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Bing Australia Officially Out Of Beta Testing

Marketing campaign to promote Bing to start in February 2012

Last week Microsoft launched their local search engine Bing Australia, positioning itself as a new generation search engine allowing users to get things done, quickly and easily.

In an announcement published on the ninemsn.com.au Press Room, Managing Director of Audience, Alex Parsons stated that Australians “deserve more than one search engine”.

Microsoft’s global partnership with Yahoo means that Yahoo7 organic search will also be powered by Bing.

The ‘new-look’ Bing Australia isn’t exactly new as testing has lasted about two and a half years but the Beta tag has now been dropped. The key features identified in the announcement are as follows:

  • Task oriented – designed to help you get things done more quickly, with less queries
  • Visually organised – displays search results with more than just blue links

Bing’s homepage displays localised images and even video for HTML-5 enabled sites, but how exactly that facilitates getting things done “quickly and easily” isn’t all that clear. Perhaps it’s a draw for searchers – something is obviously working if Bing have seen share increase in the US and UK.

Stefan Weitz, Senior Director of Bing Search USA says the future of search “isn’t just about a bunch of pages but a rich tapestry of objects, actions, and people.”

About 20% of online Australians reportedly use Bing Australia at some point and the expectation is that percentage will grow as a result of the planned marketing campaign early in 2012.

Bing have successfully grown their market share of search in the US – Weitz claims 27% market share – over the course of the last two years, so something similar in Australia (by 2014) would probably be seen as a positive outcome.

What does this mean for Australian businesses?

Google’s market share in Australia is estimated to be in the region of 88-89% with Bing currently holding a market share of just seven per cent according to Nielsen NetRatings quoted in the press release.

However after successfully increasing their market share in the US, Bing are now intent on bringing the most successful elements of that strategy to international search markets, including Australia. Even if Bing doubles it’s search share to 14%, Google will remain by far the most dominant search engine – even without “a rich tapestry of objects, actions and people”.

Optimisation techniques are not drastically different for Bing, so businesses don’t exactly have to be mindful of changing their SEO efforts. However, if Bing does start to grow its market share in Australia, then advertising on Bing becomes a more attractive prospect – especially where the cost of ads is lower than on Google.

For more information on the difference between Bing and Google when it comes to SEO and PPC services.