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What B2B Marketers Can Learn From Breaking News

March 13, 2012

Search engines such as Bing and Google tend to change the way they render SERPs (search engine results pages) in reaction to breaking news, favoring placed results (e.g., news, videos, and images) above the fold rather than organic search results, according to a new study by Optify.

That finding has implications for B2B marketers who want to better position relevant digital content on SERPs during breaking-news periods, according to Optify.

In order to rank higher on SERPs during such periods, B2B brands need authority, social media reach, and—because search engines surface multi-format results higher on SERPs—fresh multi-format content, Optify found.

Below, additional findings from Optify's Breaking News Study.

The study compares how Bing and Google treated search queries related to three different breaking news stories in 2011: a worldwide news event (the tsunami that hit Japan on March 11), a business news event (the resignation of the late Steve Jobs on August 24), and a local news event (Amanda Knox returning to Seattle on October 4).

For each news event, Optify identified those keywords that would likely drive the highest volume of results. For example, when analyzing the resignation of Steve Jobs, the search terms were Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs Resigns, Apple, Apple CEO resigns, Steve Jobs Resigns from Apple, Jobs Resigns, and Apple Resigns.

The researchers conducted searches on Bing and Google, and then analyzed the evolution and performance of those keywords.*

Overall, both search engines changed the format of the SERPs during breaking news, serving links to placed results (news, videos, and images) (No. 5 in the diagram) at the top of the SERP, effectively pushing down organic search results below the fold, as shown in the following diagram:

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