On February 7, 2023, Microsoft introduced its new, AI-powered Bing search engine and Edge browser, Bing AI, to selected users. Within 48 hours of its release, over one million people had already signed up for the waitlist.
The new Bing uses artificial intelligence (AI) to improve search results and user experience. Its key features include summarizing responses and enabling conversational AI search. For users accepted from the waitlist, Bing is now available on iOS and Android apps.
Bing’s AI search experience consists of the traditional search results with a new contextual interface and an AI chatbot. It introduces two new AI-driven functionalities for the Edge browser:
1. Chat – An interactive AI chatbot that empowers users to refine their search. Users can ask queries and receive replies in an interface similar to ChatGPT.
2. Compose – Works like a writing assistant, helping users compose emails, blog posts, letters, applications and ideas based on starting prompts.
Microsoft’s new Bing.com features a large search box in the center that accommodates searches of up to 1,000 characters. Above it is the “Chat” link” where users can start a conversation with the AI chatbot.
Traditional Search vs. AI-Powered Search
Search engines like Google and Bing generate the most relevant results for a user’s query by crawling and indexing billions of web pages. Links and content are served to the user via the search engine results page (SERP).
The new Bing AI reinvents the search experience through personalization. It’s powered by the same AI technology behind the trending ChatGPT, a large language model chatbot developed by OpenAI. Large language models are a subsection of machine learning. They’re trained on a large body of text data to generate outputs for different natural language processing (NLP) tasks, including machine translation, question answering and text generation.
Bing AI operates in various configurations. It can display AI annotations alongside the usual links you see in the SERPs. Another mode allows users to talk directly to the Bing artificial intelligence chatbot and ask follow-up questions.
Microsoft estimates that half of the 10 billion search queries daily go unanswered because people rely on search engines to perform tasks they weren’t originally designed to do. While search is ideal for finding content and websites, it often falls short when asked complex questions, which is what Bing aims to change. At its core, Bing AI empowers users to get more from search.
Through AI, Bing can better assess search queries, understand user intent and provide tailored information faster. “Bing will be able to provide more accurate and relevant results by interpreting the meaning behind a search query rather than simply matching keywords,” said Don Gruspe, an SEO specialist at Thrive Internet Marketing Agency.
One of the key advantages of using a language model is its ability to generate highly fluent and logical statements. With Bing AI, users can get reliable search results and human-like responses. This makes it easier for users to be more specific about their needs, ask follow-up questions and get a seamless and more enjoyable search experience.
The Rise of AI-Powered Search
Since ChatGPT went live last November, there has been a surge in interest in language models. Search engines like Microsoft Bing and Google seek to capitalize on conversational AI and have already planned how this technology will be integrated across their products.
Shortly after the launch of Bing AI, Google also announced its own AI-powered chatbot named Bard, an “experimental conversational AI service.” But the company said it’s still in the testing stage and will be available to a broader audience in the coming weeks.
While AI-powered search is still in its testing phases, one thing’s certain: Having a conversational AI search assistant like Bing AI can provide smarter ways to discover information, boost productivity and streamline your workflow in less time.
What Can Bing AI Do?
Summarize and Provide Context
The new Microsoft Edge browser features a sidebar that can summarize the content you’re reading and identify key points. Then there’s the chat function that can link to sources that further enriches your discovery.
Suppose you’re looking at a product on an eCommerce platform. You can ask the sidebar to summarize product specs, cost and customer reviews. Then you can ask the chatbot to compare the product to its competitors.
Answer Follow-Up Questions
Bing lets you refine your initial search results through follow-up questions and prompts. Using the Chat function, Bing provides more detailed results in a conversational format.
If you type a query like, “How do you keep indoor plants alive?” Bing AI summarizes relevant information and helpful follow-up questions you might want answered, such as “How often do I have to water my plants?” or “Tell me more about indoor gardening.”
Create Content and Cite Sources
Bing’s AI tool can generate various types of content, including e-mails, essays, stories, poems, code, quizzes, blog topics and more. It can even help you develop a travel itinerary with links to airfare and hotel booking.
