Dont forget Bing! 5 things you can do to get a head start
Bing (previously known as MSN Search) is Microsoft’s search engine which also powers the Yahoo! search engine. Over the past ten years Google has dominated the scene – so much so that its name has become synonymous with search. As a result businesses tend to overlook other search engines when discussing and devising SEO strategies.
But recent research by comScore showed that Bing’s market share (not including Yahoo!) had increased to 18% and that their searches had a higher success rate compared to Google – ie more click throughs from the results pages.
In June 2013 Apple announced that it will be dropping Google as its web search engine integrated with Siri, in favour of Bing. And Bing themselves have published favourable research where blind searches were made by 1,000 people in the UK and the results pages from Bing and Google compared and rated. 53% of people actually preferred Bing, 34% preferred Google and 13% didn’t mind. If you want to see which you prefer you can do a similar blind comparison test on Bing It On. Whatever your personal preference, it seems clear that you can’t afford to marginalise Bing anymore.
So what do you need to do to make sure your website is featured positively in the Bing results pages, as well as Google’s?
A lot of SEO strategies that you undertake will automatically improve your chance of higher listings for all search engines ie quality content, clear site structure, positive user experience, social media integration, on-page keyword optimisation, internal and organic external linking and optimised META data and URL structure.
But there a number of actions that need to be taken to ensure that your pages are indexed by Bing as well as Google:
- Submit your site URL and XML sitemap to Bing in their webmaster tools.
- Social media signals may well feature more heavily in Bing algorithms – especially Facebook. As Google is naturally aligned to its own social media pages (Google+) Bing has been able to make more connection with Facebook activity. And as Facebook has a much larger network of users than Google+ we think there is big potential here. If it is relevant for your business make sure you have active and compelling facebook pages and promotions.
- Sign your business into Bing Places. Bing results are very good for prioritising localised information so this can really improve your results ranking and you can upload photos, videos and new content. To do this you will need a Microsoft account then submit your site to Bing Places.
- ‘Rich Captions’ are Bing’s version of ‘Rich Snippets’ (see our previous blog) – HTML mark ups that improve the appearance of a listing on the SERPs. But they are dependent on you opting-in and sending Bing a product feed. You can use Bings validator tool to make sure you have everything set up properly.
- Keywords tools and PPC advertising. You may find that Bing users search for and find your site using different keywords from Google users. If you research the differences you may be able to tap into a new source of traffic and conversions using Bing’s ads keyword tool.
So, while the basics of SEO are the same, those businesses that make the effort to optimise their site for both major search engines could gain a competitive advantage in the short term. And in the longer term? If Bing becomes an even bigger player you will have a clear head start in the race for SEO success.