Bing, which has always touted itself as a "decision engine," recently announced it will be powered by Wolfram Alpha to offer searchers direct answers to their queries at the top of results pages.

Marketers can add Bing to the growing number of search engines that are trying to offer consumers answers instead of just search results. Bing, which has always touted itself as a "decision engine," recently announced it will be powered by Wolfram Alpha to offer searchers direct answers to their queries at the top of results pages.

The Bing/ Wolfram Alpha collaboration will give consumers access to quick answers to common questions, say Kristin Meldahl and Natalia Burina of Bing. But there seem to be some kinks in the system. A search for "Labor Day 2010" doesn't result in the answer an American searcher would be looking for. Bing shows data from Wolfram Alpha on the International Labor Day. Neither U.S. Labor Day 2010 nor American Labor Day 2010 results pages show any simple answers from Wolfram Alpha.

In this sense, Yahoo and Google may have a slight advantage over Bing. Both are working to provide searchers with content that is relevant to queries – Google with its recent acquisition of Metaweb, which "reconciles" the connection between keywords and users' intent, and Yahoo through its new contextual search tools to "understand the query."

No matter which search engine consumers are using to access their websites, businesses should consider that these new efforts toward providing searchers useful content are a practice to be adopted by brands. Marketers must update their sites and position their companies as thought leaders if they want to catch consumers' clicks and, ultimately, cash.  

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.