Bing is starting to provide, across the world, a brand new Intelligent Search features for its SERP, powered by AI, to provide immediate answers with a new and comprehensive look and feel. In this article we’re presenting few tests of the new search capabilities and some guidelines on how to improve the visibility of your content on Bing.
Bing, with the help of machine reading-comprehension and deep neural networks, is aggregating facts from well-known data sources to provide end-users with enough confidence on the information being displayed on its search results.
Let’s start with an example based on a super simple Ego Search about myself. This panel has been around for sometimes in the US but it is now richer and it can be accessed also (when the language is set to English) from other countries.
In this specific example, the data is sourced from LinkedIn, Crunchbase and the good old Freebase. Now these are exactly the same webpages (and the datasets in the case of Freebase) that I reference in the entity about myself that is used to annotate articles on this blog. This is why, I assume that Bing, is using structured data to detect relevant data sources around entities.
Here is how Bing can help you boost your personal branding
Here is how Bing can help your customers find out more about your company
Below the knowledge panel that Bing has created around the entity WordLift.
Bing is using a machine reading comprehension technology, backed by what they call Project Brainwave, to generate the equivalent of Google’s Featured Snippets by analyzing billions of web pages to provide users with the answer they are looking for.
Let’s try with a couple of queries to see what Bing knows about WordLift. Let’s ask in the first place – “What is WordLift?”
Instant Answer on Bing for “What is WordLift?”
…and then let’s get even more specific with a query like “What is an entity in WordLift?” As you can see, results – on these very narrow queries – are indeed very impressive!
Instant Answer on Bing for “What is an entity in WordLift?“
More helpful in understanding facts about the world
Bing is also providing more ways to read facts about the world. We saw in December last year the new Perspectives Answer Box around highly debated topics like Coffee as well the new Question & Answer panel.
Now, as announced by Bing a few days ago, answer boxes also feature a descriptive tooltip for complex terms that appear in the text of the answer. Have a look at the example below where the term “Liter” is explained when highlighting the word “microliter”.
Intelligent image search
A lot has been done also to improve the image search of Bing that now uses a built-in object detection algorithm or let the user pick up a specific detail of the image with a manual crop. This really makes images way more interactive. See below an example of a photo where Bing is highlighting the two subjects.
The automatic object detection of Bing for images
2018 is definitely the year when publishing data becomes a business imperative as search engines become truly capable of providing direct answers rather than a set of web results. In this context, Bing is bringing significant innovations in the search industry by leveraging on machine reading-comprehension and deep neural networks.
Needless to say we’re particularly keen on following how search engines are starting to use artificial intelligence and how semantic rich structured data help them improve their services and in return, can help publishers improve their online visibility.
How to optimize your content for Bing’s Intelligent Search Features
Now let’s have a look at what we learned from these experiments to help you get the best out of Bing’s latest update.
1. Start using Bing Webmaster tool
It has been significantly improved and there is a lot that you can do to ensure proper indexation from Bing, to measure search traffic and even to improve the user experience on your website by using Bing-powered interactive widgets. Bing, with these widgets, works quite similarly like WordLift. It uses NLP to analyze the content of your webpage and adds an interactive widget using data from its graph. It’s a ground breaking feature and I’ll get deeper on it in the next blog post. For the time being you can preview it by visiting this example webpage.
2. Curate your entities
In the web of data, information is scattered across multiple websites and it can be analyzed and reconciled to provide a more comprehensive overview of a person, a company or a product. By curating your profile on LinkedIn, for instance, or on trusted websites like Crunchbase, GitHub or Stackoverflow you are actually publishing relevant data that Bing can effectively re-use in its knowledge panel.
3. Use structured data to help Bing reconcile content with data
As seen in these initial experiments we’re conquering a significant estate on personal keywords, branded keywords as well as questions related to our product. As algorithms start to analyze more in details the content that you have published using linked metadata and the schema.org vocabulary you can help search engines properly disambiguate these entities to find relevant information across multiple data sources and websites. By publishing articles under my name with a direct reference – in the metadata of these articles – to my LinkedIn profile I am helping Bing (and the other semantic search engines) reconcile and connect the content I write with the data that describes me.
Think about your readers when they first land on a page of your website: is it easy to understand what your website is about? How will they move from a point to another? Think further. How does a computer understand the collection of words your website is relevant for?
What if both, humans and machine, could browse your website starting from the alphabetical list of all the concepts you care the most?
