a newer site of mine,, on page one. I hadn't queried that in a while, and was impressed to see that Google had already moved it into the position I felt it deserved. It's not in Bing's top 10. So Google got the win on that one.

Plano TX Kenmore Repair

The ice maker on my refrigerator went out just before we left for vacation, and I needed to find a repair person, so I gave that query a try in the test as well. To my astonishment, Google did not give any local listings in their top results, just a list of pages that were highly optimized for the keywords. Bing, on the other hand, actually gave me two local listings with an address, phone number and link to the service's website. A definite win for Bing.

Search Engine Optimization

Bing showed way too many over-optimized, non-authority sites for this phrase, whereas Google had all of the big names in the top spots (where they should be, in my opinion). So Google won this one handsomely.

December Flights To Paris

Bing won this one, not because of the web sites it listed in the top 10, but because it gave an awesome box at the top of the results that let me put in where I was flying from and flying to (with Paris already filled in for the destination), the dates I wanted to go (with a December date already pre-filled in) and a button to get a list of available flights. It even had the cheapest ticket price currently available showing on the page. Very, very nice. Another win for Bing.

Share Your Experience!

So that was my experience with Bing It On, and I was impressed (and a bit surprised) at the result. Why don't you take a few minutes to go take the challenge and report your own results in a comment below. I'd love to hear your experience.

Oh, and one last note: if you found this post beneficial, please share it using one of the buttons below -- all my top readers are doing it! ;)

Related Internet Marketing Q&A

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  1. A lot of times when searching for a query in Google, I feel myself searching on youtube, as more than the half of results are videos on youtube, which really sucks…Even Google is still far to give a satisfying search result.

  2. Great article, and it really sets you thinking.
    I’m no expert, but its interesting to think of the timeline factor.
    The rise of Facebook coincides with the decline of Google.
    I used to have Adsense dotted around several of my websites, that is until I got
    a warning email to remove it within three days. The Bing ads are a lot more
    relavent to the sites.
    I get annoyed when companies start acting as if they own the Internet.
    It would be interesting to know the terabites of webspace taken up just to satisfy the search engines.

  3. People give the search engineers at Google way to much credit. It has taken me 18 months, 4 spam complaints, a call to a Local Google office and 4 removal requests to get all hacked pages out of the Google index that were inserted on my site in Jan 2011. Currently they are gone. But I suspect that Google has not really deleted them from their database and sometime down the road a bunch of newbie Google search engineers will find them and try and put them back in. But a lot of people use Google because Google overall seems to me to deliver more relevant results than Bing has in the past.

  4. If it has to do with Microsoft, I don’t like it (except for their flight simulator) :) and Google has slapped me around too. So I’m not putting all my eggs into either of these SE baskets.

  5. Hey Jon, does you 1Waylinks software still work for increasing rankings after the penguin update?

  6. hehe nice tool
    had 2 bing and 3 google though
    it reminds me pepsi vs coca

  7. I was amazed to discover I chose Bing 3 of 5 times. Often the choice was because one offered videos and images in the list of result where the other did not. All of this simply points out what we already knew – don’t rely on results of just one search engine or directory. Work to get your websites rank high in all of them.

  8. I tested four, one being my name. Bing had someone in Europe (I am in Canada) as #1. Other than this, Bing was superior in 2 and tied in 1. I looked for auto repair for my car and Google gave me for sale ads while Bing gave me repair ads. My new sites are also doing better with Bing than Google. I have to admit I have only recently started looking at Bing and will continue to. Thanks for making me more aware!

  9. Google results are good, put not perfect there is always room for improvement, Bing has become a strong competitor and I think they will grow in the following months.

    Alexa shows Google shinking and a small increase for Bing

  10. maybe Bing is good in English but believe me it really sucks in other languages like french and Arabic

  11. I too picked Bing more than Google in the test. I wish they would leave this up and make it so we good get more than ten results. I would like to use it just as a search engine.

