Bing has rolled out a new SERP design aimed at making social a greater part of search without taking away from its core results. The company launched a new three-column SERP design that brings users several different kinds of content in a simple, organized manner, and small businesses might find the new layout rewards their SEO and social marketing efforts.
Traditional search results taking up the first column and maps, contact information and paid search ads occupying the second. This change, in and of itself, will help small businesses that focus on optimizing website content stand out in the first column, without being pushed down on SERPs by ads. Then, Bing took an interesting approach to integrating social results in the third column. On the right-hand side of the SERP, users will now see different kinds of social content related to their queries.
Within the sidebar, users will see a box that allows them to post a Facebook status update. The feature encourages them to ask their Facebook friends for advice on the topic they searched should the results not suffice. “Friends Who Might Know” is a similar tool that culls data from a user’s Facebook friends’ profiles that are related to the initial search query. Using the example of a search for “Costa Rica,” Bing said that logged-in users would likely see links to social content their friends have shared on the network that involves Costa Rica.
Moreover, the “People Who Know” feature shares relevant content from public profiles not connected to the users, which could help small businesses’ website content shared publicly by their followers extend its reach. While the Activity feed feature is simply a stream to content shared by Facebook friends, People Who Know data comes from public Twitter, foursquare, Quora, LinkedIn, Google+ and Blogger accounts.
Initially, this may seem like a privacy issue. However, content that is included on the SERPs is only accessible to those who have access based on each social network’s existing privacy policies.
Adjustments made by Bing and other search engines should be monitored by small businesses using SEO as part of an overall web marketing strategy. ContentLEAD recently reported that those using search marketing typically undervalue the channel by as much as 77 percent in terms of conversions.