Making the Most of Bing: When Google Isn’t the Only Search Engine in Your Sights

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Google remains the giant among search engines, but Yahoo and Bing are gaining in popularity, especially in some demographics. For older computer users who buy plug-and-play desktop systems, the easy accessibility of Bing has made it an increasingly popular option, but the Microsoft-owned search engine has something else in its favor: it’s optimized for social media. As the new kid on the block, Bing is ready to take advantage of sweeping changes in search engine ranking factors while its older competitors have had to retro-fit to take social media data into account.

The Searchengineland blog features the latest in SEO news; they and SearchMetrics uncovered key details about how Bing assigns rankings. If you’re building an SEO strategy that takes all search engines, not just Google, into account – and you should – then understanding the subtle differences between them is vital.

Bing vs. Google SEO: Similarities

Some fundamental SEO concepts are useful across the board. Whether you’re aiming for Google, Bing or Yahoo influence, suggest the SearchMetrics findings, pay attention to these quality signals.

– Top brands are at the top of search engine pages too. Whether you sell athletic shoes or art supplies, it helps to be at the forefront of your industry. Being a part of a major brand is highly correlated with top rankings on both Google and Bing.

– Social signals matter. Bing, like Google and Yahoo, now pays more attention to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest traffic. Note that earning +1 ratings from Google+ users is also highly correlated with page-topping Bing results. Of course, correlation doesn’t always mean causation; Bing doesn’t necessarily use Google’s data directly, but the same social signals that assign high value to sites in Google results also earn respect from Bing.

– Quality content moves ratings higher. Interrelated, highly relevant keywords are a staple of sound SEO, and Bing finds them as attractive as Google. That regard for quality – original, information-rich content that’s grammatically correct and relevant to a site’s other subject matter – applies to everything from social media channels to YouTube clips to static site content to blog posts.

Where Bing and Google Differ

Searchengineland discovered some meaningful differences between competing search engines – differences that your content creation crew can use when applying a finer focus to your intended audience.

– Bing relies more heavily on “proof keywords” than on “relevant keywords,” according to the data. To understand the difference between them, think of proof keywords as individual road signs for a specific sightseeing destination and relevant keywords as billboards for a group of related attractions. The relevant keywords Google looks for typically contain proof keywords as well, but Google pays more attention to an overall impression than its competitor.

– Backlinks matter more to Bing. Google tends to be cautious about backlinks and natural link profiles; Bing is more lenient about backlinking strategies and more accepting of ideally optimized links with no stop-words such as “in” or “of.”

– Bing doesn’t consider a picture worth a thousand words. Google judges websites by their images as well as their text and rates well-chosen site graphics, relevant pictures and other correlative content highly. By contrast, Bing gives little weight to images used on the site. However, the names and captions you give those images are important.

Sound SEO fundamentals can stand a static site or blog in good stead for all search engines, but speaking directly to Bing users by understanding how the search engine performs its magic will secure a larger share of a more focused market.

View chart of Bing ranking factors by SearchMetrics

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