The culmination of a deal signed just over a year ago is that Microsoft’s Bing now powers Yahoo! search. The actual search impact remains to be seen, but it’s worth noting that the two search engines together (Yahoo! and Bing) account for only about 30% of U.S. searches – with Google at 65%.
The real SEO news is that Bing is launching its brand-new Adaptive Search. This is a tool by means of which Microsoft will attempt to adjust its algorithm to take into account the contextual relationship of a user’s search history. Microsoft’s Aidan Cook explains the Bing Adaptive Search this way: “Every time you search on Bing, the information provided helps Bing understand what you’re trying to do. The more you search, the more Bing can learn – and use that information to adapt the experience so you can spend less time searching and accomplish what you set out to do.”
So, if you search for “Australia” with travel-related qualifiers, Bing can “surmise” that you’re planning a trip. The search engine can then present search results in line with this and make your search efforts more productive. The goal, in a nutshell, is to personalize search.
And what does this mean for a brand? To have an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy, you have to REALLY know your audience. Search engines are continuing to evolve – with the goal of providing searchers what they really want and not just what they have asked for. So now the time is ripe for brands to look inward to ensure that their offerings, online messaging, and new content are in synch with the demands of their target markets.
A few questions to ask yourself to determine how well positioned you are to provide quality content to your target market:
- When’s the last time you conducted research into your buying audience (i.e. customers and prospects)?
- Do you have an editorial plan that outlines content for your different audience segments?
- Have you created content for each step in the buying cycle?
Your answers to these and other similar questions should serve as a litmus test for how well your content aligns with your target audience.