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Google and Microsoft Bing are the largest search engines that satisfy users' informational needs every day. Let's explore a detailed comparison of the two here.

When it comes to optimizing a website, SEO professionals typically focus on Google. After all, it’s the world’s most popular search engine.

But what about Microsoft Bing? Is it worth optimizing your site for, as well?

Let’s see how these two search giants, Microsoft Bing (rebranded from simply ‘Bing’ in October 2020) and Google, compare.

Google vs. Microsoft Bing Market Share

One of the first distinctions between Microsoft Bing and Google is market share. According to Statista, in February 2021, Bing accounted for 6.7% of the global search market, while Google took 86.6%.

That’s pretty huge.

And while that may make it tempting to focus on Google alone, Microsoft Bing provides good conversions and has a user base that shouldn’t be ignored.

That 6.7% of search users accounts for millions who use Microsoft Bing every day.

It’s particularly important to optimize for Bing if you’re targeting an American audience. In fact, one-third of online queries in the U.S. are powered by Microsoft properties when you factor in Yahoo and voice searches.

Some have wondered over the years whether Bing is an acronym for “Because It’s Not Google.” I’m not sure how true that is, but the name does come from a campaign in the early 1990s for its predecessor, Live Search.

Another fun tidbit is that Ahrefs recently did a study on the Top 100 Bing searches globally and the #1 query searched was [Google].

Comparing Google vs. Microsoft Bing’s Functionality

From a search functionality perspective, the two search engines are similar, but Google offers more core features:

Feature Google  Microsoft Bing
Text Search Yes Yes
Video Search Yes Yes
Image Search Yes Yes
Maps Yes Yes
News Yes Yes
Shopping Yes Yes
Books Yes No
Flights Yes No
Finance Yes No
Scholarly Literature Yes No

How Google & Microsoft Bing Differ in Size of Index and Crawling

Google says:

“The Google Search index contains hundreds of billions of webpages and is well over 100,000,000 gigabytes in size.”

Even so, not even Google can crawl the entire web. That is just not going to happen.

This is why using structured data is so important. It provides a data feed about your content so Google can understand it better, which can help you qualify for rich results and get more clicks and impressions.

Microsoft Bing hasn’t released similar figures. However, this search engine index size estimating website puts the Microsoft Bing index at somewhere between 8 to 14 billion web pages.

The two engines have shared a little about their approaches to web indexing.

Microsoft Bing says:

“Bingbot uses an algorithm to determine which sites to crawl, how often, and how many pages to fetch from each site. The goal is to minimize bingbot crawl footprint on your web sites while ensuring that the freshest content is available.”

Around the same time the above statement was made, John Mueller from Google said:

“I think the hard part here is that we don’t crawl URLs with the same frequency all the time. So some URLs we will crawl daily. Some URLs maybe weekly. Other URLs every couple of months, maybe even every once half year or so. So this is something that we try to find the right balance for, so that we don’t overload your server.”

Google has a mobile-first index, while Microsoft Bing takes a different stance and does not have plans to apply a mobile-first indexing policy.

Instead, Microsoft Bing maintains a single index that is optimized for both desktop and mobile, so it is important to make sure your site experience is optimized, loads quickly, and gives users what they need.

Google has evolved into more than just a search engine with products like Gmail, Maps, Chrome OS, Android OS, YouTube, and more.

Microsoft Bing also offers email via Outlook, as well as other services like Office Online or OneDrive.

Unlike Google, however, it does not have its own operating system. Instead, it uses Windows Phone 8 or iOS on Apple devices.

Now, let’s take a look at where Bing is on par with Google – or superior.

Differences in User Interface & Tools

Google has a clean, simple interface that many people find easy to use.

bitcoin 1

So does Microsoft Bing, though; in my opinion, Bing is actually a little bit more visual.

Both search engines display useful information about related searches, images, companies, and news and do a great job of informing users of everything they need to know about a given topic.

Microsoft Bing seach

SEO professionals love our tools and data.

Thankfully, both Google and Microsoft Bing have decent keyword research tools that offer insights into performance:

bing kwr

One area where I think Google falls behind is the data it provides in Google Search Console. If you want to learn how to use it, check out How to Use Google Search Console for SEO: A Complete Guide.

One of the cool feature sets in Microsoft Bing is the ability to import data from Google Search Console:

bing wmt 60632365848fb

Another Microsoft Bing feature that I think beats Google is the fact that it provides SEO Reports.

