Just one week after earnings statements revealed Microsoft earned a record $69.9 billion in 2010, reports emerged that company search engine Bing was experimenting with a new search model that would mix paid ads in with organic search results. The announcement came as a shock to search engine optimization professionals who work to link searchers with companies organically.
While paid inclusion is nothing new—Google and Yahoo both have sponsored results—Bing caused an uproar by ranking paid results higher in the organic rankings, rather than giving the sponsored results their own section. Without a separation between paid ads and organic search, SEO companies cannot help searchers find their services as easily, giving Bing an inherent class system.
The test has search engine optimization professionals shocked as Bing has been improving its search capabilities, including social media search results and several different types of multimedia searches, allowing more opportunity for organic SEO tagging.
Search engine news blog Search Engine Land confirmed that the paid inclusion and ranking system were part of a test that Bing was trying out and are in no way a part of the site’s ongoing offering just yet.
“We’re constantly testing and experimenting on Bing, and with that, we carefully measure user engagement and reaction to these changes,” a Microsoft spokesperson told the blog Monday. “We have nothing further to share at this time.”