What is Bing?
Launched in early June, Bing is the latest search engine from Microsoft and represents the company’s latest attempt to gain market share on competitors Google and Yahoo. From a high level, Bing is essentially a combination of MSN Search and Live Search, re-formulated and rebranded as a stand-alone search engine (previous versions of Microsoft search engines were bundled with online services MSN and MSN Live).
Look a little closer, and it’s easy to see Bing offers several new features that give the engine an advantage over its predecessors, and possibly competitors. The most significant feature is how the engine displays results; Bing organizes and categorizes results by topic and updates its navigation dynamically to help searchers find what they are looking for faster.
For example, search for ‘Alzheimer’s Disease’ and not only will you get the top Alzheimer’s sites, but you’ll also get top sites on Alzheimer’s treatment, symptoms, causes, diagnoses, and more, as well as links to related topics.
This categorization of search results goes to the heart of Bing’s efforts to brand itself as a decision engine that does more than merely provide searchers a list of links, but rather helps them make smarter, faster decisions online.
What’s more, the new search results page is not the only new feature Bing offers. The search engine also now features a unique home page design that changes daily, a site preview function to help searchers evaluate a site before visiting it, and a ‘Popular Now’ option that, in an apparent nod to Twitter Search, provides a handful of trending keywords.
How will Bing Impact SEO?
It’s still too early to tell what the answer to that question will be. Bing’s ability to impact SEO will ultimately determined not by its innovations, but how well it can grow and sustain market share. If Bing can steal searchers from Google and Yahoo and hold on to them, it could have a profound effect on SEO, not only because it will demand more attention as a search channel, but because it could change how searchers look for information online.
However, if Bing can’t succeed where MSN Search, Live Search, and other predecessors have failed, its impact on search and SEO will be negligible.
Microsoft is putting 80MM to 100MM in advertising to help with the launch of this new engine, so some growth should be expected. Whether or not Bing can hold onto that market share once the ad dollars dry up is the real question.
How will Bing Impact my Search Campaign?
Outside of the possibility of some minor technical changes and extra monitoring, the immediate impact of Bing on SEO campaigns will be minimal. We currently recommend a ‘wait and see’ approach with Bing on account that any actions taken before Bing’s impact on the search market and searcher behavior would be premature. In the meantime, we will continue to monitor the situation and will provide insight and recommendations.
For questions or comments regarding Bing, please contact Jason McGovern, Organic Search Director. Jason can be reached by email, firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone, 617-663-1164.