Making Google happy is a big part of any professional SEO’s job. But it isn’t the only place that matters.
Have you been presuming that Bing SEO is a waste of your time just because Google is king of the SEO hill?
Although Bing is trailing Google by a ways, it still has a decent chunk of the market; plus, Bing powers Yahoo!’s search.
According to an August 2020 report of search engine market share in the United States, Bing is up to 7.2 percent. That might not sound like a lot, but it represents millions of users.
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Who Uses Bing?
Whether you’re asking inquisitively or sarcastically, the answer is the same: Quite a lot of people!
- Bing processes 13.7 billion monthly PC searches (or roughly 317k every minute).
- Bing services a surprising 60 million searchers who are not reached by Google.
- The typical Bing user in the United States is an educated individual between the ages of 35 to 54 with a household income above $75,000.
- The most popular industries include retail, finances, technology, travel, education, health, auto, and telecom.
Bing on the Rise
Some analysts believe it’s just a matter of time before Bing overtakes Google, as hard as that may be to conceive. The reasoning?
- A growing number of users now prefer Bing over Google for its intuitive features and great search options.
- Bing is getting smarter: It beat Google to a valuable feature called disavowing links by a few months.
- Bing traffic is actually considered by some to be more valuable than Google traffic. Bing users have a lower bounce rate, visit more pages per site, spend longer amounts of time on the site, and actually click more affiliate links.
- Bing is the default search engine for Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana. (And the number of voice searches continues to increase exponentially year over year.)
We certainly wouldn’t try to predict what the future holds for the search marketing industry, but if there’s a chance Bing SEO could beat Google down the road, perhaps it’s time to optimize your site for Bing as fully as you can.
Important Ways Google and Bing SEO Differ
Until recently, though, there weren’t any concrete guidelines to follow. No one knew for sure what the secrets were to ranking high on Bing. Now we have a clearer idea of what the search engine’s algorithm looks for.
Duane Forrester brought to the SEO world’s attention the newly released Bing’s Webmaster Guidelines /bing webmaster tools. If you browse through the document and are familiar with Google’s guidelines, then you’ll recognize that they’re actually pretty similar.
They are, however, not the same. There are some distinct differences between Bing SEO strategy and Google, including:
- Keywords. Google has gone to great lengths to move away from exact keyword matches and to instead rely on semantic search (or a system that interprets contextual cues and infers the searcher’s intent). Bing SEO, on the other hand, still prefers targeted keywords whenever possible. Exact matches, particularly in titles and tags, will help you rank.
- Meta keywords. Google killed meta keywords over a decade ago. Bing still loves them, though! So while they may be irrelevant for Google, they can actually give you a bit of a boost in the Bing rankings.
- Social signals. As you probably know, Google uses nofollow links on social media and denies that social signals play any role in page ranking. Bing SEO, on the other hand, treats social signals with a lot of trust and respect. If you have influence on social media, that will be reflected in your search rankings.
- Backlinks. Bing loves backlinks just as much as Google. However, they analyze them in a slightly different manner. Whereas Google uses PageRank to determine the authority of a backlink, Bing SEO emphasizes ranking factors like domain age and domain extensions. Link count is also an extremely important ranking factors (whereas Google likes quality over quantity).
- Multimedia content. Whereas Google is still highly reliant on text-based content, Bing has powerful technology that they say can accurately crawl and understand a variety of multimedia content (like videos and podcasts). This gives websites with lots of multimedia content a leg up.
8 Strategies for Optimizing Your Site for Bing
Want to up your website’s rankings within the Bing search engine? Here are a few powerful strategies and tactics we recommend:
1. Oh My … Keywords & Link Building
Linking is a crucial Search engine optimization (SEO) element. It always will be, whether for Google or Bing.
Try to make a point of always linking from extremely relevant sites. Also, be aware that Bing places value on outbound links more than other search engines do.
Unlike Google & other search engines, Bing says to use keyword-rich content. That leaves me to wonder if the not-so-honest marketers out there will start targeting Bing more. Will they have an easier time getting poor sites that aren’t helpful to rank well on Bing, by stuffing plenty of keywords into their pages?
I don’t see anything certain about that: no warnings or cautions in the “Things to Avoid” area about keyword stuffing or trying to manipulate rankings with content.
