When marketers talk about SEO, they’re almost always talking about optimizing for Google. As Google still owns 63.5 percent of the US market share, it makes sense to cater to the most popular search engine.
However, it would be a mistake to ignore the marketing potential of the second largest search engine, Bing, which in June 2018 owned 24.1 percent of the US market share. That’s almost one in four searches conducted on Bing. And it’s still growing. In October 2018, Bing had 1.24 billion unique global visitors, up from almost 1.1 billion visitors in February 2018.
Despite Google having almost two-thirds of the search market share, Bing actually leads in terms of longer search queries. In August 2017, for searches containing two words to ten words, Bing accounted for an average of 77.8 percent of search queries worldwide.
There are a few other reasons marketers should focus more attention on Bing…
Why Businesses Should Optimize for Bing
1. You’ll Face Lower Competition
In general, fewer of your competitors are trying to rank on Bing, which means it’s easier to get a higher spot in Bing search results compared to Google. Due to lower competition, it also takes less time to see ranking results.
2. Bing Powers Yahoo
From 2009, the Yahoo search engine has been powered by Bing, so optimizing for Bing will naturally boost your results on Yahoo.
3. Bing is More Transparent About Ranking Factors
Just check Bing Webmaster Guidelines and case studies and you’ll see that compared to Google, there are less mysteries about how to rank higher on Bing. They also give you the tools to improve your website to suit their taste.
4. Bing Traffic May Convert Better than Google’s
According to one website analysis, Bing had a 20 percent conversion rate, while Google’s was 16.5 percent.
5. Small Local Businesses Get a Boost with Bing
For local searches, Bing tends to show a greater number of small businesses in search results, whereas Google leans toward more established, larger companies.
Optimizing for Bing: 10 Ways to Improve Your Rankings
Now we know the benefits of optimizing content for Bing, here are 10 tips for getting better results on the search engine:
1. Index Your Website for Bing
First, you should ensure your important pages are indexed in Bing. To find out how many pages are already indexed, in the Bing search box type “site:” followed by your site’s domain name.
There’s no cost to submit your website to Bing. Simply submit your site via Bing Webmaster Tools. You don’t have to do this to be included in the Bing search index, but its toolset will help you optimize your rankings.
2. Clean Up Your Sitemap
Bing prefers clean sitemaps, so if there are too many 404 errors or redirects, you’ll get a penalty. Submit a sitemap to Bing that includes all the working links to pages on your site. Bing doesn’t crawl sites as often as Google, so resubmit your sitemap after any site changes.
3. Tell Bing to Crawl Your Site More Often
In the crawl settings in Bing Webmaster Tools, you can set the rate that Bing crawls your site. If you have a larger site that changes frequently, you may want to increase the crawl rate.
4. Use More Straightforward Keywords
Bing is more old-school when it comes to SEO. Exact-match keywords in URLs, title tags, copy, meta descriptions, and anchor text have more power with Bing. Work your primary target keywords into your content – especially title tags – but don’t be too repetitive as this could affect your Google rankings.
An excerpt from the Bing blog confirms the importance of title tags: “Make the HTML title relevant to the queries that would be used to search your site without being overly long or repetitive.”
5. Improve Click-Through Rates
User signals play a key part in Bing rankings. Their algorithm measures click-through rates from search engine results pages and bounce rates. To encourage click-throughs, write compelling meta descriptions. To decrease bounce rates, make sure your landing pages provide clear, useful, and valuable information.
6. Improve Backlinks
Like Google, Bing sees backlinks as a sign of popularity and credibility, but only if they’re from credible, relevant websites. They even encourage businesses to build internal and external links through social media activity.
What’s more, Bing seems to value backlinks even more than Google. According to a Searchmetrics study, for websites that ranked in the top 30, around 53 percent of their backlinks contained keywords in the anchor text. This is 10 percent more than the results for Google. What this means is that unlike Google, which is more focused on semantics and broad-matching queries, Bing is more reliant on anchor text keywords.
7. Publish More Multimedia Content
While Google does take into account different content formats, it still relies more on text-based content for its rankings. The Bing algorithm pays more attention to multimedia content. Bing likes rich and engaging content that uses images, videos, audio, and so on, because it all enriches the user experience.
