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Should You Be Optimizing for Bing?
We don’t live in a one search engine world, although when you review your website traffic data, it can sometimes feel that way. Nobody talks about Bing—except for Bing. And I guess SEO people. And maybe people that only have one finger and find it easier to type “bing.com” instead of “google.com” because it’s two less letters. I don’t need to tell you that much of our interwebbing is Google-dominated. G-mail, Google Talk, Google Analytics, Google Maps, Google Adwords. We use Google for pretty much everything. Except social networking, no matter how hard Google + keeps trying. You just keep scraping along, Google+. You just keep scraping along.
In fact, I’m surprised Google hasn’t crawled out of our computer screens creepy-girl-from-The-Ring-style and started interjecting itself into our non-internet activities. Seagrams should make a Google-flavored gin. We’ll call it GinOOGLE. It will taste like money. And I’ve gotten plenty of “Let Me Google That For You” links from people, but I can’t say I’ve ever received a “Let Me Bing That For You” response—despite the fact that such a service actually exists (I actually had to check just now to see if it actually exists because really, who the hell uses Bing?)
Speaking of Google interjecting itself into our non-internet activities, check this video out:
But seriously, some people actually DO use Bing (and their money is green too). Something like 30 percent of search engine users. Which means that if you’re not optimizing for Bing, you’re probably missing out. Especially since, according to Bing, it’s easier to get ranked high in Bing because most people focus on optimizing for Google. And with Bing’s integration in the Windows 8 and Windows Phone, it’s very likely that Bing-use will rise in the near future.
How to Optimize Your Website for Bing
Google and Bing are very similar in their site ranking—similar enough that you probably don’t have to worry about making an extra website specifically targeted to rank well in Bing. But if they’re really so similar, why are the results so different? Prospective clients ask us all the time, “why are my rankings on Bing so much lower than on Google?” If I Google “liquor stores Maryland” I get much different results than if I Bing “liquor stores Maryland.” Not that I tried. Ok maybe I did. It’s almost 5 o’clock, so let’s keep our judgments to ourselves.
Here’s the skinny—while Google and Bing care about pretty much about the same ranking signals, the websites weigh these factors a lot differently. For example, while both search engines care about backlinking, Google cares more about the number of backlinks while Bing places a lot of emphasis on the authority of the backlinks—think TLD (.gov, edu and .org) backlinks. Additionally, it helps to keep in mind that Bing’s search algorithm is less complex than Google’s search algorithm. This is important because it makes Bing more susceptible to spam, which Bing completely understands and attempts to counter. For example, Bing weighs domain age more heavily than Google does because domain age demonstrates credibility in a search engine’s eyes.
A few more tips to optimize your website for Bing:
- Bing likes keywords in the domain, but Bing also likes short URLs
- Bing likes TLD extensions (especially .gov, .edu, and .org)
- With Bing, link diversity matters more than on Google (this may have changed post-penguin)
- Sites that use precise anchor text tend tend to rank higher on Bing – especially when your anchor text matches the page title
- According to Search Engine Journal, Bing tends to favor sites with a lot of content
- Older domains tend to do better on Bing
- Bing prefers a site structure that goes from broad (think homepage) to specific (think product-specific landing page)
- On Bing, the authority of your backlinks matters more than the number of backlinks you have
- Bing practices social searching and cares about things like Facebook “likes”
And if you’re serious about improving your rankings in Bing, consider using Bing Webmaster Tools and Bing Ads just as you would use Google Webmaster Tools and Google Adwords for search engine optimization. You could also let me and my gang do an SEO audit of your site (don’t be scared, it will be fun)! Take care not to edit anything that would tank your Google rankings, as Google is still the most popular search engine.
GinOOGLE cocktails for everyone (except for the 30 percent of the world that uses Bing. You know what else is 30 percent? The number of obese adults in the United States. Coincidence? I think not. Actually, you know what, that probably is a coincidence.)
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