On May 10th, Microsoft unveiled a significant update to Bing. The “new” Bing is rolling out over the next few weeks and will be broadly available in June (users can sign-up here). It features a three-column interface meant to help searchers act quickly. Results are organized into columns, and friend/expert input is given high visibility. According to Bing, “[T]he 10 blue links that search has been predicated on for the last decade no longer makes sense. Simply put, that’s not how you get things done.”
In addition to the core listings (in the left-hand column), Bing now features two new columns:
IMPLICATIONS for PAID & ORGANIC SEARCH
As the new Bing rolls out to more searchers, we’ll pay close attention to the potential impacts on paid and organic search. Snapshot and sidebar are very eye-catching and may—at least initially—draw attention away from the core paid and organic results. Furthermore, snapshot pushes down right-side paid listings, thus increasing the importance of appearing in the top-sponsored listings. We’ve noticed that Bing is testing the number of top-sponsored listings for some queries; traditionally there’s been a maximum of three listings, but—in some instances—we’ve seen four.
And with snapshot and sidebar now occupying prime search engine results page (SERP) real estate, it’s critical for brands to achieve visibility in the new columns. No longer can search, social and PR teams be siloed; on the new, integrated Bing, these teams must work together to holistically manage the SERP, where all of a brand’s assets are interconnected.
Snapshot is perhaps the greatest opportunity for brands on the new Bing. Snapshot is a big step for Bing in local search; historically Google has done a better job than Bing at integrating local. Initially, snapshot will show for local, task-oriented searches (i.e. find a restaurant, book a hotel, see a movie). Over time, snapshot will expand to other searches on places, things and people. For local searches, snapshot is a one-stop shop. Users can read reviews, get directions, view photos and book reservations in one place without clicking through various listings. Snapshot is front and center on the SERP; it really draws searchers’ eyes. Additionally, whether someone walks through your door is often dependent on a review they read on a search engine; with snapshot, customer reviews now occupy a prominent position on the Bing SERP. Thus, snapshot is critical for any brand that has physical locations. Brands should:
Sidebar comes on the heels of Google’s Search Plus Your World. And Microsoft—with its powerful Facebook partnership (something that Google lacks)—has certainly taken social search to the next level. Sidebar is positioned to help searchers easily find what they’re looking for, with a little help from their friends.
So how can brands influence sidebar results? The key is to encourage participation at the source—on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. The more people that are talking about your brand in social (and the more “likes” you have on Facebook), the more likely your brand name will appear in the sidebar results. For example, if a Bing searcher queries “flat-screen TVs,” your flat-screen TV brand could be visible in sidebar if the searchers’ Facebook friends have mentioned or liked your brand. To encourage participation at the source, advertisers should:
The new Bing has the potential to be a game-changer for search marketers. Bing has given high prominence to local content in snapshot, and it has given participants all the control in sidebar. Brands that are focused on (1) local optimization and (2) encouraging social participation are the most likely to benefit from the new Bing.
For more information, see Bing’s video:
&amp;amp;lt;A href=&amp;quot;http://www.bing.com/videos/browse?mkt=en-us&amp;amp;amp;vid=806a5bbb-addf-4039-bbeb-8578edffae4c&amp;amp;amp;from=shareembed-syndication&amp;amp;amp;src=v5:embed:syndication:&amp;quot; _mce_href=&amp;quot;http://www.bing.com/videos/browse?mkt=en-us&amp;amp;amp;amp;vid=806a5bbb-addf-4039-bbeb-8578edffae4c&amp;amp;amp;amp;from=shareembed-syndication&amp;amp;amp;amp;src=v5:embed:syndication:&amp;quot; target=&amp;quot;_new&amp;quot; title=&amp;quot;Bing Originals: Search goes social&amp;quot;&amp;amp;gt;Video: Bing Originals: Search goes social&amp;amp;lt;/A&amp;amp;gt;