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Bing Deep Links Issue to Blame for 'Mysterious' Yahoo Links

Danny Goodwin
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A Parkersburg News & Sentinel blog post featured a reader’s question that stumped the author: “Why does a link for a fiery accident on I-77 from 2011 pop up when I do a simple Yahoo search for ‘The Marietta Times’?” Turns out there is an easy answer.

Bing's Deep Links to Blame

Rather than settle for a dissatisfying conclusion of “I don’t know,” Search Engine Watch contacted Duane Forrester, Bing’s senior product manager, to find out why two of the eight featured Deep Links pointed users to rather odd locations – one to a story about a fatal fiery car crash from April 2011 and the other to an obituary from February.

“This is a known issue – essentially, there are instances when ‘spiky’ terms can appear in Deep Links,” Forrester said. “Believe it or not, those two items were very popular on that site. We’re looking at ways to sort this in the very near future.”

So what are Deep Links? Bing says it assigns Deep Links to established and “authoritative” websites, with the goal of “exposing the most popular deeper content for trusted sites.”

Basically, they are Bing’s equivalent of Google sitelinks – a group of eight links located beneath the search result featuring the homepage link, URL, and description (in this case The Marietta Times) that point users toward popular sections within the same website (e.g., Obituaries, Local News, Local Sports, etc.), as seen here:

marietta-times-bing

As a comparison, here’s what Google shows:

marietta-times-google-sitelinks

This can also be seen in a search for [Parkersburg News and Sentinel], where Bullets Hit Car, House is one of the eight Deep Links featured along with Obituaries, News, Sports, Jobs, and so on:

parkersburg-news-bing-deep-links

As a comparison, here’s what Google shows:

parkersburg-news-google-sitelinks

Wait, Bing? Isn’t This is a Yahoo Search Problem?

For those unfamiliar, Yahoo no longer serves its own organic search results. Bing began serving the algorithmic results that Yahoo searchers see starting in August 2010 in the U.S., as part of the Microsoft-Yahoo search deal signed in 2009.

So yes, Yahoo shows the same search results:

marietta-times-yahoo-deep-link

And note all the way at the bottom of Yahoo’s search results the “Powered by Bing” notation. Indeed, humans don’t control search engine links, but Bing does control Yahoo’s search results:

yahoo-powered-by-bing

How to Edit Deep Links on Bing

Is Bing surfacing an odd Deep Link for your website? Would you rather another section or page be featured instead? There’s a solution for you (and these news sites) if you don’t want to wait on Bing's fix.

To manage your Deep Links, sign into your Bing Webmaster Tools account (create an account if you haven’t already). Select your site, click the Index tab, and click on Deep Links. From there, you can block (or unblock) a deep link, or change the order of Deep Links by using the Weighting Preference option, giving high or low preference to links.

Changes won’t take effect instantly. Bing notes it may take “some time” before you see any change.


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