When we talk about SEO, we usually make an assumption that we’re talking about Google, after all it holds some 67% of the search engine market. Your customers use it, you use it and so does everyone else.
In regards to SEO we often forget that although Google holds such a staggering portion of the market, Bing, owned by Microsoft, firmly holds 2nd place with an 18% share. The remaining 15% being made up of other miscellaneous search engines.
Bing still remains a relatively new search engine, founded as recently as 2009 and continues to grow in usage, rising by 2.1% in 2013.
Although there are many similarities between the way both Bing and Google rank websites, a search can completely differ from one platform to the other. So it’s worth finding out what matters to Bing so you take steps to improving your rankings there as well. While you’re competitors are blindly focused on Google, you could be making advances in your search rankings on Bing, and capturing 20% of the search market in the process.
What exactly matters to Bing?
Bing rewards pictures, video, audio, flash and more – Google relies much more on text based content and descriptions for pictures, whereas Bing is much more capable of understanding flash and images.
Flash is all but invisible to Google’s search bot so any websites developed in flash will essentially disappear. Consequently, Flash is becoming something of the past, with many web developers favoring more “search friendly” and more flexible HTML5. That said Bing’s interpretation of images is far greater than Google’s, Bing uses what’s known as “entity understanding”, which allows Bing to determine whether an image is of a person, place or object.
Bing favors direct keywords & less backlinks – Google is much better at deciphering a page’s purpose within a context. Bing relies more on ‘direct’ keywords. You should try to keep your web pages specific around a particular keyword, as well as in your backlinks, internal and external. Bing also relies more on internal backlinks with specific keyword anchor text. In terms of external links, Bing tends to favor websites with a smaller numbers of backlinks, but of higher quality sites.
Social media favored over Backlinks– The method that Bing uses to rank websites relies much less on backlinks than Google. Instead, as a newer search engine Bing puts more emphasis on social media, and ironically even on Google+ usage. A 2013 study by SearchMetrix found that Tweets, Pins, Facebook comments and shares all came within the top 10 in terms of importance when ranking websites.
Important content should remain at the top of the page – Bing’s search algorithm is still relatively new, while Google’s is much more developed. Bing only tends to read the first 100kb of a web page before making an assessment. For this reason you should try to keep important keywords at the top of the page if you want them to be considered.
Bing won’t index all of your web pages – Bing generally won’t index and retain all of the pages on your website if it does not deem them of significant authority and value. Ideally each page on your site should have at least one authority backlink pointing to it to remain in Bing’s search results. Don’t just focus on backlinks to your homepage but further internal pages as well.
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Many of the same rules still apply– With the right strategy you could significantly boost your search engine rankings through Bing. There are enough differences between the search engines that with the right strategy results for certain search terms could be more favorable in Bing than Google. Despite this however, many of the same rules still apply between the two:
- High quality, relevant content is rewarded
- Website owners should avoid duplicate content
- Avoiding poor quality ‘spammy’ backlinks
- Improved CTR & bounce rate – Focus on providing value and keeping users on your website, both Google and Bing consider sites that users promptly leave or ‘bounce’ from as lesser quality.
One final word about Bing. As most online marketers know, Bing and Yahoo share the same search algorithm. Consequently, organic search results are close to identical between these two search engines. It has been noted by some that Yahoo is more image centric than Bing and they pack in more paid ads. Other than that, the search engines are close to identical.
The advice given here is if you have to play to one search engine, Google is still the king. However knowing how the other search engines operate will help you to decide on an SEO strategy that’s right for you.