Facebook “Friend Effect” fuels Bing search

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by Brafton Editorial
Bing has announced new updates to its social search service, bringing the power of Facebook data to SERPs.

Bing has announced that it is adding more Facebook data to search engine results pages, offering users more insight on which results friends and social users recommend, as well as which results are related to social contacts' locations. Internet marketers should note that the update stands to impact search, social media and local marketing.

Bing explains that “90 percent of people seek advice from family and friends as part of the decision making process.” The company is bringing this “Friend Effect” to search results pages by indicating when users' friends have liked specific results. For instance, a search for “Los Angeles hotels” tells me one of my friends Likes Expedia.com. Bing Friend Effect

Bing explains that it is using this personalized data as a ranking signal of sorts. “Bing will surface results, which may typically have been on page three or four, higher in its results based on stuff your friends have Liked,” the company explains. This should encourage marketers to share content that acts as Like-bait across social channels to boost Bing SEO.

Additionally, Bing is using the “collective know-how” to enhance search results. When web pages are commonly Liked, the company is adding anonymous data beside the corresponding search results.

Bing is also adding a local social element to its search. When searching for information about specific places, users will see which Facebook friends live in a specific area. (Similarly, when users are logged into Facebook, they can hover over friends' specified locations to see Bing Map results depicting where their contacts live.) Facebook Bing Map The company says this serves to add a “conversational aspect” to results, making it easy for people to turn to knowledgeable friends for more search-related information.

These features build on Bing's former social search services, launched back in October of 2010. They also come directly following a Facebook/Google dispute over the security of social data used to power results for the search giant.

As Brafton reported, Facebook accused Google of not giving users' options about whether or not they want their social data to be shared alongside social results. The Bing feature, on the other hand, requires users to log into Facebook to see results, and it doesn't share data that social users wouldn't be able to find themselves by scouring Facebook.

As Bing is consistently gaining ground in the search market, brands may find they can improve their click-rates on Microsoft's search portal by building up their Facebook marketing efforts.

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