Bing institutes dynamic page sizing in break from traditional search

After gaining some insight from a recent study, Bing made changes to its search engine results page, or SERP, at the end of April. Now, when users type in a local search using Bing, they will see anywhere from four to 14 results, rather than the standard 10 results that are so typical to search engines like Google and Bing.

The reason for this? In a controlled experiment, the results of which were only recently announced, Bing found that about 50 percent of users click on the first result on the SERP. This percentage drops for each result farther down the list, until less than 1 percent of people click on the eighth link. Bing also found that when users click on a link and then use the back button to keep searching, they generally look at lower-ranked links, as they were shown to get five to eight times more click-throughs after the back button was used.

For "deep links" - which are well-established, such as eBay - the first result was clicked 75 percent of the time, and the click-through rate declined to 1 percent by the third SERP result. It was because of this that Bing decided to throw the 10-link standard out the window and opt for a different algorithm. For some search results, users will only see four results, because they have been collected based on what users are most likely interested in when that particular term is searched. If the user clicks on a link and then uses the back button, the SERP results will increase to maximize the user experience.

Bing has taken a step away from traditional search engines, perhaps to further differentiate itself from Google. In fact, Bing said in a recent blog post that this change represented a challenge to "the conventional wisdom around this notion." Will Google follow suit and adopt dynamic page sizing in place of the static search?

While Bing has made a valuable move in contributing to users' satisfaction, this move also means that being even nearer to the top of search results is more important than ever for businesses. Local businesses will need to step up their local search marketing strategy in order to boost online presence and maximize traffic to their sites.

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