Microsoft has made a big announcement over on the Bing Blog. There, they revealed changes to some major search features. Many of these features have been significantly overhauled to be more similar to Google’s. It’s worth noting that the search results will now be visually richer, too. This represents a major upgrade to Microsoft’s core search, and their goal with these improvements is to “evolve the search experience” across all of Bing search.
Yes, we know. Microsoft’s Bing is usually considered a persona non grata compared to Google in terms of SEO efforts. But Bing is still relevant, and optimizing for Bing can put your site in front of a slew of fresh eyes.
Let’s take a closer look at the major changes that Microsoft is making to its signature search engine!
More Intuitive and Interactive Results
With the updates announced on its Bing blog, Microsoft has made their results more dynamic and adaptive. In other words, the results will now adapt to better reflect the content you really want as you go through the search results.
They have made these adaptations because thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are cooking from home than ever before. In response, Bing’s recipe experience will “extract and aggregate” the most relevant recipes. It will then put them together in one view on the SERPs.
This alone is a fairly significant improvement of Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
Infographics-Inspired Search Panels
One of the larger overhauls to the Microsoft Bing search panel includes visually immersive experiences. For instance, take a look at how the following search experience looks. Substance and style are the name of the game here, and it sure looks like they have met their goal:
Enhancements to Local Answers
The local answers feature has also undergone a major overhaul with an infographic design-inspired approach. Local queries that focus on things you may want to do in a specific location will provide combined information from many different sources. This will provide an extensive overview of the topic at hand.
Microsoft says this experience is likely to be available in the US within the coming weeks.
Improved Autosuggest Functionality
In addition to the visual improvements, Bing has also improved their Autosuggest predictions. Their new technology is called Next Phrase Prediction.
Google has had similar results for keyword phrases for some time—remember Google Instant, everybody? Now, Bing can provide such phrase recommendations when you type in real-time for long queries.
Bing’s results before were actually pretty limited. In fact, the only thing you could really do was look at Bing to complete the autosuggest.
The addition of these improvements allows Bing to provide better context to you for your search. This is huge for Bing because it means that they are trying to become more like Google, at least when it comes to search.
Expansive Carousel Experiences
Bing has also made improvements to their carousel experiences. Their additions include a hover-over action that lets you organize your media lists (such as books or movies).
For instance, see what happens when you search for the query “space books” (yes, this is their example…doing a quick search, I sadly could not find other queries that have this carousel):
It’s a very nice improvement to Bing’s search results for these types of queries.
Bing’s Updates Are Welcome Improvements
Why, exactly, are these updates important? Well, any major changes in search engines (including Bing) mean that you have to keep an eye on your traffic and rankings (ideally, you should already have some sort of review process in place for such situations).
That’s because these major changes also trigger changes in your traffic, which in turn is because they are fundamentally changing the way people search. If you find that your traffic has dropped significantly, you may want to think about a plan of action in order to overcome the loss in traffic caused by changes in user behavior.
What do you think of the changes coming to Microsoft’s Bing?
Screenshots by author