When thinking about SEO Google is usually one of the terms that comes to mind. This is totally understandable because Google is the most powerful and influential search engine in the world and it is very important that you are ranking as high as possible in this search engine.
Most of your SEO tactics and strategies are put in place in order to meet the certain needs of Google. However, this type of thinking could be very detrimental to your SEO campaign. You should broaden your horizon and also think about how the search engine Bing could benefit your SEO.
Your Guide to Bing
Bing is the second most used search engine (behind Google obviously) and can present some real benefits to your business. When marketers think of SEO they think of Google, this therefore means that there will be less competition on Bing.
Even though Bing is not the first search engine to come to mind, they still have a reasonable market share, especially in the US where it sits at around 21%. Bing also is the operator of Yahoo search which allows for a more exclusive audience.
There also tends to be a lower bounce rate for the traffic on Bing. Many top marketers, including Matthew Woodward, believe that the traffic from Bing is actually of higher quality than Google. As well as this, the visitors from Bing actually viewed more pages and clicked on more links then those visitors from Google. Visitors from Bing also tended to actually stay longer on any given website.
If you are starting to think about Bing and getting worried that you would have to use completely different SEO tactics then that developed for Google, this is completely understandable.
But actually you don’t, even though the two search engines have different algorithms; your techniques are likely to remain the same. Although with Bing it’s even better because they are a lot less secretive about their ranking factors than Google is!
The Big Bing
This is a term used to describe the recent shift from Google to Bing (and Yahoo Search). In late 2014 Mozilla released a new version of the Firefox browser. In this update it changed the default search engine to Yahoo (which as I have said before is actually powered by Bing).
This created significant changes to the amount of search enquires and therefore ‘The Big Bing’ was created. In less than 24 hours of this update Google’s usage dropped about 20% (and Yahoo increased by 20%). This is huge for the search engine giant especially because obliviously not everyone had updated their Firefox on the first day, so the impact of this switch was felt for many months to come.
What makes Bing so Special?
The times are truly changing and if you want to have the best search engine optimisation campaign you will need to understand the required changes and adapt as quickly as possible. For as long as SEO has been around, Google has been the focus. For decades Google has attracted all of the attention from marketers. However, these days, competition between search engines has never been so fierce and there is a clear trend showing that other search engines are making some ground against the search engine giant.
But what does this have to do with Bing being so special?
Well, it is because of the reason that no one likes change that most people will stick to what they know (which is Google). Therefore, there is not as much competition. Everyone seems to be focussing solely on Google and trying to be the best on Google and they are simply wasting too much of their resources.
You should now split your focus because even though you may rank highly on Google, this doesn’t automatically translate to a high ranking on Bing as well. But there is less competition, meaning even if you don’t put all your resources into Bing, you should still be able to have a fairly high ranking.
Simple Guide to using Bing
So with all this information about just how great Bing is and how beneficial it could be to your website, you probably want to hop on board the Bing train, right? Well you should want to, and below are some simple points that you can follow to ensure you are putting your best foot forward for the best possible results on Bing.
1. Make use of the free resources and tools
Bing has on offer a large array of free resources for you to use. It is recommended that you take advantage of these tools and resources to better understand how Bing works. Bing offers a lot more in terms of resources and tools for their users than Google. They want to make things less complicated as possible! So below is a short list of the most useful resources and tools on offer from Bing, they offer a lot more free resources and tools that you should go exploring for if you ever get the chance!
When venturing into something new it is always important to have a read of the rules or guidelines (if available). So, to get yourself up to speed with how to use Bing and get the most out of it you should definitely have a read of their guidelines.
I have read both Google’s and Bing’s guidelines and I can say with certainty that the Bing guidelines are much easier to read and a lot less complicated than that of Google’s.
This is probably one of my favourite tools! This analyser helps you determine quickly if your website is following the best practice in terms of Bing SEO. All you have to do is enter your website’s URL and the analyser will actually give you a list of relevant improvement suggestions for your ranking.
You should definitely setup your website for this tool if you haven’t already (and have a little play around with it) because the benefits are huge. With this tool you have the ability to see the keywords you are ranking for, it will assist in diagnosing problems on your website, and so much more!
2. Exact keyword usage is important
The use of exact keywords is not only important in your Heading 1 and Heading 2 title tags, but also your meta description as well.
