Conversational Search on Bing, How it Helps Small Businesses

On August 13th, Bing made an important announcement that they are going to introduce conversational search for their results. With this feature, Microsoft’s search engine allows you to ask a question for all kinds of searches instead of typing related words. It works almost the same way as the conversational search in Google albeit no voice queries at least for now. Bing being a powerful search engine that promotes businesses locally, this feature will surely enhance the optimization efforts of small businesses. Before taking a look into how this will happen, let’s consider Bing’s conversational search.

As per the official blog post, when you ask a question about something, the search engine will give you the most pertinent information about the same. For example, if you ask ‘Who is the President of the United States of America’, you will get the answer quickly, ‘Barack Obama’. Not only does the search engine gives you the answers directly, but also maintains the context and continues the conversation. For example, you can ask ‘Who is his wife’ right after searching for ‘Who is the President of the United States of America’, and you will get the result as ‘Michelle Obama’.

Barack Obama

You can also learn more about a topic or interest by combining the conversational understanding with Bing’s knowledge repository containing information on billions of people, places and things.

So, how does this benefit small business? Today, shoppers speak directly to their phone to ask ‘Where is a local brand dealer?’ rather than typing ‘brand store and location name’. In such a situation, this new feature from Bing will return your business website as a part of relevant conversational search if the website is optimized properly. Now, you may be thinking this feature available with Google also and what the difference in Bing conversational search is. Industry experts say local searches on Google and Bing will often show much different results. If the former supports larger, more established companies, the latter is more likely to show small businesses. While Bing provides the most proximal results the user wants for local search, Google votes for the most credible which are often larger businesses. For example, if you search for ‘Which is the cheapest pizza store in New York City’ you will get different results on each search engine.

Pizza Store

However, a number of additional improvements to conversation are yet to come which will help you to utilize the full potential of this feature. Whenever you are optimizing your website for Bing conversational search, do not forget to take the following steps.

  • Add FAQ content or blog content that answers questions essential to your customers to your website.
  • Create Bing Local Listing and maintain it properly with standardized business contact information, relevant images, information on hours of operation, OpenTable integration (in case of restaurants), citations, categories, deals and other vital information.
  • Try to get more reviews on your Yelp page.