Microsoft Updates the Bing SERP

KLIK Staff

April 7, 2021

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KLIK’s POV on Changes Coming to the Bing SERP and How it Will Impact Advertisers

The latest in a series of updates Microsoft has released this year, the company has announced a series of upgrades to the Bing SERP with the intention of creating a more “visually immersive” search experience (3). This new initiative from Microsoft will include:

  • Expandable Image-Based Carousels
  • Intuitive Highlighting of Search Content
  • Infographic-Like Search Results
  • More Relevant Results for Local Queries
  • Integrated Visual Search Results

Breaking Down Each Feature

Expandable Image-Based Carousels

Microsoft has added expandable carousels to the platform in which the SERP “showcases just the (search) results’ high-level information to avoid crowding the page”(3) from a user’s query with image-based assets. The unique feature is that when the user hovers over one of these listings, Bing will show more detailed information on the listing outside of just the high level result. This allows the user the opportunity to view the content on the SERP without suffering from an overload of information, and if they are interested in a particular result, they can gather more context on the landing page by clicking on the listing.

(1)

Intuitive Highlighting of Search Content

An additional feature coming out of this initiative: Bing has upgraded their SERP to allow listings to highlight content relevant to the user’s query. This will serve as an additional callout to the user, allowing them to quickly find relevant information without having to navigate multiple landing pages.

The image below shows how content from the search query is highlighted in these image based listings – and if the listing is clicked on, additional content relevant to the user will be displayed.

(1)

Infographic-Like Search Results

Diverging from a traditional SERP experience, Bing is making an effort to “thoughtfully aggregate information for more detailed topics, and to design the page in such a way that you can quickly find what you’re looking for” (1) through infographic-like results covering high level topics.

In an example provided by Microsoft, if a user searches for a broad topic such as a “giraffe”, the user will be greeted by an infographic providing information in an appealing format. This feature comes as an attempt to showcase relevant context while adding “style and substance” (1) to the Bing results page.

More Relevant Results for Local Queries

When the user searches for a geographic-specific result, such as a museum or restaurant, they will now be served with aggregated information on the topic, rather than just a carousel of images or text ads. Combining information from Bing Maps, visitor reviews, compelling imagery and more, the user is presented with an abundance of information relevant to their specific search.

(1)

Integrated Visual Search Results

In addition to finding information based on a traditional search query, Bing is giving users the ability to “instantly conduct a visual search to find similar-looking items” (2).

When conducting an image search, Microsoft explains that “you might see something you like but is difficult to describe with words. That’s why we’ve also integrated visual search into the experience, so you can quickly search using an image” (1). As shown below, a user is able to find a product they like, and use this new feature to get additional image results of similar items, and then navigate directly to the product’s landing page from said image.

(1)

How Will This Impact the Advertiser?

Given that the consumer is quite used to experiencing only text listings on the SERP, marketers now have the opportunity to capture the consumer’s attention in a much more interesting way.

With any change to a search engine platform, marketers can expect to see an impact on their performance, and must be able to adapt accordingly. While these updates are limited exclusively to organic listings, a change like this has the potential to influence the traffic an advertiser’s account sees. As Search Engine Land explains: “If your site ranked well and then a search engine changed how it shows those results, that may impact your traffic from the search engine to your site in a positive or negative way” (3). Regardless of the amount of traffic a marketer’s campaigns see, it is crucial to keep close eyes on performance and get in front of any changes before they have time to cause a drastic impact.

Another important factor the advertiser must consider is how these changes will play into the verticals and industries in which the advertiser operates. In spaces where visual promotion plays an important role, such as consumer packaged goods (CPGs), an advertiser’s listing does have the potential to fall in average position if their competitors are using higher quality and more relevant imagery.

While changes of this nature may seem to be best suited for CPG based industries, there is still opportunity for marketers in verticals such as education, retail, and many other service sectors – especially when looking at marketing from an SEO perspective. Microsoft is giving advertisers the opportunity to tell their stories visually. Given that the consumer is quite used to experiencing only text listings on the SERP, marketers now have the opportunity to capture the consumer’s attention in a much more interesting manner.

Microsoft has yet to comment on whether or not changes of this nature will come to paid listings, although this new initiative will require paid search managers to be confident that they are putting their best assets forward. As with any platform change, it is crucial that copy in expanded text ads is not only persuasive and creative, but relevant to the keyword and mapped accordingly. If not using them already, paid search managers should absolutely consider implementing extensions to their ads. This is not only important to take up more real estate on the SERP, but extensions also provide the opportunity to improve optimization and relevance to the user’s query – ensuring that the marketer’s ad is showing often and consistently in these new organic listings.

With crowded landscapes becoming more cluttered by the day, it is more important than ever for marketers to do what they can to stand out from the crowd.

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