8. Publish More Unique and User-Friendly Content
According to Bing Webmaster Guidelines, “By providing clear, deep, easy to find content on your website, we are more likely to index and show your content in search results. Websites that are thin on content, showing mostly ads or affiliate links, or that otherwise redirect visitors away to other sites quickly tend not to rank well. Your content should be easy to navigate, rich and engaging to the visitor, and provide them the information they seek.”
Generally, Bing values in-depth, unique, long, and engaging content, so focus on producing useful, well-presented content aimed at helping your target audience.
9. Step Up Your Social Media Efforts
While it’s still unclear whether social signals directly impact your search rankings with Google, Bing offers more clarity. If your content has a high number of shares, likes, and retweets, Bing notices. According to Bing, “These positive signals can have an impact on how you rank organically in the long run.”
From this statement, we can see that it pays off to build your following on social media channels. By actively participating in social conversations, you’ll naturally build brand credibility which will encourage audience engagement. And the stronger your social signals, the higher you’ll rank in Bing search results. Consider using content analytics tools to monitor brand mentions, keywords, hashtags, and more.
10. Emphasize Local Details
When it comes to local search results, Bing tends to show more small businesses than Google, which favors more established companies. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, make sure Bing knows about it. Include location-specific pages on your website and claim your free business listing with Bing Places for Business.
Make sure your company information is up-to-date and uses the same name, address, and phone number as your Google My Business listing. Also, make sure you’re listed on local directories such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Foursquare to help Bing index your website correctly.
The Biggest Differences Between Bing and Google
So, if you’ve been focusing mostly on Google, here are few key differences with how Bing rankings work:
1. Page Authority
Unlike Google, Bing favors older, more established websites over newer ones, using ranking factors based on history and reputation. Backlinks are also a less important factor than they are for Google. So, if you own an older domain, your Bing results will already have an edge.
2. Keyword Optimization
While Google has become better at understanding the context of search queries, Bing still relies more on keyword positioning and exact-match keywords. Accordingly, onsite optimization and keywords in title tags are more important for Bing. Be careful though – using too many exact-match keywords could harm your Google rankings.
3. User Engagement
A key ranking factor for Bing is user engagement. One way they determine this is by measuring “pogo sticking,” which is when someone clicks on a search result and then quickly clicks back to the search results page. To reduce pogo sticking, make sure your landing page content is relevant to search queries, your pages load quickly and your page design is user-friendly.
4. Social Signals
Most experts agree that Bing relies more on social signals than Google. They even embed Facebook and Twitter posts directly in search results. This makes developing your social media strategy crucial for Bing optimization.
5. Local Search
While Google focuses more on returning popular results, Bing is more likely to favor local results. Make sure your content is mobile-friendly and optimized for local search. And remember to claim your listing on Bing Places for Business!
Bing Webmaster Tools Vs. Google Search Console
Although Bing and Google offer similar SEO tools for search marketers, there are some advantages to using Bing Webmaster Tools:
- Bing’s dashboard provides a wider variety of data regarding your website, such as page errors, pages crawled, pages indexed, search keywords and inbound links.
- Bing’s keyword research tool is the only search engine tool based on organic keyword data.
- Bing Webmaster Tools generates automatic SEO reports every two weeks, offering insights into SEO best practices and recommendations to improve your search rankings.
To maximize your marketing potential, submit your website to both Google and Bing. This way, you’ll have access to more data and get a clearer picture of your overall organic search performance.
Have You Invested in Bing SEO?
Ultimately, high-quality content, a user-friendly website, keyword optimization, and organic link building will help you rank higher in Google and Bing. However, if you only focus on Google when optimizing content, you could be missing out. Google may serve a majority of internet users, but the competition is great and improving your search rankings can be a struggle.
This is why an increasing number of marketers are taking Bing seriously when it comes to planning content and SEO strategies. With a growing search market share, Bing can give businesses valuable access to a whole new source of online traffic.
Hopefully, this guide is a good starting point to develop and improve your search engine visibility on the second largest search engine. So don’t focus exclusively on Google when you could see better results by optimizing for Bing.