According to Bing, these reports contain common page-level recommendations based on SEO best practices to improve your rankings.

The reports are automatically generated biweekly and provide tips as to what to work on or look into.

bing seo report

See A Complete Guide to Bing Webmaster Tools to learn more.

Microsoft Bing May Excel in Image Search Over Google

When it comes to image search, Microsoft Bing may have a leg up on Google by providing higher-quality images.

I like the filtering features in its image search, too, because you can turn titles off and search by image size, color, or type.

bing-pizza-606323628ed23.png

Test out Bing Visual Image Search, which allows you to do more with images. Check out its library of specialized skills to help you shop, identify landmarks and animals, or just have fun.

Then, see How Bing’s Image & Video Algorithm Works to learn more.

Google has more images available for viewing than Microsoft Bing. Make the most of it with the tips in A Guide to Google’s Advanced Image Search.

However, Microsoft Bing provides more detailed information about the image users are searching for.

google-pizza-6063236bdf99c.png

How Microsoft Bing & Google Handle Video Search

Microsoft Bing provides a much more visual video search results page, including a grid view of large thumbnails.

Google’s video results are more standard, featuring a vertical list of small thumbnails.

Microsoft Bing also provides a preview of certain videos and clicking on them does not take you away from Bing, which is cool. From my perspective, it also provides much more information in video results.

As you can see from the screenshot of a movie search below, they include ratings and reviews, as well as the cast and even where you can watch the movie, which is great.

bing avengers

I did not get this experience with Google video search.

This is one area where Microsoft Bing definitely outperforms Google.

google avengers

Map Listings on Both Search Engines Matter for Local SEO

Both engines have similar functionality for maps, including map listings and local listings in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Make sure you claim all your listings in both Microsoft Bing and Google and optimize your profile with business information, photos, proper categories, and links.

Accurate name, address, and phone number (NAP) information are key.

See A Complete Guide to Google Maps Marketing.

Optimizing for Google Search vs. Microsoft Bing

Google is primarily concerned with E.A.T: Expertise, Authority, and Trust.

Google Searches are powered by machine-based algorithms that take into account users’ previous search history and location when generating results.

This means that if a particular user wants to find something specific on Google, it will be much easier than on Microsoft Bing because Google has a more complete picture of who that person is before they type anything in the browser.

Google has always been a link-orientated search engine in which the quality of links still matters instead of quantity. Links are not as important on Microsoft Bing.

In my opinion, Microsoft Bing has always been focused on on-page optimization. It puts more weight on content that is well optimized, or that includes important on-page elements like titles, descriptions, URLs, and content.

Unlike Google, Microsoft Bing states in its webmaster guidelines that it incorporates social signals into its algorithm. That means you should also focus on Twitter and Facebook – including building good quality content on your site and social platforms – if you want to rank highly in Microsoft Bing.

Content is extremely important for both search engines. Always focus on high-quality content that satisfies the user’s informational need. By creating useful and relevant content, users will naturally love it and link to it.

So, for example, if I am looking for cars, you should show me valuable content on the topic: how I can buy a car, cost, maintenance, what the shopping experience is like, etc.

Both speed, mobile-friendliness, and proper tech infrastructure matter for both engines. However, Microsoft Bing focuses more on anchor text usage. Bing has been known to reward sites with matching anchor text for a page title, which was devalued by Google many years ago.

Make sure you check out these resources for optimizing for various search engines:

  • Going Beyond Google: SEO on Other Search Engines
  • 7 Alternative Search Engines That Do Social Good
  • Embracing Bing Search & Giving It the Attention It Deserves
  • DuckDuckGo SEO: What You Should Know

Google Search vs. Microsoft Bing: The Verdict

Both Microsoft Bing and Google satisfy the informational needs of millions of people every day.

They both offer opportunities for your brand to reach new users and put you in front of millions of qualified customers who are looking for information, products, and services.

Optimizing for both search engines is similar. Microsoft Bing is more focused on on-page optimization and incorporates social signals, while Google is more focused on E.A.T. and links.

Microsoft Bing has definitely improved over the last year and is more competitive with Google, especially in its unique features.

That’s why I recommend optimizing for both, to reach the lion’s share of internet searches and maximize visibility.

