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Source: YouTube

Source: YouTube

March Madness is upon us and everyone is getting into the spirit, including Bing. The search engine has launched their smart answers in the search results for March Madness and other related searches to see brackets, scores, and predictions.

Users get three options above the normal search results for the basketball tournament. The default view shows the current bracket results, but users can also build their own brackets and see Bing’s predicted outcome. On top of all of this, Bing also offers the schedules and teams playing in the competition.

Below you can see a screenshot of the default view for bracket results, which expands by clicking on the down arrow or the results button:

MarchMadness1

If you choose to view Bing’s predictions, the window gets even bigger. Barry Schwartz captured a large screenshot, which you can click to enlarge:

bing-march-madness-predicts

Bing said:

Now that the bracket has officially been announced, our data scientists are in the lab, working tirelessly to perfect their models so our smarter bracket is powered by Bing Predicts and ready for you to access by Monday morning. Stay tuned for an updated analysis of the Bing smarter bracket on the Bing blog tomorrow.

quality contentOver the past few years, search engine optimization (SEO) has endured a drastic shift from focusing on building link profiles filled with as many links of any quality that you could accumulate to emphasizing the value sites offer to users by assessing content quality. Of course, as the shift has occurred many online marketers were left wondering “what exactly is quality content and how do search engines judge my content?”

Google has remained fairly tight-lipped on the subject, only suggesting a few obvious and time-tested strategies for improving content for users. However, Bing’s Senior Program Manager, Michael Basilyan, went into great detail on how Bing evaluates content quality in a recent blog post.

In Bing’s case, the algorithm looks at multiple factors including relevance to specific queries, authority, utility, and even the overall presentation of the content. Basilyan encourages content creators to be ever-aware that every search is made by real people wanting real information to help them, rather than meaningless paragraphs crammed with keywords.

If you want your site to be visible on Bing’s search results and your content to be useful to users, Basilyan recommends focusing on these three areas:

  • Authority: How trustworthy is the content, the author of the content, and the website it is published on? Signals from social networks, cited sources, and name recognition is considered when determining an author’s authority.
  • Utility: How useful and detailed is the content? Content that provides appropriate levels of depth, along with supporting information, is considered to be more useful for searchers.
  • Presentation: Is the content presented in a way that’s easy to read? A well-presented page is one that makes its content easy to find, rather than one that forces the user to sift through unrelated material to find what they really want.

The blog post also highlights that Bing does not discourage the use of advertising, saying “Bing will promote and support websites and webmasters that provide ads relevant to the content of their website.” But, if your content interferes with usability it may also affect your visibility and Bing’s own assessment of your content.