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SEO for Bing Versus Google

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SEO for Bing Versus Google

As we all know, Microsoft’s Bing is the new kid on the search engine block. However, with high profile ad campaigns, a deal to power the rejuvenated Yahoo! search and some recent bad publicity for Google, Bing now finds itself powering nearly 30% of the search market share[1] (if you consider Yahoo! search). Not bad considering it was launched just a little over a year ago.

Since Bing’s launch in June 2009, SEO experts all around the world have been testing away and pouring over the new algorithm in an effort to understand how it works, what the ranking factors are, and what carries most weight.

As Bing continues to gain search engine market share, it becomes even more important to find out how Bing works.

Whether you’re a site owner wanting to fare better on Bing, or a web developer or web designer working with the marketing team of a project — this quick guide will get you up to speed on things you should know for optimizing your sites for Bing.

Official Resources for Bing SEO

Firstly, in the year since the launch, Bing has developed a great online community with blogs and forums for many subjects, including SEO. Check out the official Bing blogs for updates regarding the search engine, and the Bing forums to connect with people interested in the topic.

Bing Webmaster Tools

Besides a burgeoning online community, Bing recently launched Bing Webmaster Tools, a toolset based on Google Webmaster Tools. Whilst including some interesting extra features and metrics such as a more polished interface and the "Audience Intelligence" metrics that predicts your site’s demographics, Bing’s Webmaster Tools demonstrates that it is a more evolved toolkit for site owners.

Bing Webmaster Tools

Bing SEO versus Google SEO

The first thing to note is that Bing and Google are actually different. We can see this visually with a handy, little tool called Bingle. Bingle lets you compare the results for a certain search term side by side so you can see the differences in search engine results.

For example, on the image below, under a search for the term "Six Revisions", the homepage of the site comes up on top on both search engines because it has a high page rank, exact match domain and lots of inbound links — but from there on out, the results differ.

Bing SEO versus Google SEO

This isn’t really surprising because search engines are very secretive about their algorithms, so they are bound to differ.

Tests by SEO engineers all around the world have come to a few conclusions about what causes these differences in search engine results, some of which are discussed below.

Backlinks Are Less Important in Bing

Comparisons between backlinks (how many links point to a web page) have shown that, all being equal, the top ten search engine results in Bing have fewer backlinks than in Google.

PageRank Matters Less in Bing

PageRank, Google’s algorithm that places a number relative to a web page’s search engine results strength, have shown that PageRank2 (or even PR1) sites regularly appear in the top ten results on Bing, whilst this almost never happens on competitive phrases in Google.

But then it does make sense that a Google-patented page-ranking method would carry less weight with Microsoft’s Bing.

Fresh Content Matters Less in Bing

As Google has only recently introduced the Caffeine update that rewards fresh content with better search engine rankings, it would follow that Bing doesn’t quite have the speed of indexing that Google is up to, making fresh content a less relevant factor.

Bing is More Flash Content Friendly

It appears that web pages created with Flash fares better on Bing. On the other end of the spectrum, Google hates Flash.

Inbound Anchor Text Matters More in Bing

A factor common to both major search engines, anchor text (the text inside the <a> tags; i.e., <a>This is the anchor text</a>) from quality sources seems to be a large factor with Bing; more so than with Google.

A strange phenomenon here seems to be that Bing puts more emphasis on anchor text links that have the linking phrase in the title of the page.

For example, if your page title is:

<head>
<title>I love cats</title>
</head>

And the backlink to that page is:

<a href="http://example.com">Cats love</a>

Then Bing gives more weight to that backlink.

Page Authority Matters More in Bing

Page authority is given to top-level domains (TLD) of authoritative organizations (e.g. .edu, .gov, .ac.uk, etc.). Page authority is also determined by the age of the domain. Domain age seems to be a large factor on Bing.

Some SEO Tools for Bing

So with all these factors in mind, there are a couple other tools I would like to suggest to help you with your Bing optimization.