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Winston Burton - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jason bourne]
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Categorized in Search Engine

If you follow Windows development closely, you’ve probably heard of “desktop gadgets”, a feature that was introduced with Windows Vista. As spotted in the new builds, Microsoft is now planning to recreate a similar experience on Windows 10 using its Chromium Edge browser.

For those unaware, the desktop gadgets feature was created by Microsoft to enhance the overall user experience in Windows Vista. After the launch of Windows Vista, independent developers also filled the gadgets store with a plethora of widgets to add the desired function to your Windows desktop.

The feature has since been discontinued, but it appears that Microsoft hasn’t given up on the idea yet. Desktop gadgets are making a comeback through the Microsoft Edge, bringing with it experimental features like floating search bar and floating news dashboard.

Dashboard layout

Edge’s dashboard layout
With its next big update, Microsoft is planning to add floating desktop widgets to Chromium Edge and it will initially include three layouts – vertical, dashboard, and search only.

While the vertical and dashboard layouts will focus on news and interests, the third layout “search only” will allow you to search the web.

To get started, you need to launch Microsoft Edge (Canary), open the main menu and click on ‘toolbar’, and select “web widgets”. After you click on the option, the launcher appears on the screen.

Search widget

 Edge’s search widget floating over MS Paint

Start typing the search keyboard or URL of the website you want to open. From the search results, simply click on the right item. And Edge will instantly launch with Bing.

Beyond using it to browse Bing and your favorite websites, Edge’s search widget can even perform calculations, thanks to Bing integration, the web widget runs in the background and the shortcut is automatically pinned to the right side of the display.

You can always end the widget’s background process from Windows 10’s system tray.

Edge widgets

The other two widgets – vertical and dashboard – follow the same approach used by the search widget, but they also enable access to news and weather feed which can show users a personalized briefing based on their interests.

As mentioned above, widgets can float over other apps, which means you can access the feature anytime by clicking on the icon floating over the desktop or apps.

In addition to the floating widget, Microsoft is also enabling Chromium Edge integration in Windows 10 taskbar search and support for improved vertical tabs.
 

[Source: This article was published in windowslatest.com By Mayank Parmar - Uploaded by the Association Member: Dorothy Allen]

Categorized in Search Engine

Microsoft Bing updates recipe results, similar-looking items, expandable carousels, infographic panels, and local answers design.

Microsoft announced several updates to Microsoft Bing Search that make the search experience more “visually immersive,” the company said. This update goes across many different search features including recipe results, image search’s similar looking items, expandable search result carousels, infographic knowledge panels, and the design of the local answer.

Let’s go through each update briefly below.

Infographic-like search panel experience

Microsoft launched these new knowledge panel designs that have very visually appealing. Microsoft said it’s goal is to “provide both style and substance” with this new look. Here is a screenshot of what it looks like, notice how the right panel, as well as other parts of the page, are very visually immersive.

bing search infographic panels

Local answers show more information

Now when you search in Microsoft Bing for the local answers you will get more information from Bing Maps, top images, visitor reviews, and more. It is not just a “single carousel of images or just a text summary of one aspect of what you’ve searched for,” Microsoft said. Here is a GIF of that in action: 

Expandable search carousels

Microsoft also added these expandable carousels where you will a carousel of answers that showcases just the results’ high-level information to avoid crowding the page. If you decide you want to learn more about a specific result, hover over it, and Microsoft Bing will then expand the result with more detailed information. 

Similar looking items image search feature

Within Microsoft Bing Image Search you can now click on an image and use the similar-looking item feature to highlight a part of that image to see more images that look similar to that portion of the image. Microsoft said “for example, in the “DIY coffee table” result, you may see wicker baskets that fit the table’s look and feel. With just a click, you’ll get image results of similar-looking items, and can directly click off to retailer sites to purchase a particular basket if you’re sold on it. “

Recipe results with more information

When you search for recipes, Microsoft will show you a list of recipes and let you expand to see more. In addition, the recipes experience will now let you see what it extracts from the page and then aggregates the content of the most relevant recipe and presents it in a single view on the search results page. This can show calories per serving and user reviews, plus expand to show you an ingredient list and possible substitutions for when you don’t have everything on hand, a drop-down menu for you to scale the recipe to a certain number of servings, and nutritional information. 

 [Source: This article was published in searchengineland.com By Barry Schwartz - Uploaded by the Association Member: Rene Meyer]
Categorized in Search Engine

Microsoft Bing is rolling out five upgrades to search that combines text-based information with visually rich imagery.