While Google basically says they don’t want you out there purposefully trying to build links to your site, Bing says, GO! Sure, they warn about link schemes and link farms. But they’re just fine with you planning out an ethical strategy to obtain the backlinks we all need in order to rank.
Bing seems to prefer that each page of your site should contain no more than two keywords. Follow this rule. Optimize your site for one main keyword and use another one as a secondary keyword.
2. Site Speed (Page Load Time, or PLT)
Another factor they clearly highlight is how fast your site loads when a visitor lands there. They advise you to take the speed into consideration, but not to let it hinder the user’s experience. If someone searches on Bing, clicks through to your site, then immediately leaves, Bing is likely to conclude that they showed a result that wasn’t very good. And if that happens a lot, I’d imagine they’ll lower your ranking for that search term.
Want to measure your site speed and/or find out how to improve it? We’ve published an in-depth guide on how to do just that. I’d recommend reading the full post, but some of the quick strategies are to:
- Get an efficient host
- Reduce images
- Choose an efficient theme
- Clean up plugins
- Zip website files
- Use a caching plugin
- Reorganize your home page
- Make your database more efficient
- Control image loading
- Get rid of pingbacks and trackbacks
- Eliminate unused post drafts
- Use static HTML
- Leverage a content delivery network
- Disable hotlinking
- Use a lazy loader
- Remove or reduce third party calls
If you take these actions, you’ll see your site speed jump immediately (and a boost in the search rankings shouldn’t fall too far behind).
3. Properly manage the length of your site’s content
You’re probably used to churning out 500 words for your blog posts. That will serve you well, since Bing prefers content to be longer than 300 words.
Bing algorithms appear to place greater value on content that is no less than 300 words. The longer your content, the better optimized it is for Bing.
4. Follow on-page optimization for Bing
Use keywords in titles and html tags on every page. Bing prefers each page to be fully optimized with proper keywords. If you properly optimize your pages, you’ll have an easy time ranking on Bing’s search results.
5. Don’t forget meta tags
Meta tags may have slipped into the back seat for many Search engines optimization (SEO) specialists because Google no longer places value on them. Google does encourage the use of meta tags, but not as an Search engine optimization (SEO) factor.
With Bing, however, it is highly recommended to utilize meta tags for every page. If you’re doing it already, good for you; keep it up! It’s likely that most of your traffic comes from bing traffic.
6. Focus on User Engagement
Bing is a firm believer in user engagement as a signal for credibility and authority. They measure it via a method known as “pogo sticking.” This occurs when someone performs a search, clicks on one of the results, and clicks back to the search results.
Lots of pogo sticking is a bad sign and will suppress your rankings. Minimal pogo sticking – meaning people aren’t clicking back to the search results – is a strong search signal and will improve your rankings.
7. Optimize Inbound Anchor Text
Bing places an emphasis on anchor text usage. In particular, they like to see specific matches.
So if you’re trying to rank for the search term “My Best product,” you should use “My Best Product” as the anchor text. (Now you obviously don’t want to boost your Bing rankings at the expense of your Google rankings, so you have to use caution. If you’re going to use an exact match, make sure it’s coming from a high authority website. Additionally, make sure you’re mixing in other anchor text from other links.)
8. Optimize Site Structure & Code
Bing wants to see quality content, but they also want it to be located in the right places. More specifically, they advise webmasters to organize quality content close to the surface – no more than three clicks away from the home page.
Bing also prefers broad to specific structure flow. For example:
Search engines optimization (SEO) > Link Building > Best Practices OR Sporting Goods > Baseball > Gloves
If you follow these rules, you’ll be good in Bing’s book.
Follow current SEO best practices at all times
Neither Google nor Bing gives us a clear picture of what their algorithm looks like. We can only derive hints from the rules and guidelines they have issued to webmasters. All that can be said is, whatever best practices are out there for Search engines optimization (SEO), follow them religiously.
Pay no attention to the rumors that Bing places greater value on sites that are old or prefers those that are newer. It’s been my personal experience that some of my posts have popped up on Bing’s first page several days after publishing.
As I said, just follow Search engines optimization (SEO) best practices that you’re already following, and Bing will most likely reward you accordingly.
Maybe you tacked SEO and got decent results on Google only to realize that things changed and you lost rank. Now you need to integrate, interact with, and monitor social media to stay competitive.
We do apologize for bringing in even more to think about! But that’s what we’re here for: to make sure you’re aware of and understand what’s needed in order to stay ahead of your competition.
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