What's Up With Bing Changing My Searches?

Getting a head start on my (workplace) New Year's resolution to pick up my blogging game by kicking out this quick post about some weird things we're seeing in the Bing SERPs this week.

I was doing some manual ranking spot checks yesterday and noticed something strange on Bing - the results that were displayed were for a different keyword, as in not the one I searched for. Let's get some screenshots to explain what I'm seeing:

Shipping Company --> Freight Company

Then when I clicked on "Do you want results for shipping company?" I got this:

And the first page of results (after the top spot) were significantly different! Glen Cathey (@GlenCathey) discussed a similar situation with the "+" operator here about a month ago, where Bing changed his search for "PeopleSoft HSCM" to "peoplesoft hcm." But in this case, instead of an assumed misspelling, my search and subsequent results changed all together! A freight company and a shipping company are not exactly the same thing from my basic understanding of the two. One could say that freight shipping is a type of shipping, but it is not the only type of shipping a shipping company does (please pardon my excessive use of "shipping" in this sentence). One company may specialize in furniture shipping, while another focuses on long-distance or international shipping, for example. What is more, according to the Google AdWords keyword tool, estimated exact match search volume is significantly higher for [shipping company] - more than 4x higher for Global and close to 2x higher for Local Monthly Searches. So the question is: why would Bing think I'd rather see results for freight company if shipping company has more search volume?

Here's another example:

Cheap Contact Lenses --> Discount Contact Lenses

Yet again, the SERPs change for "+cheap contact lenses." And yet again, the Google AdWords keyword tool shows significantly higher estimated search volume for [cheap contact lenses] compared to [discount contact lenses]. So the question remains: why would Bing default to discount when cheap has higher volume?

For the third example, things just get weird...

Orthopaedic Surgeon --> Orthopaedic Surgery

Similar to the examples above, nothing too crazy. But then when I did a new search for orthopaedic surgery, it came back with "Including results for orthopedic surgeons." Then when I did another new search for orthopedic surgeons, it came back with "Including results for orthopedic surgery." THEN when I did yet another new search for orthopedic surgery, it came back with "Including results for orthopedic surgeons" again. Isn't that basically what I was looking for in the first place? This continual loop seems completely unnecessary and just doesn't make sense in my opinion.

Why can't I just see the results I searched for the first time around? I think it should be pretty clear that if I search for "shipping company," I'd like to see results for this search and not have it automatically switched to "freight company" without my knowledge or consent. Is that the best user experience? I think not. Not to mention how this could negatively impact a site's organic traffic if it ranks well for a given term but Bing is displaying results for another term (that it might not rank as well for). Are any other SEOs seeing this for any keywords? If so please share!

And hey Bing, what's up with this?

Big shout out to my awesome teammate Adam Melson (@adammm) for helping me find some great examples to get this post up quickly before the holidays. And with that I'd like to wish everyone a very very happy holiday season from the entire SEER family! See you in 2012.

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