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A website i'm working on has be receiving large intermittent spikes in what looks like legitimate organic Bing traffic on a specific search phrase (the site is the first organic link for the phrase). I know from experience that this search phrase on its own, isn't popular enough to bring this type of traffic spike. That leads me to believe there are other factors at work.

The referrer is formatted like this:

http://www.bing.com/search?q=%2bsearch+phrase&FORM=msn114

The beginning of the search phrase has a + sign in front of it on each one (+search phrase). Is anyone familiar with this type of referrer leading to large traffic spikes?

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  • You got my interest... have you done a search on Bing for this phrase to see what you get??
    – closetnoc
    Jul 11 '14 at 16:33
  • Just a typical search results page for the search phrase. I noticed on their homepage they link to news stories by sending people to an organic SERP page. It uses FORM=HPNN01, so the key may be finding "FORM=msn114" but that didn't turn up much info at either search engine. Not sure about the + sign at beginning either.
    – JMC
    Jul 11 '14 at 17:01
  • Odd. I do not use Bing at all so I could not tell you if this is new, normal, or anything. But I suspected that it would be a Bing thing.
    – closetnoc
    Jul 11 '14 at 19:14
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    Regarding FORM=msn114. Maybe these searches come from the Bing Bar microsoft.com/oem/en/products/other/pages/…. I see that the msn114.exe is a Bing Bar related process. It might be a coincident but I thought it was worth mentioning.
    – Don King
    Oct 15 '14 at 16:40
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Without knowing how much of a spike, 100s or 1,000s, or what the search string is, it is tough to say definitively. It is possible that there was a brief pocket of interest in that search string due to news events or possibly just a couple of people researching the topic.

You should check that search on Twitter and in Google Trends and see if anything sticks out to you.

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