Today Bing Forever Changes Search and SEO

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Bing has made an announcement that might prove to be the biggest blow ever dealt to rival Google. Starting now, Bing will incorporate Facebook data into search results in the most personal and actionable social search to date. In short, search for something on Bing and, if you have activated Facebook results, you will see which pages, products and websites your friends like and recommend -- very high in results, no matter if that website routinely ranks first or dead last. 

Got your attention?

Watch the video below, then keep reading to understand the full impact this has on Web professionals of every kind.

Perhaps what stands out most is that these results appear completely independent of any traditional SEO practices. If your friends like it, it will appear on the first page of results. Without a shadow of a doubt, this forever changes search and SEO. Here's how:

It's Not What you Know, but Who you Know

If you've ever searched for a job, you very well know that connections are what matters most. Bing is applying the same principle to search. The higher your business' visibility on Facebook, the better chances of your website being Liked and your content and products appearing high on these new social search results. As mentioned in the video, your Facebook friends don't need to Like content for it to appear high on Bing results -- even the Collective IQ will influence results. 

Bing says this about how Facebook conversations will be incorporated, in their official blog post about the matter: "Our vision is to combine Bing with the power of discovery and empowerment of conversation. That’s when the magic will really begin." 

Clearly, more social integration will be coming from Bing.

Content Keeps the Throne

Let's take a brief step back. Content is King, and so it remains still. The only way a page will be Liked by the masses on Facebook is if it contains great content. That also means varied content -- not just blog posts but also video, images and audio -- as well as content optimized for a social context. But this does not kill traditional SEO. In many cases, pages will still need to be "found" in order to be Liked from the new Bing button. Total strangers to your business can still influence search results, so SEO still matters.

Facebook Domination

It's easy to see that Bing is relying on Facebook for social search. Some might think that, because it's so focused on one website, Facebook, this news is not exactly earth-shattering. But as Facebook blows past three-quarters of a billion users stretching across the world, yes, it matters greatly. Consider that Facebook users -- all of them -- now have added incentive to use Bing rather than Google. And don't expect Facebook to be the only or last social experience to be incorporated in Bing results. This is just the beginning.

Another interesting note -- Facebook could block Google from indexing any or all of its content, at any time. Which, could all but kill Google for heavy Facebook users.

Bing has much more to share about their new social search.

Google, are you there?

You can understand if Google just swallowed. Hard. I can tell you that I've found Google search results -- while thorough -- less relevant as my Internet experience has become more social and localized. I bet I'm not the only one. Now you can understand why Google has been frantically trying to enter the social space, most recently with Google +1. Maybe, just maybe, it's too little, too late.

Does this change search forever? 

Does this make Facebook a top business priority? 

Should Google be worried?

Share your thoughts below!

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TonyP 05-17-2011 2:16 PM

I would be worried, except you don't even have facebook on your website, and who really wants to install the microsoft tracking toolbar so I can LIKE anything and everything?? Maybe you like LIKE, but not me. I logout of facebook when I am done just so they don't track me.

CindyK 05-18-2011 11:35 AM

On one side, I think its great that we can see what our friends "like" and whether we want to admit it or not, it does influence our buying decision.

On the other side, it makes me wonder if this expands even further and we are continuously influenced by others, how hard will it be to be like to new things?

I think it will be much harder for newly established businesses and brands to "get in".

Mike Phillips 05-18-2011 1:38 PM

That's an interesting viewpoint, CindyK.

On the other hand, 'getting in' could then provide a most loyal consumer base. I suppose it's up to the business to get in with the right audience and really work to make those customers true advocates.

LindaC 05-19-2011 4:11 PM

I agree that it will be more difficult for a new business...unless they've got big bucks behind them

MichaelF 05-21-2011 5:48 PM

Wow.. this may be a small milestone in the history of our industry. I see a dot on a timeline "20xx: Bing merges with Facebook" I think Bing/Microsoft/Bill Gates is not going out without a fight, maybe not going at all! Doesn't change much from my point of view, as stated in the article, "content" is still king, and good SEO is still necessary. Let's watch.

MelissaK 05-23-2011 4:34 PM

This is great, and I'm surprised that Google didn't think of this first.  Social media is definitely changing the way that people interact on the web and I think that this will have a big impact.  Depending on how Google decides to respond, it may bring Bing closer to becoming a real competitor.  Either way businesses need to rethink their game plans to incorporate social media as an important marketing factor.

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