It would probably help a lot humans as well as robots. In SEO world we know for sure that machines read the content of a website by creating vectors of words (and vocabularies) to identify the knowledge domain a website is relevant for. In this patent by Google we see for instance how context is used for refining a user’s query by building up vocabularies of semantically related concepts.
User-context-based search engine – by Google Inc.
For humans accessing a website, a glossary page and its lemmas can be either a single landing page that connects all key concepts of a website or the in-depth view on a specific topic (i.e. all the philosophers of a given period of time, or all the wines from a region of France).
When we first launched WordLift, Andrea Volpini had this idea of a vocabulary that could be used to organize and to promote the content of a website. Today our artificial intelligence plugin has considerably evolved, but we still firmly believe in the SEO value of building vocabularies and in the idea that a more organized website is more easy to be found and more attractive for a reader.
WordLift 3.17 introduced the Glossary Widget, an alphabetical list of concepts and names, that can be used to showcase the content of your internal vocabulary. With WordLift 3.18 (code-named Snowball after the snow we had in Rome), we took a step forward and added the opportunity to create vocabularies by grouping entities using WordPress category (this enables the creation of a glossary of let’s say all the people in the SEO industry or all the materials your products are made of).
The benefits of building a glossary page on your website
A glossary page is an entry point to your content that allows your readers to understand the topics you care about. It can bring you many benefits in terms of SEO and it helps you organize your content.
SEO: help search engines explore the semantic domain of your website
A well-organized knowledge base can help search engines understand what your website is about, improving your rankings and the organic traffic on your website.
Why? Find out 4 good reasons why a glossary can positively affect your SEO 👇
A glossary can be a great way to gain a better ranking with a number of different keywords that are substantial in your editorial plan. In fact, writing a glossary you are adding new content to your website, focusing on very specific concepts and keywords. 🔎
2. Dwell time
If you run a technical website, you’ll find yourself using technical jargon almost all the time in your articles.
What if the readers don’t know the meaning of the terms you are using? They will search them elsewhere going back to Google or to their favorite search engine. With an internal glossary, you keep your reader on your website for a longer time.
This has an interesting upside in terms of SEO: you will lower down the bounce rate of your pages, and of course the time spent on your website before going back to the SERP will be longer. For Google, a longer dwell time is a very positive signal about the satisfaction of your readers and the quality of your content. 🙌
3. Internal linking
Defining the founding concepts of your editorial plan, you’ll be able to add to your pages internal links that can bring meaning to the readers and useful to position your pages. 🔗
4. Featured snippet
Google loves immediate simple and direct definitions of terms and concepts because it can use them to answer to its users through a featured snippet directly on the SERP, the so-called rank #0.
A lemma in a glossary has a big chance to reach the rank #0 and become a featured snippet if it’s straight to the point and can address a simple answer to Google’s users. 🤓
Information architecture: give a compass to your readers
A glossary is a great service to your readers as well because it will help them better understand the content of your pages and go deeper into the basic concepts that form your knowledge domain.
The more you can aggregate content around a specific topic or subtopic, the more the glossary will be helpful to your reader to explore your content. Here is why, with WordLift Snowball, we decided to allow our users to build vertical glossaries where the entities can be filtered by category and/or by entity type.
In this way, you can have a glossary dedicated to a small segment of your knowledge graph that could be selected on the basis of a category, an entity type or both.
Just like any other page, a glossary should be meaningful and answer to the needs of your readers. With this in mind, you can think about what kind of content organization can better help your readers to easily access the knowledge you are sharing.
Let me show this in detail with a few examples from our customer’s websites.
The Content Wrangler
If you are a content marketer, you probably already know the excellent work of Scott Abel and his team on The Content Wrangler, a website specialized in resources for content writers and marketers.
Schema markup is metadata that you add to your website to help search engines provide more informative results for their users.
Before the arrival of schema.org back in 2011 (the initiative started in June and Yandex joined in November of the same year), there were way too many standards for marking up different types of content on web pages. While the variety of different vocabulary still exists and it is of a great value for the scientific, the academic and the librarian communities it was of little or no help for commercial search engines.
As a result of the diversity of languages, it was difficult for webmasters to decide on the most relevant and supported markup standards to use.
Creating a schema shared and supported by all the major search engines made it very easy for webmasters to add markup, and in return made it easier for search engines to create a better user experience for their users (with all different sort of enriched results, knowledge panels and other semantic powered goodies of the SERP).