The Bing Search Results Explained

After billing itself as a “decision engine” and allowing searchers to customize backgrounds, Bing has carved a niche as a more personable search engine than some. And it’s not that different from other search engines, either.

Local Results

Bing attempts to determine your location to provide you with local results. You may see a second for “[Search Term] near [Your Location]” when using the search engine. This is useful if you’re looking for local service, but the search engine isn’t always fantastic as guessing your location. You can click “Change” next to the “Near [Location]” line right under the search bar to update your location.

Image Searching

If you look for something that commonly comes up as an image, Bing will serve you images as well as Web results. The thumbnails appear on the main search page, or you can click “Images” from the navigation to view only image results. When navigating through the results, clicking on an image shows it in large size. You can save it, pin it to your Pinterest board, click to see more sizes or view the source of the image. Arrow keys navigate through image results, and you can exit the individual image by pressing the Escape key.

Related Searches

If your search terms are vague, Bing will give you suggestions to get exactly what you want. If you search for “Christmas tree,” you might want to buy one, or you may want to find an image of one. Related searches will suggest pictures and clipart. Related searches show up under the search bar, in the right column and in a block below the native search results toward the bottom of the search.

Social Results

Bing wants to stat relevant, so it’s incorporated social results into the normal search pages. If you haven’t connected your Facebook or Microsoft accounts, you’ll see a prompt on the side of the page. You have to allow access to photos and other content from your Facebook friends. When you do this, you’ll see posts, photos, links and other content that use the search term you’re interested in. That content may be several years old, however, so it may not be relevant to your current search.

Ads

Unfortunately, it’s becoming more difficult than ever to determine which search results are ads and which are organic, that is, pages owned by people who haven’t paid to appear more prominently in the search results. A block of ads appears on the right, above the related search suggestions. Ads may also appear at the top of the search results, against a light blue background. Similarly, you might see in-line ads at the bottom of your search results. Most results not marked as ads are organic results.

Shopping on Bing

Bing once prided itself as having organic shopping results. Unlike Google, the company said, not all shopping results were sponsored ads. However, Bing does partner with services like Shopping.com, and vendors may pay that service a fee for listing products. In return, Bing sees a small portion of any sales garnered through the search engine, but the developers claim payment does not affect rank.

If you search for a purchasable item on Bing, you’ll often see a “Shop for [search term]” link several items down the search results list. Otherwise, you can visit “Bing.com/shopping” to heard straight to the search results. Bing allows you to narrow your results by stores, price brand and factors relevant to the item for which you’re searching.

Of course, your search might turn up thousands of results. Here’s hoping the one that you want is on the front page.