Microsoft Bing is launching five updates to search that aim to evolve SERPs beyond a list of links to provide users with a richer experience.

Microsoft Bing Rolls Out 5 Upgrades to Search Results

Bing’s latest updates have one thing in common – they all combine visually rich imagery with text-based information in a single view. The experience is described as more intuitive and engaging.

The new format is said to deliver information quickly and in a way that allows searchers to find what they need without scanning large blocks of text.

Bing’s upgraded search features include:

  • Intuitive highlighting of content
  • Integrated visual search
  • Expandable carousels
  • Infographic-like SERPs
  • Richer results for local queries

Here’s more details about each of the updates announced today.

Intuitive Highlighting

Bing is upgrading SERPs so they adapt to intuitively highlight content the searcher is engaging with.

A provided example demonstrates how this feature works with search results for recipes. You can see how Bing presents the initial results in a unique card-based format.

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When a user clicks on one of the results, Bing extracts the information related to the recipe and displays it inline without leaving the search results page.

recipe

The expanded view contains information such as:

  • Ingredient list (with possible substitutions)
  • Calories per serving
  • User reviews
  • A drop-down menu to scale the recipe to a specific number of servings
  • Nutritional information

To get the step-by-step cooking instructions searchers will still have to visit the actual web page.

Recipes are just one example. This feature may also be applied to other types of searches such as home improvement and creative projects.

Integrated Visual Search

While browsing through the card-based results, as shown above, users will have the option to instantly conduct a visual search to find similar-looking items.

Bing has integrated the visual search button into these results, which allows users to conduct an image-based query with just a click.

diy

“While exploring these visual results, you might see something you like but is difficult to describe with words. That’s why we’ve also integrated visual search into the experience, so you can quickly search using an image.

For example, in the “DIY coffee table” result, you may see wicker baskets that fit the table’s look and feel. With just a click, you’ll get image results of similar-looking items, and can directly click off to retailer sites to purchase a particular basket if you’re sold on it.”

Read More...

[Source: This article was published in searchengineland.com By Matt Southern - Uploaded by the Association Member: Daniel K. Henry]
Categorized in Search Engine

The latest Microsoft Edge Beta for Android now lets you sync all of your search history and tabs to the desktop version of Microsoft Edge on Windows 10.

According to Windows Central, the added sync options have appeared in the latest Edge beta version 45.11.24.5118, which looks as though it is the first build with the option to sync your search history across your Android device and Microsoft Windows 10 PC or laptop. However, it doesn’t look as though the option is available to everyone, which hints that this might be a limited A/B test ahead of a wider rollout at some point in future.

If you didn’t already know, Microsoft Edge already allows you to sync tons of data and content across your Android and desktop devices including bookmarks, passwords, and auto-fill forms. You can also send any open sites from your Android to PC, which is still a solid way to pick up where you left off.

edge android opentabs sync screens 2020

When opening the “Sync to” page on your Android phone, you’ll have expanded options to sync more data including Favorites, Open tabs, Form fill, Password, Collections, and History data. There is an option for Payments but the option doesn’t look like it is available yet.

We’re not entirely sure just how widely this sync option has been available for Android users of Microsoft Edge. Obviously, you’re bound to one browser across devices, but given the added features, you’ll likely have no issues. Be sure to let us know down in the comments section below if you’re seeing the option on your device.

[Source: This article was published in 9to5google.com By Damien Wilde - Uploaded by the Association Member: Anthony Frank]

 

Categorized in Internet Search

Bing is rolling out several updates to improve key search features including autosuggest, people also ask, and intelligent answers.

Bing is improving several key search features with updates designed to provide users with a wider range of results.

Now, when users search using Bing, they can expect to see:

  • Better autosuggest predictions
  • More ‘people also ask’ recommendations
  • Intelligent answers in more regions
  • Semantic highlighting in search snippets

Each of these updates are made possible due to advancements Microsoft has made in the areas of Natural Language Representation and Natural Language Generation.

Here’s how these updates will enhance the Bing search experience going forward.

Better Autosuggest Predictions

A new technology called Next Phrase Prediction is being integrated into Bing’s autosuggest feature.

 

What that means for users is Bing can now provide full phrase suggestions in real time for long queries.

