In the continued battle for search supremacy and the advertising dollars rewarded to the champion, Bing has added Twitter and Facebook to their team. Microsoft plans to announce a deal with the popular social media duo to integrate Tweets and Facebook status updates and more into their search engines’ results pages (SERPs).
Search engines have been challenged in keeping up with the fast paced Tweets and status updates, due to the fact that it requires frequent crawls by their bots in order to keep their index up to date. This springs’ announcement of Google Caffeine, which warranted our providing a well received complimentary webinar, to discuss its impact on SEO, afforded Google the infrastructure to rapidly update their index and provide fresh data in their SERPs. The social media duo has provided application program interfaces (APIs) for developers to poll and mine their public facing data, and webmasters have been leveraging these tools to provide social media content on their websites in hopes of keeping visitors on their site and generating revenue from sales or leads. For some websites, such as sports, entertainment and popular culture, these streaming social updates are a key component to successfully engaging their audience. The search engines have recognized this and have reacted to the growing popularity of social media.
Bings’ deal goes beyond status updates and leverages Facebooks’ Instant Personalization. The flow of information from Facebook to Bing will be in one direction, so the privacy of one’s searches will be protected and not exposed on Facebook. Soon when one searches Bing, the search engine will not only use its mathematical algorithm to determine relevancy for its SERPs, but will include their personal connections’ opinions as expressed by Facebook “shares” and “likes” of websites. This social-centric search will be helpful to some and a distraction to others. We will be tracking the success of this initiative as measured by market share of searches Bing is able to gain going forward, in order to keep our customers up to date and exposed to opportunities that will increase their return on advertising spend.
I look forward to learning more about this partnership and will be keeping my eye out for data concerning how ad targeting may be affected. Could I begin to see relevant ads in Bing SERPs based on my Facebook data? What if I searched Bing for pet supplies, such as catnip, and I find an ad for former Rat Dog guitarist Mark Karan playing at a local watering hole “Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery”, all based on public data found within my Facebook account concerning my favorite bands and affinity for brew pubs? I sure wouldn’t be upset to be exposed to this additional information while searching for Crosby or Jerry’s, our cats, catnip.