    Since the latest Google updates I have begun to use Bing more to find things that I’m searching for personally. With Google all you get now is Amazon, Ebay, Target, Walmart and Nextag. Bing gives us some sites that better match what I’m trying to find.

    I’m also seeing more traffic and sales from Bing to my sites. I think that some of the steps I have taken to re-rank my sites on Google has really helped my rankings in Bing.

    Interesting little find. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Certainly Bing loses when it comes to “habit”. It would take Google disappearing to make that happen quickly. It takes time and word of mouth for the momentum to shift. Another point is that Google was returning excellent results before Bing existed. I have done this comparison many times in the past and found Google to be the best.

    I will have to do the test with more earnest post (pick your favorite animal) and see how it fairs. I think Bing has been getting better while Google has been getting …er…intermittent.

    Good time for another showdown on my desktop!

  13. A simple one I did a while ago: “cold war black operations”.

    Google results focus on the computer game “Call of Duty: Black Ops”, including the top 3 positions.

    The entire top 10 of Bing’s results are focused on factual and historical data, which is what I was looking for, and is probably what most people will be looking for, when they search for a term like that.

  14. Bing won again, that was a surprise. Why is it so difficult to get pages indexed in Bing?

  15. Currently down. For the results anyway. Wonder if Google has anything to do with that?

    Microsoft was once, not too long ago the most reviled company out there, I think Google is looking to take over that top spot too.

  16. Bing has been the more consistent with the results – and the stats are beginning to show a larger shift to Bing – perhaps it is the IMers who have pushed G to the top and not the other way around (just a thought!)

    results: Bing 3, Google 1, tie 1

  17. My results were draw 3, bing 2.

    I really thought I was choosing Google results for at least one of the queries, but there you go.

  18. Nice experiment.

    Unfortunately for MS, in my tests Google *did* beat Bing 4 to 1.

    I also searched for my name (which is much more common than yours) and two of my sites which I think are good quality and filled with unique content.

    The other two searches, I did for a general local search for my hometown (“hotels in Bilbao”) and a medical condition I was recently investigating (“borderline personality disorder”).

    The only test Bing won was that for one of my sites, and not only because it listed my site higher -the other search also showed my site higher-, but because of the quality of other sites listed in the results.

    For the local search, it happend exactly the opposite to what happened to you. Google gave me several hotels with their addresses and phone numbers in Bilbao, as well as listed TripAdvisor at the top, which is a site I always check before booking any room anywhere.

    Nice experiment, anyway, and nice to see other people’s results!

  19. I had heard from a few friends that they had moved over to bing but im still a googler I guess more out of habit than anything. Still I had a feeling that Bing would win considering I had already done this test manually once before out of curiosity after my buddies told me they were using big. Out of my 5, 1 was a draw, one went to google and 3 to bing. A big win for Bing indeed. But It didn’t show anything cool like that flight widget you mentioned.

  20. In my marketing I have to do a lot of searches – for example “websites for women”. I then click on a site that I look the look of and check it out. Then I go back and check out the next one and so on.
    This is OK above the fold, but when you get further down the page it becomes an absolute pain in the butt on Google, because Google returns you to the top of the page after every search, so you have to scroll down the page to where you left off every single time. Bing returns you to exactly where you were on the page – surprising how much time (and pain in the wrist) this saves. Definite win for Bing.

  21. Hi – I tried the challenge and got Bing 3 out of the 5 times with two draws. I had quite a few pages in Google before the penguin and panda changes but most have disappeared now. However it seems that Bing has picked up most of the pages that google dropped.

  22. In my experience for technical issues related with web programming, Google provide more valuable results. I tried Bing, as my default search engined on Browser’s toolbar, for few weeks, but then I revert back to Google.

    Most of my searches are technically related, and more specifically, in the niche of web programming (PHO, JavaScript, CSS, Java etc’)

    Beside that, after almost two years of Panda/Pinguin is there anyone in the board that honestly claim that Google results has been improved? I doubt.
    I think that the damage caused by Google SE changes in the last two years, to the ability of small business with no Marketing budget, to utilize SEO and SEM for promoting the business, if much more significant then any doubtful improvements.