Previously, Bing’s approach to handling autosuggestions for longer queries was limited to completing the current word being typed by the user.

Now, Bing can generate phrase suggestions for long queries before a user starts typing the next word.

Here are some examples of suggestions that Bing wouldn’t have been able to show previously.

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In addition, since phrase suggestions are being generated in real-time, autosuggest results are no longer limited to previously entered queries.

As a result of this update, coverage of autosuggest completions increases considerably, which improves the overall search experience.

More Questions in ‘People Also Ask’

Bing can now generate question-answer pairs in the People Also Ask (PAA) block for queries that haven’t been entered before.

“We use a high-quality generative model on billions of documents to generate question-answer pairs that are present within those documents.

Later, when the same documents appear on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP), we use the previously generated question-answer pairs to help populate the PAA block, in addition to existing similar questions that have previously been asked.”

This update allows for greater exploration of search results by asking more questions instead of just browsing documents.

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Expanding Intelligent Answers

Bing is expanding intelligent answers to 100 languages and 200+ regions, which covers almost every area Bing is available in.

Previously, Bing’s intelligent answers were only available in 13 markets.

Bing’s intelligent answers are similar Google’s quick answers. The key difference is Bing’s intelligent answers are only displayed when the same answer is backed up by multiple trusted sources.

Google’s quick answers, on the other hand, are pulled from a single source.

Semantic Highlighting in Search Snippets

Bing is improving search snippets in all markets with a feature called semantic highlighting.

This feature allows Bing to highlight words in snippets beyond simple keyword matching.

Semantic highlighting is designed to help users find information faster without having to read through the entire snippet.

Previously, Bing’s ability to highlight snippets was limited to matching the exact keywords a user typed in the query.

“Highlighting the answer in a caption is similar to Stanford’s Machine Reading Comprehension test in which Microsoft was the first to reach human parity on the benchmark.

With Universal Semantic Highlighting, we can identify and highlight answers within captions, and do it not just for English but for all languages.”

Here is an example for the query “what temperature is a fever for coronavirus.”

ac.png

Notice how Bing doesn’t highlight the words used in the query.

Rather, Bing highlights the answer the user is looking for (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

Expect updates similar to these in the future as Microsoft continues to make advancements in natural language processing.

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Matt Southern - Uploaded by the Association Member: Daniel K. Henry]

Categorized in Search Engine

Some users still get Edge crashes with Google as the default search engine – a workaround is to switch to Bing.

Microsoft has now offered an explanation for the bug that caused Chromium-based Edge to crash when Google was set as the default search engine – but didn't crash if Microsoft's much less popular Bing was set instead. 

The crashes were happening when users typed in the address bar. The conditions for the crash made it appear to some that there was a skirmish playing out between Google and Microsoft on the new Edge, which ships with Bing as the default search engine and strips out many Google features that are in Chrome. 

At the time, Microsoft didn't explain the cause of the crashes and why it only impacted Edge with Google as the default. However, after fixing the bug it did advise users to "revert your browser settings that you may have changed" to avoid the crashes. 

As spotted by Techdows, the Microsoft Edge team has now explained in a Reddit post that its "friends at Google" helped discover the cause of the crashes and even rolled back a recent change in Google search to mitigate the issue on Edge. 

"Our engineers found that an unrecognized token in the search suggestions JSON was causing the Edge browser to crash when typing in the address bar with Google set as the default search engine," explains MSFTMissy, a community manager for Edge. 

"We reached out to our friends at Google to see if they knew of a change that could've affected this. After investigating, they rolled back a recent update to Google's search service to help mitigate the crash on Edge.

"Thanks to the swift action on their team, we confirmed the issue was mitigated in Edge around 7:30pm Pacific. To insure we were not blocking the deployment of their changes, we had also rolled out a fix to our Stable channel."

The Microsoft Edge team is now recommending that Edge users update to version 84.0.522.52, which contains updates that address the bug. It's also rolling out these changes to Edge on the Beta and Dev channels. 

However, in a subsequent update, MSFTMissy noted that some users were still experiencing the same crashes despite being on the latest version of Edge. 

One of three workarounds is to "change your search engine back to Bing, temporarily".

Other workarounds include turning off Search Suggestions in edge://settings/search, to use Edge in InPrivate, or to sign out of the browser.