Internet Information Services (IIS) SEO Toolkit

The Internet Information Services SEO Toolkit is a nifty toolkit released by Microsoft that helps you improve your site from an SEO point of view, and therefore, by logic improves its Bing ranking. It includes site analysis, robots.txt exclusion, sitemaps, site index functions and many other handy bits. It is a comprehensive and detailed toolkit for sorting out your site.

Internet Information Services (IIS) SEO Toolkit

Bing Keyword Tool

Google’s Keyword Tool — which has now been replaced by Google AdWords Keyword Planner — is a widely used search-engine-specific keyword checker, but now WordStream has released a Bing-centered version that helps you uncover new and different keywords. This tool is free.

Bing Keyword Tool

Bing Keyword Tool

Summary

So, to conclude, as Bing is still really in its infancy, we’ve yet to see the developments that will make it really different to Google. Some findings have started to emerge now, but it will take several more years and a further gain in search engine market share before anyone really has to consider optimizing sites specifically for Bing.

At the moment, as Google has been tweaking their algorithm for more than a decade, theirs is far more discerning and advanced because they’ve had more time to develop and tweak it. Therefore, if you have a site with good copy, appropriate keyword density, good PageRank and lots of quality inbound links that already ranks well in Google, it will almost certainly rank well in Bing as well.

As highlighted above, there are ways to make your site rank better in Bing if needed, but it seems, as it stands, that the idea of creating another page specifically for Bing is not a good use of your time. The main principles of SEO are the same for all the big search engines, as are the no-no’s. Keyword-stuffing, paid link schemes, link farms and other black hat SEO techniques will get you punished in the same way all across the board, but if you want to undertake small tweaks to make your site rank better in a particular engine, there is no reason not to go for it.

References

  1. Bing’s Market Share Up 51% In Past 12 Months. searchengineland.com.

Update (February 27, 2014): A reader informed us that Google’s Keyword Tool has been replaced by Google AdWords Keyword Planner so we updated this post to reflect that fact.

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About the Author

John Pring is Head of Content Creation at Designbysoap Ltd, specialists in infographic design and data visualization. He also runs the site HTML5 Infographics. Follow him on Twitter @designbysoap.

This was published on Oct 23, 2010

55 Comments

Lou U Oct 23 2010

John, GREAT post. I’ll admit I focus primarily on Google when SEOing a client’s site. The information you provide will be very helpful going forward in applying a more balanced approach. Thanks!

Hunter Oct 23 2010

Bing also takes longer to index pages, after you submit a sitemap. I think domain age is a big factor on Bing. I did not know about the seo tool kit, I am going to check it out. Thanks!

Excellent article, been looking for more information on SEO with regards to bing.

Gouthaman Karunakaran Oct 23 2010

Interesting. I’ve never been exposed to SEO from Bing’s point of view.

Tiyo Kamtiyono Oct 23 2010

Thanks for the information, just want to try the webmaster tool, and minimally add my new site so it could be indexed better :D

Great article, maybe it is time to get more focus on Bing.

Ken Lyons Oct 23 2010

Hey, John.

Just an FYI that the WordStream “bing centered” keyword tool you referenced in your post is actually free, hence the name: The Free Keyword Tool.

Cheers!
Ken Lyons
WordStream.

Cookie Oct 23 2010

Thanks for that, i think it is gettin’ more and more important to optimize for bing as well as for google. bing’s integration of social network relevant content in the serps brought bing a big push! regards. cookie.

Very interesting article John, well done and thank you!

Haris Krijestorac Oct 23 2010

Also according to recent correlation analysis research by SEOmoz, Bing credits keywords in domain name more than google.

So if you’re trying to rank for ‘used cars’, having the domain usedcars.com will help you rank for that keyword phrase more so in Bing than in Google.

Affan Oct 23 2010

a really good comparisons. now I knew

Jacob Gube Oct 23 2010

@Ken Lyons: Updated. Thanks.

jsbdoe Oct 23 2010

bing is also ranking sites with higher ip popularity (very) better than google does.

