Microsoft’s Bing search engine signaled an increased willingness to go head-to-head with online search giant Google by partnering with computational search engine Wolfram Alpha. Search engine optimization (SEO) professionals will watch this development closely for any effects on the two companies’ relative market share.

Wolfram Alpha – which was once billed as a competitor to Google in and of itself – is a search engine that returns quantitative, rather than qualitative results. For instance, a search for “diameter of the earth” on Google should return a series of links to web pages on which that information might be found. On Wolfram Alpha, the same search would simply return “7913.1 miles.”

Analysts say that the partnership between Bing and Wolfram Alpha could impact search engine optimization (SEO) for websites that users look to for computational information. Google is apparently aware of the possibilities offered by this alliance of their competitors, and has begun using Google Calculator to display similar information above its natural search results for quantitative searches.

Search engine optimization (SEO) professionals in all areas should monitor the progress of Microsoft’s new move against Google carefully for keyword shifts and the possibility of Bing’s market share rising.