[Source: This article was published in zdnet.com By Liam Tung - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jasper Solander]

Categorized in Search Engine

Microsoft Word will have a new search experience offering more tools, such as questions, understanding in-text errors, and synonyms.

Microsoft says it wants users of Microsoft Word to have a more robust search experience when using the Office application. Specifically, a major overhaul of the app’s integrated search tool is in the works. Microsoft plans to draw more parallels with its web search experience.

When people use Microsoft Word in the future, their searchers will be handled more like a typical search performed on a web browser. According to Microsoft, users will be able to surface search results when they make an in-text error, like a typo.

Word will help by searching other related items. This behavior is similar to web search engines and is not currently available on the app. Next, Microsoft Word search will also group together forms of words.

Improving Search

When users input a search term, the app will also find other words related to the search term. Synonyms will allow users to see more results, and it will also work for multi-word searches.

“We’re utilizing well-established web search technologies, such as query and document understanding, and adding deep learning based natural language models. This allows us to handle a much broader set of search queries beyond exact match,” Microsoft says.

Microsoft also wants Word’s upcoming search update to allow users to input questions as search terms.

“With the recent breakthroughs in deep learning techniques, you can now go beyond the common search term-based queries. The result is answers to your questions based on the document content. This opens a whole new way of finding knowledge. When you’re looking at a water quality report, you can answer questions like ‘where does the city water originate from? How to reduce the amount of lead in water?’” Microsoft explains.

At the moment, all the planned changes are named as “coming soon” with no word on a specific launch date.

 [Source: This article was published in winbuzzer.com By Luke Jones - Uploaded by the Association Member: James Gill] 

Categorized in Internet Search

Update: July 15, 2020 at 5:29 PM ET: In an email, Microsoft confirmed the news to Android Authority that Bing has indeed been added to the list of search engines in certain parts of Android after installing the Outlook app. The company claims this addition has no impact on users’ default search engines on their phones.

Original article: July 13, 2020 at 9:40 PM ET: If you use Outlook for your Android phone’s email and calendars, you might see an unexpected sales pitch for Microsoft’s search engine.

Android users have discovered that Outlook slips a “Bing search” option into the long-press menu you see when you select text. Tap it and it will open your default browser with a Bing query for whatever words you had selected. It’s helpful, but likely not what you wanted if you live in a Google-centric world.

The menu option doesn’t appear for everyone, and some have reported success in getting rid of it by uninstalling Outlook. It might not even be visible if you reinstall the app. It doesn’t appear to be available when you install other Microsoft apps beyond Bing.

We’ve asked Microsoft for comment, although this isn’t a completely novel strategy. The company slipped suggestions for its own apps into Android’s share menu in 2019.

There is an incentive for the company to experiment with features like this.

Microsoft is using built-in Android functionality to add the Bing search option. It’s not compromising your device or otherwise going out of bounds, then. However, the practice might not find many fans. The company is promoting Bing to users who didn’t expect it (and frequently didn’t want it) on their devices in any form, let alone system-wide.

There is an incentive for the company to experiment with features like this. Bing had just under 2.8% of search engine usage share in June 2020, according to StatCounter. While that’s larger than most of the competition, it pales compared to Google’s 91.75% share. Microsoft has a lot of ground to cover if it’s going to be more competitive, and suggesting Bing searches to millions of users there have been over 100 million downloads as we write this) theoretically helps close the gap.

[Source: This article was published in androidauthority.com By Jon Fingas - Uploaded by the Association Member: David J. Redcliff]

Categorized in Search Engine

It’s safe to say that nearly everyone is familiar with Internet search engines. Most of us use a search engine such as Google, Duck Duck Go, or Bing daily. As helpful as these and other search engines might be however, they don’t always give users the answers that they need. This is especially true if the user is searching for something specific to your organization. Unless the item that the user is looking for happens to be on your organization’s public-facing web page, a search engine like Google is unlikely to be able to point the user to whatever it is that they happen to be looking for. The solution to this problem is to deploy an enterprise search engine. An enterprise search engine is similar to search engines that we are all familiar with, except that it is configured to search within your organization’s resources. While there are third-party options for setting up an enterprise search engine, Microsoft includes a search engine with its productivity cloud suite, Microsoft 365.

Using Microsoft Search in Microsoft 365

Microsoft Search is enabled by default for Microsoft 365 users. Even so, most users probably don’t even realize that they can search across the organization’s online resources.

