Bring partnered with Facebook toward the end of last year to incorporate Facebook data into the Bing search engine results. Until recently that incorporation has been minimal, but with giant changes just announced, Bing is now looking more like an advanced Facebook search function than an independent search engine.
According to Bing’s recent blog post on the topic, Facebook results are now going to be incorporated throughout Bing’s search engine results page: what your friends have liked, what people you don’t know have liked, pictures and information about your Facebook friends, a universal Facebook Like button on the toolbar, more ways to direct you to Facebook, and Bing will even automatically post updates on your Facebook feed.
The logic is similar to what we’ve been hearing from search engines for a while: most people trust their friends’ recommendations over and above critics and facts. Thus to get the best personalized results, a search engine should take your friends’ input into account.
And with that theory, the integration of Bing and Facebook has just jumped into hyperspeed.
How Facebook will Appear in Bing Results
If you have a lot of active Facebook friends, and you’re logged into Facebook, you’ll probably be seeing Facebook results everywhere when you search on Bing. Here are some of the ways that Bing will be incorporating Facebook data into their results — and adjusting their rankings based on Facebook data:
- See sites your Facebook friends have liked in Bing search results — and those sites will rank substantially better than they otherwise would. You’ll actually see pictures of up to three of your friends that have liked it right there in the search engine results, along with their names.
- Sites that a lot of people on Facebook have liked, even if they aren’t remotely connected to you, will rank better, and you’ll occasionally see how many people have liked that particular page, right there in the Bing search results.
- Bing will incorporate Facebook messages by companies that you’re searching for. In Bing’s example: if you search for Avis, you’ll see recent Facebook posts by Avis in your search results.
- Bing is also pushing conversational results — urging you to go to Facebook and discuss what you were searching for with your friends.
- Expanded Facebook profile search — when you search for a person, you’ll get their picture, location, education, and employment details. In theory this is only for you friends, but I imagine if you have that information set to public, it will show up for anyone. This is a little amusing in the wake of Facebook’s smear campaign against Google for sharing Facebook data on you friends.
- When you search for locations, Bing will show you what Facebook friends live there.
- If you Like a city on Bing, and then Like flight search results, Bing will automatically post flight deals to your Facebook feed. Their post did not say how you turn that option off after you’ve turned it on, but we can hope there’s a way.
- You can build and share shopping lists with your Facebook friends.
- The Bing toolbar will have a universal Like button, that you can use to Like any page on the internet.
- Finally, Bing says that if you don’t like the idea of sharing Likes with your friends, they make it possible to only share what you want.
All in all, this looks to me exactly like what I’d imagine a Facebook search engine would look like if they built one themselves.
Bing-Facebook Impact on SEO
So how will the Facebook integration with Bing impact SEO practices? Bing still only has about a 14% search market share, so right now there’ s a question of how much of your campaign you want to alter just for Bing (just like almost all SEO is built around Google currently — but then again, you can optimize your Facebook SEO for Bing without hurting your Google optimization).
Will we end up with Facebook Like buttons scattered across every page everywhere on the internet (and won’t Facebook be happy about that)? Will we see more and more and more incentives for clicking that Like button?
Will we see mass Black Hat Facebooking of hundreds and thousands of Facebook accounts created and they’ll Like whatever you want for a price? Will Facebook likes become the next paid links?
Will we end up with Facebook super-user endorsements? People like Charlie Sheen who are able to garner millions of followers can suddenly make a very real impact on search results just by Liking brands and pages.
Ultimately how to alter your SEO tactics to maximize your optimization of the new Bingbook is the topic of it’s own article, but for the time being all I have to say is… please Like this post!