Coca-Cola has been the number one player in the soft drink industry for decades, but Pepsi has long challenged the notion that Coke tastes better. Similarly, Bing has chafed at years of being in Google’s shadow in the search space. Last year, Bing dared searchers to “Bing It On” in an attempt to prove its search results are superior to those of its rival.

Bing was unveiled by Microsoft back in 2009, although Microsoft has been a player in the search space since the late nineties. Last January, Bing overtook Yahoo early as the number two search engine by market share. This post about Bing is the first in an occasional Search Engine Series that will describe some of the other players competing with Google in the search space.

Bing It OnMarketing that Packs a Punch

Like a pair of bitter NFL rivals, Bing and Google don’t seem to like either other very much. And it’s clear they have different game plans as they take divergent paths. Google’s search strategy has been to focus on its Knowledge Graph, while Bing has put more of an emphasis on social.

Bing has been on the marketing offensive in recent months with “Don’t Get Scroogled” and its version of the Pepsi Challenge, “Bing It On.” While many observers have felt that Google has maintained its lead in terms of its search algorithm, Bing was able to generate some positive headlines by beating Google to the punch with its Disavow Tool feature, which allows you to disavow unfavorable links in Bing Webmaster Tools.

Marathon, Not a Sprint

Google might get the lion’s share of press, but search is a rapidly changing global industry that’s still in its infancy. Smaller endeavors like DuckDuckGo have taken a back-to-basics approach, while companies like Baidu and Yandex have a strong presence in other international regions. Tired of being number two, Bing has adopted the Pepsi strategy of presenting itself as the hipper – and tastier – alternative.

The New Bing rolled out last May with the tagline “Spend Less Time Searching, More Time Doing.” Core web results were complemented by a center “Snapshot” column a Social Sidebar and deeper Facebook integration. Bing even offers rewards like gift cards and movie nights for people who use their search.

What it Means for You

Like Google, Bing wants to return the best possible results for any search query. Quality content has become increasingly important as both search engines strive to help, inform and entertain searchers. Companies need to create content that genuinely engages their target audiences, answering their questions and helping them solve problems.

As we enter 2013, Google continues to expand its Knowledge Graph in helping to broaden our information discovery. Bing has tagged this the “Year of the Excellent User Experience” — a reference to its emphasis on giving you what you want regardless of the device that you’re using to access the Internet. While many of us might search mostly on Google, perhaps it’s time to give Bing a taste test to see if their claims of superiority are true.

What are your thoughts about Bing? We’d love to hear how you think the Microsoft challenger stacks up against Google.

To see how Google and Bing really stack up, check out our CTR study: A Tale of Two Studies: Establishing Google & Bing Click-Through Rates.