Next week, SES New York will be taking place (March 19th – 23rd), and in the run-up to the event, I was digging around the list of exhibitors, because even though I won’t be able to attend, I like keeping an eye on these things – it can be a great gauge of the direction the industry is going in. In the process, I saw that as expected, Bing will be there in force. Well, one thing led to another, and I got the opportunity to interview Andy Chu, Director over at Bing for Mobile.
There’s not a lot of content on their site at this point, so I was grateful to have the chance to get some insights from Andy on the state of Mobile, from Microsoft’s perspective. Andy’s answers are a mix of “stock” and “insightful”.
UPDATE – Kevin Anderson from Waggener Edstrom, who helped make this interview possible, let me know there’s an entire blog devoted to Bing for Mobile that’s an excellent knowledge repository building up for all things Bing Mobile…
In any case, take what you choose to from this. The takeaway I have though – Microsoft is definitely serious about stepping it up when it comes to mobile being an important part of the mix. Whether they can find a way to remain relevant in the onslaught from Apple and Google is anyone’s guess…
Here then, is that interview…
[AMB] In my forensic SEO audits, I consistently see how sites are not doing a good job optimizing for Bing in general (something I help them understand is well worth the effort) – so I can only assume it’s even more challenging to get people thinking about optimizing for Bing for Mobile. What’s the single most important suggestion you can make to help get SEOs, developers and marketers pointed in the right direction when it comes to optimizing for Bing for Mobile?
[AC] Quality, relevancy and content freshness are all important to the Bing for Mobile experience.”
[AMB] Bing for Mobile is designed to provide quick answers, like “Who won the game last night?” or to get product prices, reviews and ratings. All too often, when performing a search, we find bad information, or worse, outdated information, all because someone knew how to optimize content even if they’re not the best source. How can you ensure the most relevant and current answer is going to be presented?
[AC] It depends on a number of signals, including location, importance, social, device types and the level of integration we can do at the device and app store level. For example, in Windows Phone 7.5 we integrated app answers as part of search results to help people discover apps more easily. We also developed a feature called “Local Scout From Bing,” which takes into consideration a person’s location and specific local interests to help them find things like restaurants and activities in their immediate vicinity.
[AMB] If I have a source of reliable information you may not be tapping currently, what’s the best way to get that source into the Bing for Mobile
[AC] Just make sure the information is relevant, fresh and good quality.
[AMB] Every day, more and more social, review and sharing sites and services pop up. When it comes to Social and Local, at what point does it become a case of diminishing returns for business owners and marketers when it comes to investing their energy, knowing that they have to be involved nowadays to show up in mobile search?
[AC] Local is over indexed for mobile in comparison to PC, and as more consumers interact with social related to a business, we will take these into consideration as one of many signals.
[AMB] Lastly, the inevitable “Where are we going from here?” What do you see as the next emerging trend when it comes to mobile, and how is Bing working to meet that future direction?
[AC] Search has evolved beyond text and navigating via blue links. Input options have expanded to include voice and AR, and “signals” have expanded to include location, reviews, social and other factors that help deliver answers and decisions. These expanded input options help Bing for Mobile better understand user intent, context, location, etc., which in turn allows Bing to provide improved answers, help with decisions and even recommend additional things to do after you’ve completed the immediate task at hand.
With the proliferation of apps, Bing offers “app search,” today which surfaces a list of available iPhone apps that relate to the search, in addition to normal search results. We also offer a built-in app search capability as part of the Bing on Windows Phone 7.5 experience.
We are moving beyond the blue links where Bing will deliver the right tool and guidance to accomplish a series of complex tasks for consumers
Well there you have it. Andy’s reply to my “where do we go from here” question showing Microsoft is towing the “with enough information from enough sources, we can figure out what you’ll want to do, and even offer you suggestions on what to do next” line.
Personally, I find it kind of creepy, and can’t believe Bing, Google, Facebook or anyone can truly know me well enough to get that one right.
Then again, they do cater to the sheep society. So maybe none of the sheep will notice as they’re led down that fence-line toward the pearly gates, giving up their desire for unique personal choice along the way :-)
On a final note, I want to thank Byron Gordon from SEO-PR, and Kevin Anderson from Waggener Edstrom for facilitating the interview process.