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Friday, August 14, 2009

Okay, so by now you've heard all the "news" about Bing being the next big thing. I've read about a dozen articles and even the Bing Guide For Webmaster's and I'm ready to give you my two cents.

First off, if you haven't visited Bing yet, give it a try. It will better help you to understand my pros and cons and also give you a sense of the user experience. I actually used it a couple of times after hearing of the big release without fully appreciating all of it's functionality.

Before I give you my quick overview, let me say that the only reason I'm even remotely interested in Bing is because Microsoft (who obviously owns the Bing search engine) has announced they are buying Yahoo! Just like any big organization it's only a matter of time until they support a single search algorithm and considering the millions they dumped into Bing - and considering how screwed up Yahoo! is internally (sorry Yahoo's), it's my opinion that Bing will prevail.

Okay, so what's good about Bing? A couple of things actually. Based on their research which confirmed the famous "F" pattern which describes how users view a web page, they found that the majority of users never go past the first 5 organic listing. This has shaped their content presentation and layout. Additionally, Bing provides access to categories of information, related search queries, and access to expanded information. Essentially they are bringing as much content forward as possible to make your search more efficient.

This functionality is based on research and an every intelligent algorithm that aggregates the search behavior of tens of millions of queries and user behavior. I know it sounds like big brother but it can also help you have a more rewarding search experience where you actually find what you're looking for quickly and easily.

What are the cons? Well, I wouldn't necessarily say that having someone help you make decisions is a con, but it does feel kinda creepy. I also don't believe that there is always a majority. What I mean is that the algorithm itself, but aggregating results across all users, is bound to have some shortcomings.

From a marketing perspective, it also has the possibility of changing the game somewhat. For example, if clicks are what drives top search engine placements, then web site owners are going to have FREE SEX in the title tag of every web page on their server.

I know I'm exaggerating a little bit but anything can happen. From my perspective, I still think SEO best practices are still essential. My advice to you is to make sure every web page you produce has a single theme and unique meta tags, URLs, etc. Bing is trying to categorize content and web pages so make sure you do the thinking for them. That's really the only way to win the artificial intelligence game!


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