SMX Advanced 2011 Keynote: Confluence of Social Data & Search

By Tad Miller | Jun 8, 2011
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Stephen Weitz is the Director of Bing and his keynote is about discussing the impact of socializing the web.  Danny Sullivan is moderating the Q & A.

Honey Badger is code name for new Webmaster Tools on Bing.  This Honey Badger “cares”.  It has crawl setting management with a drag and drop interface and role management for having better control on your settings.  It’s a major update on the “tool box”. is new for Bing (as well as Yahoo and Google).  Why should we care about  The web is a high fidelity proxy for the world.  The problem is the data is scattered across many places.  Search Engines have to go about gathering the data differently.  In the new world of “objects” in Schema, all the characteristics need to be assembled better.  Objects lead to actions. The services available on the web are now enumerable.  Binding them into objects is necessary.

The problem is structured data feeds are problematic.  The unstructured web is very messy.  Schema allows you to mark up the objects on your page and engines know what it is and how to use it.  You can add extensions to those objects.  Note:  it isn’t officially being used yet.

The “why social” part of the keynote

People are emotional when making decisions.  80% of people delay making a decision when making a purchase online before talking to someone else.

The amount of data that search engines have to sort through is huge (5 exabytes of data every two days).  The signals are so small when it comes to ranking decisions – their are just so many options.  Every search results yields millions of results.

Humanity is leaving traces of itself everywhere on the web.  Their are 30 billion Facebook posts every month, etc.  Search engines can now look at “who you” know and use that data in results.  Bing focuses on 3 areas:

  • Trusted Friends – Opinion infusion.
  • Collective IQ – the wisdom of the crowd
  • Enabling Conversation – within search.

Why do we need this?  Why should we care about this?  We like social interaction – it gets down to safety reasoning.  Events in Japan can affect the stock market in New York.  Social can communicate that.  Social interaction leads to higher success – when people work together they are successful.  Social can increase happiness – we can lean on each other and help each other.

Social search is just a piece of Search Quality.  Their are many other factors.  But it can help improve Search.

Bing models out a framework of intent with search queries to make guesses what searchers want in its answers.  Their are triggers that help it decide when to guess an answer versus giving just standard search results.

Facebook shares on Bing have taken a while to roll out.  They are shifting from being the decision engine.  Bing is now shifting to integrating their social networks, like Facebook.  It rounds out the decision engine perspective – you make decisions with your friends.

Search share for Bing has not “doubled” but Bing is seeing increased interaction with it’s SERPs since rolling out Facebook Likes.

Twitter is great for breaking news on Bing in real time search and now the news page of Bing.  ‘It’s going to be tough for Google to compete without Facebook integrated into SERPs.’  Google has done some cool things with +1 and Twitter though.

Bing gets real time ability to see likes and friends and can see the relationships and connections on Facebook through the data fire-hose.

Danny Sullivan asked shouldn’t search be able to do what will do already?  Stephen says that the opportunity is for certain “objects” you will be able to give much better hints about the page.   It’s a reality of computer science that we need better data to re-assemble the way we talk about objects. is not effecting rankings right now.  But it will be a ranking factor in the near future.

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