Sharvanboskirk [Posted by Shar VanBoskirk]

Microsoft announced today its Bing search engine, a "decision engine" that will replace worldwide as of June 3.  A distant third place in the search engine game, Microsoft hopes that this engine will help it gain more searcher share by delivering results and content more relevant to how users actually search.  What makes Bing different from existing search engines?

  • Bing focuses on delivering answers, not Web pages.  Microsoft research shows (and Forrester's research affirms) that users rely more and more on search engines to deliver solutions…hotel reservations, movie listings, gift ideas, newsclip replays…not just a directory of Web sites.  Bing was developed to help consumers make decisions, not just to catalog content.

  • Bing organizes content/results by searcher (not algorithm) relevance.  Using research of what types of results have proven relevant to former searchers, Microsoft has organized its Bing interface to deliver the content users are most likely to value, rather than just content that matches an algorithmic formula.

  • Bing filters out results that aren't relevant.  Instead of giving users an overwhelming volume of results, Bing acts as a concierge to help point users to the results most likely to meet their need.

What does Bing mean for interactive marketers?

  • More, quality search inventory.  Today most advertisers buy search ads just with Google and Yahoo because Microsoft has a measly 8% share of searches — not enough reach to make buying search ads with MS worth the trouble.  Forrester expects Bing to change that.  We expect Bing to appeal to the savvy searcher seeking more relevant search results.
  • A new approach to SEO.
  •   Instead of Bing showing all sites that match the search engine's algorithm, it will show just three results for a given "subcategory" related to a search.  For example, a search for "Britney Spears" may organize by the subcategories "biography," "videos," "music" and "concert information."  This means SEO strategies will adjust in order to optimize Web content for select sub categories, rather than select keywords only.

  • Search engines will become information portals.  Search engines have long been used as gateways to Web content.  But as a decisioning engine, Bing introduces a search engine that actually delivers Web content without sending users away to other destination sites.  A search for "airfare to Denver" shows avaiiable fares, pricing trends, a buy or wait recommendation, and a link to purchase.  Since we expect other search engines to follow Bing's lead, this means marketers should expect increased costs for search and display ads.  We also expect online media planners to adjust the sites where they buy.  We expect consumers to frequent Bing (and other similar search engines in its wake) instead of other portals (Yahoo) and preferred destination sites.