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Bing’s James Murray on the future of search

Recent statistics show that 6,586,013,574 searches are made a day globally. That’s a lot of potential for search marketing. Search and content are intertwined with a glue consisting of link building and ranking algorithms. This could all be changing.

I recently talked to James Murray, who works for Microsoft and is the product marketing manager for Bing Ads across EMEA, to find out about the likely future of search engines and what this could mean for content creation, especially with regards to digital PR.

Links will not be a contributing factor

Murray reveals that “what we might see is that links start to decrease in importance that they have in the general context of the various factors that we use to determine relevance.” As links decline in relevance, content across the board will revert to a more traditional PR method of creation. Shareability will trump link value and content will gain far more consideration in the boardroom.

If links are not a factor in search results ranking, content may revert to being shared and aimed at the larger publications rather than smaller more niche targets. The key decider in this will be how Bing’s market share grows, as Google is not looking to drop the value of links anytime soon.

Voice search and digital assistants are on the rise

Marketers and content creators will be focusing on creating content for a new world of queries. The user’s voice needs to be a driving force for all writers as creation revolves around how this will be perceived when read aloud by our home’s new members; Alexa, Siri and Google Home.

Bing’s Murray states how “we’ve bent ourselves as users to conform to the way that search engines behave, resulting in a very robotic style of search”. Content needs to be more conversational, especially if it wants to be utilised by these growing digital assistants.

Search marketers have begun to address this with content creators focusing on featured snippets and People Also Ask boxes which is actually what Google Home utilises to answer some queries.

Everything is going to be personalised

All search engines are beginning to make this move now and it is only going to become more prevalent in the coming year. Your search results may be completely different to your elderly relative even though you both searched for the same term. Results are being personalised and the content is being hand-picked for the individual.

Websites, authors, styles of content are all going to be considered as personal factors when showing users specific web pages. Google has access to data from Gmail, Google Play Store, YouTube, Analytics and the search engine results themselves. Customisation will become key and may shake up what content is served up to people.

Search engines are going to know what you like before you’ve even realised it yourself.

Written by Laura Hampton, digital marketing manager at agency Impression

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