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Bing has announced that its search engine crawler, Bingbot, will be going evergreen over the next few months by adopting the Chromium-based Edge browser to render webpages.

Essentially, this means it will be able to crawl, render, and properly index more of your content more closely to how to actual users see it. 

As Bing says in its announcement:

By adopting Microsoft Edge, Bingbot will now render all web pages using the same underlying web platform technology already used today by Googlebot, Google Chrome, and other Chromium-based browsers. This will make it easy for developers to ensure their web sites and their Content Management System work across all these solutions without having to spend time investigating each solution in depth.

The additional upside is that this mirrors steps recently taken by Google, which suggests it may become easier to optimize for both search engines without specific steps for each platform.

Bing is changing up how ads appear in its search engine by increasing the number of ads present at the bottom of the page and removing text ads from the sidebar of search results for US users.

Specifically, Bing is increasing from 3 bottom-of-the-page ads to 4 ads and removing sidebar text ads in the United States. Product ads, on the other hand, will remain within the sidebar.

This change also means that Bing will no longer be allowing advertisers from the US to run sidebar text ads at all.

According to the announcement, Bing was motivated to remove sidebar text ads because bottom-of-the-page ads often include richer ad formats that provide more in-depth information that possible in the sidebar.

While these changes are currently limited to the United States and Bing Ads will continue offering sidebar text ads in other countries, the company says it will be considering removing the ad type in other counties in the future.

As the announcement says, “as part of the constant evolution of the Bing search engine results page (SERP) to provide more value for our users and our advertisers we are regularly evaluating performance and quality of our ads, including ad position on the SERPs.”

Based on their data, Bing says removing the sidebar text ads increases the overall clicks for advertisers, especially those running Mainline Text Ads and Product Ads.

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Bing has unveiled the top marketing keywords searched for throughout last year, based on their US search data. The new reveal sheds light on what people are thinking of and what the biggest upcoming trends are, with personal assistants beating out the competition.

”Personal assistants and artificial intelligence were a clear priority for marketers over the past year. Advances in chat bots and virtual assistants, such as Alexa, Cortana and Amazon Echo – as well as updates to several smartphone chat bots, were likely drivers for these search terms.”

Of course, Microsoft owns both Cortana and Bing, so it is possible that played a role in the high rank of personal assistants on the list. Still, the popularity of other services such as Siri and Alexa shows that virtual assistants are quickly becoming a major part of the tech and marketing landscape.

In addition to personal assistants, Bing says augmented reality and virtual reality are also poised to play a big role in marketing.

”Virtual and augmented reality came second to intelligence, with the popularity of searches representing the growth of this technology throughout 2016 – and it’s likely continual development into next year.”

Check out the rest of the top marketing search terms for 2016 below:

  1. Personal Assistants/ Intelligent Agents
  2. Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality
  3. Search Marketing
  4. Artificial Intelligence
  5. Email Marketing

Bing is launching a new feature specifically for local businesses to make it easier for customers to reach you at any time. With the new chat feature, users can click a link to “chat online with a representative” directly from the search engine.

After clicking the link, you are immediately connected to the business through their primary chat program. That could be a native chat service or other options like Facebook Messenger.

You can see what it looks below:

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In this case, Bing links to Facebook Messenger:

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The new feature makes it easier than ever for searchers to contact your business for questions and concerns. It also makes it more important than ever to make sure your business is taking advantage of online chat services to provide customer service.

As smartphone internet use has exploded in the past few years, mobile-friendly pages and search engine optimization have become the standard, but new statistics from Bing suggests the future of SEO may be all about voice search.

During the Search Insider Summit last week, Bing representatives told the crowd that a quarter of all searches performed on Bing are voice searches and the trend looks keep increasing for the foreseeable future.

Additionally, as users get more accustomed to voice search, it is changing how they are performing searches entirely. Voice searches are notably longer, tending to fall between six and 10 words, compared to just one to three words for text searches.

Part of this notable rise of voice search on Bing is likely because the company powers three of the leading voice assistants in the world. Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa are all reliant on Bing to answer voice search queries. However, that shouldn’t discount these findings entirely.

While Google hasn’t released any statistics on voice searches performed on their platform, the company has taken clear steps to invest in voice search for future growth – such as using Google’s AI to recognize conversational speech in voice searches by having it read romance novels.

Clearly, the two largest search engines recognize that voice search will only become more prominent in the future. Likewise, marketers, SEOs, and businesses should start preparing now by investing in long-tail keywords and voice search optimization.

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Every year Bing likes to highlight its efforts to keep the web safe with its “Bad Ads Report” and this year shows that the endless war against online scammers and hackers has remained largely consistent recently.

Despite constant efforts to derail the malicious actors on their platform, tech support scams and purposely misleading ads remain the biggest problems on Bing Ads. The company blocked over 15 million ads for running tech support scams alone.