Exact keyword usage will assist with your Bing ranking because, unlike Google, Bing puts high emphasis on this as opposed to your websites content etc.
With Bing it is therefore important that you spend a lot of time developing the best keywords for your website and you must ensure you are completely confident with your choices.
Usually, when using exact keywords in your alt tag or meta title and description it can come off looking a bit forced or unnatural. This isn’t typically a problem for the search engine, but it is quite obvious for visitors and can make it difficult for them to read or understand. Therefore, you should always endeavour to place your keywords naturally to ensure a better flow.
3. Produce quality content for your website
For Bing, you will need to create highly unique and thoroughly engaging content that the reader will love. This means that you will need to take the time to understand and develop content that your audience will actually want to read. You should steer clear of keyword stuffing in your content. As in point 2, you should place your keywords in natural positions in order to allow a better flow of your content.
In one of the blogs written by Bing it explains that there are 3 pillars you must follow in order to achieve content of high quality. The 3 pillars are:
- Authority – can the content be trusted? i.e. you will need to clearly explain where you sources your information as well as mentioning the author
- Utility – is the content useful to readers? i.e. provide lots of details and ensure the information is relevant to your business
- Presentation – is the content presented in an easy to follow way? i.e. ensure your formatting is neat and clear, don’t used colours or a font that makes it difficult to read
As well as the 3 pillars, Bing also places focus on appearance and functionality of a website for the users.
By doing this you should ensure that the general flow of your website makes sense and everything is in the right place (i.e. call to action buttons are highly visible).
You should also try to include as many pictures, videos, etc. as possible to improve the appearance of your website and help to break up the text.
Top Ranking Factors for Bing
As said before, Bing is a lot more open about its ranking factors compared to Google. So, listed below are a few of the important ranking factors for Bing. These ranking factors show just how different Google and Bing actually are. Hopefully these factors will assist in boosting your ranking position on Bing even faster!
1. Social Signals
Social signals are certainly a very important ranking factor for Bing, although there is a lot of debate to whether they actually impact search rankings (especially for Google). Well they do! And you should stop debating about it and actually make social media signals a part of your SEO strategy.
Bing has recently explained that they are using social signals, in particular social shares, in order to develop a better understand if a particular webpage is popular and relevant. This therefore means Bing will get positive signals if your content is constantly being shared.
The better your social signals, the more you will be seen as a social influencer and these days where social media is so important for many businesses, being seen as a social influencer will come with many benefits.
2. User engagement
User engagement is probably one of the most important and strongest signals and ensuring a strong user engagement will do wonders for your ranking in Bing.
Bing measures user engagement by assessing how many users are ‘pogo sticking’ on your website.
This is referred to when a user clicks on your website and then immediately clicks back, returning to the search results page.
If a lot of users are ‘pogo sticking’ on your website then this shows Bing that your website is not engaging well with your audience. However, the flip side is that if people visit your website and do not return to the search page, this gives Bing the indication that users are engaging on your page. This will result in a higher ranking for your website.
3. Click through rate
The click through rate is important for Bing. It measures this rate from the search result pages and then uses the data from the results with user engagement data (from point 2) to ensure the results are continually improving.
So, for example, (all other factors being equal) – if your competitors website has position one and achieves a 15% click through rate, but your website in position 2 gets a 30% click through rate, this gives Bing a clear indication that your website is actually much more relevant in terms of the particular search enquiry made by a user.
Bing and Google aren’t actually that different which means that you do not have to develop a different SEO strategy for each of the search engines. However, if you are not focusing on Bing at all, then you are probably missing out.
Research suggests that Bing (and other search engines for that matter) is making significant improvements against Google. Many businesses and marketers seem to focus solely on Google which is good for your business because this means that there is less competition for you to deal with on Bing, giving you a better chance of ranking higher.
There are many advantages of using Bing, one of the major ones being the awesome free resources and tools.
The sheer amount of free resources by Bing is unlike anything else by other search engines. You should take full advantage of these tools on offer to assist in the improvement of any mistakes or other faults on your website.
Bing is much more open in terms of their ranking factors compared with Google. Therefore you should know and fully understand these factors to take advantages of the openness of Bing!
Sarah is the head of guest posts outreach and an SEO expert. Her interests are search engine optimisation, social media and brand management.