    For me now – Google is no more then Advertising company, and it is more then obvious that this corporation does follow its vision of “managing world knowledge” only for the purpose of selling more ads!!! and attacking alternatives that workaround Google paid advertising solutions.

    The issue with bing is that is is not aggressive as Google for adding pages to index. It is much slower in that or maybe much more conservative in its approach. Google on the other end index lots of pages, and then filter them using their algorithms. Of course it means different scale of IT effort, but it also means that the potential for “going wild” does exist on Google and not on Bing.

    This is like everyday psychology – you must let yourself get out of box, to reach a new areas. If you will force yourself to the same concept, without getting out of the box then you’ll become boring. This is exactly what happen to Google. It does not want to get out of the box anymore, but “force the box” named Google on its content providers (us). Combine this with the amount of traffic controlled by Google, and there you have a “fascistic” Internet.

    I believe that with the growing power of Apple, Amazon, Smasung, Facebook, etc’ the nature of Internet in the coming years is not as we used to get until two years ago, and not even as we know it today. This is becoming an Orgy of big players and it will be much difficult for startups without enough budget to get users attention, and therefore, have some success.

    • I agree that Bing isn’t as good for technical searches or really specific long tail searches. That’s why I still have to use Google most of the time, since those are primarily the kind of searches I do.

  23. That was an interesting idea, Jon. Just ran a test for several keywords with a good commercial value and Google was the clear winner. I’m sure that Bing will get better and better, though.

    • Yes this all sounds like position envy to me. lol

      Slapped by Google and now has axe to grind. People you can think what you want, G is still the biggest game in town. Want to dominate Bing..? Ha ha go ahead.

      • It’s not about position, but quality. If Bing consistently delivers better results and can get more people to try it, they have a chance at increasing their market share. Right now that doesn’t interest us marketers too much, but remember how quickly Google gained dominance once the word got out…

  24. For me it’s still Google. I’m in the UK and Bing kept serving me with USA results. Could have gotten really lost following their directions to the pub ; )

    Great article though. I’ll take the test again in a few months.

    Jonathan I’m looking at getting your best spinner, are there any deals available at the moment?


  25. I SEO for Google but for my personal searches I always use Bing. When it is something important or I want to compare top results I will search both. For about the last 2 years I have found that Bing is almost always the winner in finding what I want.

    Last week I wanted to see if a new doctor I have has a website. I entered the name and city in the search… In Google I got nothing but the worthless doctor directories on the whole page. In Bing the #1 position was the doctors website. WINNER!

    The only exception might be for serious academic research. That works so well I have never even investigated if Bing has something similar. I think I will go look now. :)

  26. Well Jon this does not surprise me at all! Ever since you developed Shablast (it being a Bing product) I have known that it was better than Google~

    I have to admit that I am always trying to please Google with my sites (so they will not blackball me), although when I really need to research anything, I turn to Bing! My old faithful search engine that I know will produce accurate results!

    When researching anything of importance to me, such information for a new article or site information as I use Shablast.

    I know that when I need to know anything, I will not get a lot of cr__, in my results, knowing that Shablast is a product of yours, it will be the correct information.


  27. On my results, Google focuses more on the PR of the sites and the relevance of the links (which I believe calls for a much more intelligent search engine) while Bing is more on the numbers of links (kind of like the 2008 – 2009 Google).

    I don’t know if this is accurate but it’s what I see. Thanks for the article Jon :)

  28. Hey John,

    I think this is a bit subjective – I put in your Plano TX Kenmore Repair and got local repair sites on both sides. I would have called it a draw?


  29. Hi,

    Yes, Google is synonymous with searching the web as McDonalds is synonymous with hamburgers. Even the word Google is now an accepted verb in the Oxford dictionary. Google has a massive 90% of the yearly searches while Bing a lowly 4.1%.