Before a user can use Microsoft Search, they must be logged into Microsoft 365. Once logged in, the user needs only to open their browser, go to Bing.com, and enter the search query. Upon doing so, Bing will return both public and private search results.

If you look at the image below, you will see Bing’s results page (I have hidden the search query and the search results for privacy reasons). The main thing that I wanted to point out in the figure is that there are a series of tabs just beneath the search bar. These tabs include things like All, Work, Images, Videos, and more. The Work tab, which has a lock icon next to it, is where users need to go if they are looking for non-public information. As you might have noticed in the figure, a Bing search can return a variety of document types, and users can filter the search results by People, Groups, Sites, Files, and Conversations. In case you are wondering, the search results only include documents that the user has access to.

Bing can surface search results that are specific to your organization
Enterprise-Search-1-1024x569.jpg

Search limitations

As you would probably expect, Microsoft gives you some control over the types of results generated by Microsoft Search. I’m going to show you some of the more useful configuration options. Before I do, though, I want to mention what I consider to be Microsoft Search’s most significant limitation.

As previously mentioned, Microsoft Search is built into Microsoft 365. This means that Microsoft Search’s results only include whatever data Microsoft 365 is aware of. For example, Microsoft Search isn’t going to be able to return results related to your company’s billing application unless that application is somehow tied to Microsoft 365.

In my opinion, the most significant limitation associated with using Microsoft Search is that the search engine does not index your file servers. It assumes that most of your file data reside in SharePoint Online. The only way that Microsoft Search can index files stored on-premises is if you have a hybrid SharePoint deployment and the files that you want to index are stored within SharePoint.

Configuring Microsoft Search

In any organization, there are certain things that users will inevitably end up searching for. These questions will differ from one organization to the next, but here are a few examples:

  • How do I request time off?
  • How many vacation days do I get per year?
  • How can I access email from my phone?
  • What is the company’s mailing address?

One of the really nice things about Microsoft Search is that you don’t have to wonder if it will be able to figure out the answers to these types of questions. You can create a list of the questions that users are likely to ask and give Microsoft Search the answers to those questions.

To populate Microsoft Search with questions and answers, begin by logging into Microsoft 365 and go to the Microsoft 365 Admin Center. Next, click on the Add Admin Centers option, followed by Microsoft Search. You can see what this looks like in the screenshot below.

Click on All Admin Centers, followed by Microsoft Search
Enterprise-Search-2-1024x505.jpg

When the Microsoft Search interface appears, click on the Answers tab, and then click on Q&A. Now, click the Add link, shown in the figure below.

Select the Q&A tab and then click the Add link
Enterprise-Search-3-1024x585.jpg

You can see what the Add Q&A screen looks like below. To create a question and answer, you will need to type the question into the Title field. Keep in mind that this field has a 60-character limit, so you will need to keep the question short. You will also need to type the answer to the question into the Answer Description field. You can also optionally link to a specific URL. When you are done, click the Publish button.

This is what the Add Q&A screen looks like
Enterprise-Search-4.jpg

When creating a Q&A, you have the option of including a link to a web page, but the goal is to include the answer to the question in the Answer Description field. If you would rather not have to type the answers to questions, you can create a bookmark instead. A bookmark tells Microsoft Search to point to a specific URL when a user enters certain keywords. If you look at the figure below, for example, you can see that the keywords Office Admin Portal are linked to the URL for the Office 365 Admin Center.

Bookmarks associate keywords with URLs
Enterprise-Search-5-1024x572.jpg

To create a bookmark, just go to the Bookmark tab and click on the Add button. This will cause Microsoft 365 to display the Add Bookmark screen, shown in the figure below. As you can see in the figure, you will need to provide a title for the bookmark that you are creating as well as the bookmark URL and one or more keywords. You can also include an optional bookmark description of up to 300 characters.

This is what it looks like when you create a bookmark
Enterprise-Search-6-1024x514.jpg

Microsoft Search and Microsoft 365: A bounty of possibilities

As you begin populating Microsoft Search, most of your manual additions will likely be bookmarks or questions and answers. Even so, there are other types of data that you can add. For example, you can include floor plans and information about your company’s locations. If your organization uses a lot of acronyms internally, you can add those to the search interface as well.

[Source: This article was published in techgenix.com By Brien Posey - Uploaded by the Association Member: Joshua Simon]

Categorized in Search Engine
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