As the integration of search and social powers ahead, you should optimize your social search strategy by taking advantage of what’s happening on Bing.
It’s now easier to share your search results, to view your friends’ interests and photos, and to consider the wisdom of the crowd when deciding what action you’re going to take when on a search engine results page (SERP).
Since February 2011, Bing has incorporated Facebook Likes into its search results. I enjoy that Bing has made strides to include Facebook into SERPs and think this will become a pivotal play in gaining market share and creating a better SERP experience.
Additionally, Bing has a unique people algorithm that recommends industry experts. In May, began highlighting social in a social sidebar as part of a redesign.
When developing your social search strategy, don’t forget the importance of click-through rate (CTR). A higher CTR means more you’re getting more people to your site, obviously, but it also has ranking implications. We know that Bing uses click data as a ranking factor and Google is most likely looking at it as well.
Here are four recommendations to improve your organic CTR performance on Bing. As an added bonus, if Google ever opens their doors to social signals (aside from their own Google+), you’ll be ready.
1. Get More Facebook Likes
Increase your Facebook Likes and take advantage of how Facebook Likes are making an impact outside of just Facebook. Facebook Friends’ Likes are appended to Bing’s organic links and they’re appearing in Bing’s Sidebar.
Advertisers are paying Facebook millions of dollars for Sponsored Stories ads to run on Facebook. In the Bing Sidebar, a similar format is displayed and best of all, it’s free.
The more Likes a brand on Facebook has, the more likely a searcher will see a friend’s endorsement on Bing.
2. Help Your Facebook Fans to Help You
Encourage your Facebook fans to be your brand advocates so their photos, information, and posts appear in the Bing Sidebar (again, taking Facebook activity outside of just Facebook).
When there is relevant content in your friends’ Facebook activity, your friends will appear in the Bing Sidebar. Increased social sharing will lead to more brand social search synergies on the Bing SERP.
Make sure you're enabling and encouraging your Facebook fans to share. Essentially, give them something worth sharing and be sure your brand name is associated with that post.
3. Power to the People: Influence Your Brand Advocate
Ensure brand advocates are extremely active on all social networks, especially Twitter, to take advantage of Bing’s new people algorithm that returns relevant influencers in the SERP. This is a great opportunity to make an impact on both branded and unbranded keyword searches.
Bing’s new people algorithm will return industry experts based on their social activity (i.e., tweets/followers, Klout, Quora questions answered, etc.). The more you can influence your brand advocates, the more you can impact what’s appearing on the Bing SERP.
4. Read Bing's SEO Guidelines
While it isn't exactly clear how social signals influence your organic rankings, we know from reading the Bing SEO Guidelines that there are synergies and positive impacts to organic CTR. Also, Bing has confirmed in their guidelines:
Social media plays a role in today’s effort to rank well in search results. The most obvious part it plays is via influence. If you are influential socially, this leads to your followers sharing your information widely, which in turn results in Bing seeing these positive signals. These positive signals can have an impact on how you rank organically in the long run.
Additionally, Bing is offering Webmaster Tools Education Webinars, including “The Overlap of Social and Search.” These free webinars with Duane Forrester at Bing will give an insider’s perspective, so why miss out?
Social is a vital channel and must be strategically optimized to ensure your brand is also optimized organically. Bing is looking for and showcasing positive social signals, whether it's the inclusion of a thumbs up next to an organic link on a Bing SERP (indicating one of your Facebook friends has liked a page), your Facebook friends’ Likes in the Bing Sidebar, or industry experts answering questions on Quora or Twitter.
Take advantage of these social signals and get ahead of what’s inevitably ushering us into the future of social search.