Adaptive search! Yes, that is right, Bing search results are now modified based on user interaction (they always kind of have been of course, but this is a whole new element in the process). Bing adaptive search will have implications for SEO. It can limit or enhance the number of times your site surfaces in search queries, and this means dollars are jeopardized for online businesses.
So as you can see, Bing will now be modifying your search results based on what you have searched and your CTR on specific queries. Although this is still very new and our information is limited, it would appear that they will be using category themes and metrics to certain group pieces of content and search queries. So for example, if a user often searches for information on entertainment Bing will now be more likely to associate queries and corresponding search result content with entertainment related keywords and websites.
Bing adaptive search does have the potential to affect search engine traffic to your website. Let’s walk through a hypothetical scenario based on the limited information we have and our interpretation of the system and its functionality.
Assume you own a website that sells golf equipment. But does not cover golf or sports news. Assume your site ranks high for the term golf.
In the past, users have searched for the term golf frequently and found your website. Golf is a general term, so some of these users were looking for other things besides golf equipment.
The Bing adaptive search algorithm change goes into effect. After a period it becomes clear to Bing that individual users are looking for golf news when searching for golf and are not looking for golf equipment. Bing then modifies their search results. The effect of this modification is that your website will not appear as regularly to these users for the term golf. Instead, golf news sites will look as they are associated with this category of the theme of content.
Alternately, because your website is associated with golf equipment, it should rank better for those users who have proven to be looking for merchandise when performing this query.
In theory, this new adaptive search feature from Bing should provide users with a better search experience as the search results data will be adapted to their searcher’s preferences. While this is true, human nature is full of irregularities. Only time will tell if this will be a good thing for Bing and users.