Unlike ChatGPT, Bing’s conversational AI platform cites all its sources. This way, you can visit the links it references and verify their factual accuracy.
Discuss Current Events
Unlike ChatGPT, the Bing AI chatbot can provide information about trending topics and ongoing events. For instance, one user asked the chatbot about the new Microsoft Bing AI announcement just minutes after its official launch. In response, Bing summarized the launch using information from different publications.
AI-Powered Bing for Skype
The Bing artificial intelligence chatbot is integrated into Skype chat to make conversations more efficient and informative. You can ask the chatbot any queries you usually ask on Bing.com to provide results for the entire group. Just type @Bing in any group conversation to start.
For example, if you’re planning a night out on a group chat with your friends, you can use the AI tool for restaurant recommendations or fun activities you can try in your area. You can also choose if you want responses displayed in text, bullet points, or simplified responses.
This AI tool is exclusive to Skype, but Microsoft aims to integrate it with other communications apps, like Teams, in the future.
How AI Affects SEO in the Long Run
With Bing and Google integrating AI into their search engines, businesses must update their AI SEO strategies and understand AI language to stay ahead of the curve. Here are some predictions for SEO AI and search behavior.
1. Long-Form Content Will Be More Crucial Than Ever
Advancements in search, such as powerful AI language and context processing capabilities, will call for more detailed and informative content.
Long-form content includes articles over 1,000 words that comprehensively address customers’ specific problems. This type of content allows businesses to provide highly motivated readers with plenty of value and context.
As such, AI search engines will likely prioritize longer content pieces that go beyond simple keyword stuffing or surface-level discussions. Demonstrating your expertise on relevant topics may also increase your chances of appearing on Bing AI citations.
2. Conversational Keyword Optimization Is Key
AI chatbots can deliver personalized responses to user queries through natural language processing. This will transform how users interact with search engines and how marketing teams produce content.
Historically, users would input keyword phrases on search, like “14-inch laptop” or “best construction company in New York.” With Bing AI, users can perform conversational searches that are more detailed and specific. The resulting search experience will be more natural, seamless and effective.
Optimizing for traditional search engines used to be as simple as incorporating keywords in your content as naturally as possible. But ranking high on a conversational AI platform like Bing requires a different approach. Here are a few tips:
Rethink Your Keywords: For content to rank in AI-powered search, SEO teams must focus on long-tail conversational keywords. Users will also likely lean towards advice-based searches. “Which 14-inch laptop is best for home office use?” will likely be a more effective keyword than just “14-inch laptop.”
Use Natural Language: Write in the same way your readers speak and demonstrate your authority on topics they care about. Play around with a conversational AI platform like ChatGPT to better understand how users will likely phrase their questions.
Optimize for Voice Search: With Bing AI chatbot offering mobile and voice access, optimizing your site for voice search is vital. Ensure your site is mobile-friendly and use long-tail keywords to target those queries.
Use Structured Data: “Structured data helps search engines understand the content on a webpage and can improve the chances of appearing in rich results or featured snippets. Businesses should implement structured data on their website to provide more context about their products or services,” said Ken Romero, an SEO specialist at Thrive.
Predict Common Queries: Shape your AI SEO strategy based on common questions your target readers would ask. Ask yourself: What does the average customer know about this subject? Does this article address all the reader’s queries, including any follow-up questions? You can use queries as blog subheadings or build a frequently asked questions (FAQs) section.
Focus On User Experience: “Businesses should focus on creating high-quality content that provides value to their audience. They should also prioritize website speed, mobile responsiveness and accessibility to deliver a positive user experience,” Romero said.
Future-Proof Your Business Now
How AI affects SEO is yet to be seen, but one thing is sure, brands must be ready to make major changes to their digital marketing strategies.
Here at Thrive, we can help optimize your content and prepare your website for SEO AI. We specialize in highly targeted content that ranks and appeals to users. Aside from SEO, we offer a range of digital marketing solutions, from video production services to website design.