Overall, Bing says it has rejected over 250 million ads in the past year, as well as blocking 50,000 sites, and banning 150,000 ads for breaking their guidelines.

Considering Bing’s trademark usage policies are relatively loose compared to competitors like Google, it comes as a surprise that the company says it dismissed more than 50 million ads in 2015 for trademark infringements.

The rest of the report is less surprising. Phishing attacks remain a relatively minor issue, and pharma and counterfeit goods are still being delisted by the hundreds of thousands.

Find out more from Bing’s ad report here.

Is Google a search engine? The answer might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised to find out that Google is in fact not a search engine. At least, according to a recent piece of legislation adopted by the European Union it isn’t. The same goes for Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo, or any other site currently in existence.

After two years of negotiation, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union agreed upon the final text of the Network and Information Security (NIS) Directive in December 2015. The goal of the legislation was to lay out the first set of EU-wide cyber security rules, but the initiative has received strong criticism already from many industries.

While digital technologies, social network platforms, and financial institutions have plenty of reason to take grievance over the legislation, search engines have the biggest bone to pick. The directive establishes a firm and specific definition for ‘online search engines,’ however that definition rules out any currently existing site. In fact, to be within the terms set by the EU, a website would have to break several other laws set by the European Union.

Here is the definition of a search engine according to the new directive:

“‘Online search engine’ is a digital service that allows users to perform searches of in principle all websites in a particular language, on the basis of a query on any subject in the form of a keyword, phrase or other input; and returns links in which information related to the requested content can be found.”

The primary issue with the definition is the key phase ‘in principle all websites’. Google, as well as Bing, Yahoo, and others, all index the vast majority of websites online, but they have a few boundaries. Google refuses to index any websites from the dark web or Tor websites, follows directions from robots.txt files to not be indexed, and complies with the European Right to be Forgotten ruling.

The Right to be Forgotten ruling allows users to request outdated, irrelevant, or embarrassing content be removing from Google’s listings. By following the orders of this ruling, as well as removing revenge porn and other objectionable content, Google and all other existing websites are ruled out as ‘search engines’ according to the new definition.

So what does this mean for Google and other sites which would be described by anyone other than politicians as ‘search engines’? Probably not much. Everyone will continue to call them search engines and any attempts from the EU to legally restrict Google from calling itself a search engine would most likely backfire.

If anything, it just goes to show that politicians aren’t the most in touch with modern technologies and platforms.

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:

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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:

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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.

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Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, and that means searches related to the holiday are already starting to spike. Thankfully, you still have time to get campaigns running before Valentine’s Day searches peak.

Bing recently released data giving insight to key trends for Valentine’s Day-related searches (including gifts, candy, flowers, restaurants and jewelry), as well as ad performance to help inform your marketing efforts this year.

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According to the data, this week is likely already seeing an increase in searches compared to last week, but next week will be the height of Valentine’s Day fever. Desktop saw an especially notable spike in the final week before the big day, jumping 77 percent. In comparison, mobile searches rose by 71 percent.

In total, mobile made up 32 percent of Valentine’s Day-related searches and 17 percent of clicks across Bing last year.

The best day for Valentine’s Day-related searches was February 11 last year, but candy and chocolate searches didn’t reach their height until February 13.

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While many get an early start on larger purchases like jewelry, it isn’t a surprise that Valentine’s Day card shopping is often done last-minute. From February 12 through Valentine’s Day, cards sales skyrocketed, showing the need to customize your budget and bidding strategies depending on what products and services you provide.

Click-through rates saw their highest point overall between the February 10 and 14, averaging 4.9 percent. On desktop, CTR reached its peak in the afternoon of February 12, while mobile didn’t top out until late on Valentine’s Day.

For more data about Valentine’s Day search and keyword trends, check out Bing’s full presentation on Slideshare.

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As of January 1st, Bing is officially powering AOL’s search results as the result of a long-term deal made by the two companies in June of last year. Rick van der Kooi, Corporate VP of Microsoft Search Advertising announced the change, saying:

“Today, I am excited to share that as of Jan. 1, Bing powers AOL’s web, mobile, and tablet search, providing paid search ads and algorithmic organic search results to AOL’s properties worldwide.”

Van der Kooi also shared some interesting bits of information to help illustrate the scale of the partnership, including:

  • 1 in 5 searches happen on Bing.com
  • Bing also powers search results for the third largest search provider in the US (Yahoo)
  • With Bing now powering AOL searches, the engine now powers close to one-third of all US PC web searches.

The company looks to gain even more ground by acquiring the built-in audience from AOL, which is responsible for generating billions of search queries a year.

Unlike Bing’s deal with Yahoo, Bing’s will be powering 100% of AOL’s search results across all devices. In the Yahoo agreement, only 51% of Yahoo’s desktop search results are powered by Bing, with no support for mobile.