    It is unfortunate that people just I do, choose Google through habit and not because it is the best. Even my top keywords for my sites rank no.1 in Bing and the other search engines, but they do not in Google. So of course I would prefer Bing to gain in popularity. But I personally believe this engine is dead and will join the graveyard of search engines as did the first big one, Alta Vista.

    The question is, how as Internet Marketers can we promote Bing more?

    Even at the bottom of Jon’s post there is a clickable icon for Google+ to promote this. post.

  30. Another awesome post, Jonathan. I am on the Bing wagon ever since Google starting penalizing good sites with their algo changes, I’ve been disgusted and I too think they need some serious competition. It won’t happen overnite but if more people keep getting yanked off the serps because of an “animal” update, hopefully it will steer Bing some business

    It’s about time, G stops the monopoly!

  31. I have to say I did five searches and ended in a draw – I chose some pretty obscure things but the searches were all even:
    tree felling Draw
    cow bells Draw
    leather shorts Draw
    climbing axe Draw
    crampons Draw

    Mike FD

  32. I almost hope they keep the comparison site up because I kinda like having 20 results, without ads, from two distinct algorithms! Lately though, I find the results from DuckDuckGo to be a bit more useful for very specific phrases and technical queries, but Google is still the biggest source of traffic by far and so they’re still the one that matters for SEO. I won’t be too upset if that changes, but even if it ever does, it is going to take a long long time.

  33. Why be surprized ?

    Statistics show that, when a person tries Bing genuinely and sincerely for a week or so, they adopt it in about 70% of cases.

  34. In my case Bing won 3 rounds G 1 and 1 ended up as draw. I did use some of the ‘try these’ searches Bing suggests. Not sure if they show suggestions where people like Bing more than G.

  35. in my case Bing won by 2.

  36. I find the difference between the 2 search engines confusing and sometimes frustrating. One site I have was poleaxed by a penguin and it has just got back on the front page of Google. Frustrating because most of the backlnks were natural, the seo was good and it provides valuable information. I just checked in Bing, and it was 1 or 2. Previously it was 2nd or 3rd page. Go figure.
    But a video I’ve been really pushing as it makes good commissions, well its 1 or 2 front page Google, while it doesn’t even appear in the Bing video search. Again go figure.
    I do check and 90%+ conversions on the site come through Google, though it sits in 6-7 front page Google and atop of Bing for the main search term. I think that states things pretty clearly.

  37. As always, great post, Jon! In my ‘wholesale’ niche, I found Bing is more effective, and your post just confirm what I have in mind! Thanks for sharing!

  38. I saw the commercial and rather enjoyed it. Even though I’m a googler (there is something to that ‘habit’ thing), I really WANT competition for google because they NEED to stay on their toes. These last few updates are horrible and I say, let’s bring Bing more awareness so Google doesn’t get lazy!

  39. Yeah Jon,

    I have had similar experiences. With one authority site I built last year, Bing had the site ranking number one for its primary keyword in about one month from inception. It took Google about 110 days. Bing won on that one. The site and the page I was targeting with that phrase were by far the single most useful sources of information on that topic that was available online.

    Usually when I am searching for something really technical where my search is going to be long tail, I find that Google wins. If the search is a shorter one, I find that Bing sometimes shows me some really good alternative sites that Google doesn’t even have on page one.

  40. Hi Jon,

    Like you, I was also surprised I had picked Bing 3x over Google. During the test, I was thinking that this is going to be easy because I like Google more than Bing and I’m certain that I will always pick Google over Bing.

    After the last search query, I was 100% certain that I had picked Google 5 times; however, I was completely wrong when I saw the test results.

    Actual screen shot:

    It appears to me that my memory has failed me because I was accustomed to seeing more or better results in Google. Post Panda & Penguin, it looks like Bing’s results have remain unchanged, and more importantly, they are serving the search results that Google had BEFORE the Panda update.

    That was fun and certainly very interesting!

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