Thank you

I see that to promote this article’s usefulness you need to puff up Bing’s importance by using lesser used resources to claim 30% usage of bing though no other service shows that. And being around only a year, they got there by buying their way in and not through merit as google has. Kind of like a Yankee pennant.

The truth is, to be successful, spend your time on google search. big is a waste of everyone’s time, including users as shown by the poor results bing gives according to this article.

Stuart Conover Oct 24 2010

Wow.. thanks for the great post! I actually didn’t know that Bing had launched a Bing Webmaster Tools so just spent about an hour getting all of my sites added into it. With it having 30% of the market share and nowhere near 30% of my traffic from search engines I think I’m going to have to do a little more research…

Betsy Oct 24 2010

I’ve been wondering for a while about whether or not seo experts have felt it was worth their time to optimize for Bing specifically or have been sticking with Google as their standard for page rank progress. It’s good to know that there are now tools available for optimizing specifically for Bing, though it still doesn’t seem entirely necessary.

Thanks for the article, great read

Global_1981 Oct 24 2010

Kinda sounded like a Bing puff piece… 30% market share? That seems a bit high to me, and a “burgeoning” online community and Bing “continues to gain” search engine market share…. paaaaalease… Bing is another innovative-less Microsoft attempt to duplicate what has already succeeded (i.e. in this case Google)

Richard Kotze Oct 24 2010

Awesome articles, good to know that there is a Bing Web Master Tools. – I think more articles should be written about Bing its a pretty neat search engine and provides fairly good competition in the SE World.

Chuck Rowland Oct 24 2010

Good report John, especially as it is linked directly from Google’s own Blog. I am officially a fan. With the emphasis being on local relevant results, having a location name in a url along with the product or service keyword also there should make that site most relevant and therefore number 1.

Of course it doesn’t follow so all the other 200 plus elements of a search engine algorithm need to be catered for. Bing or Google search engine matters not just get the basics right. Oh and make sure your page loads quick enough for Google.

Smilla Oct 25 2010

John, great post, very interesting. Thank you.

SEO Brighton Oct 25 2010

I suppose its about time us SEO’s did take Bing a little more seriously but they still have a long way to go yet?!? Specifically optimising a page for Bing is a complete waste of time. Get it right for Google and it will be right for Bing! Optimise for search in general and searchers not for a specific search engine.

Hello and Thanks for the great post!
I have been working on a website since 3 months now. It has started ranking excellent from nowhere to high rankings for its keywords due to optimization. But nothing is happening with Bing neither with Yahoo. Can you or anyone here help me analyze the reason behind this. Site is already getting indexed by both.
Thnx,
GS

Nice article.
But where do the 30% market share come from?
First I thought there´s a huge difference between the US and Europe. But actually, I haven´t read anything about 30%. A share of 3-5% is would be realistic.

So in this case, Bing ist a waste of time.

Though I still use Google, Bing does have alot of neat stuff that google doesn’t. Great article!

Thank you for all informations. I think i will use the Webmaster tools from bing.

Andy @ FirstFound Oct 25 2010

Cheers for this. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again that people ignore Bing at their peril.

I don’t think you’ve “puffed up” the importance at all.

Shaun Sadree Oct 25 2010

great article about SEO!

The fount Oct 26 2010

One thing to be said for google’s dominance – there’s only one product to focus on for SEO. If Bing really takes off SEO will get a lot more interesting, and it’s too interesting already!

Torsten Oct 26 2010

I’ve found out that there must be a .biz-filter in Bing, see my blogpost at http://www.webanalyser.de/?p=468 (german)

elinix Oct 27 2010

I like the bing webmaster tools. Thanks for the post.

sonny Oct 27 2010

Very informative, i’d definitely read between the lines and cover all the info you shared. im using also the iis toolkit and its a great tool on onpage seo. the keyword tool you mentioned is something new to me. thanks for sharing.

I love the write up…surely Bing is going high..

Ashlie Oct 27 2010

Liked the post. Great info, it is always good to stay up on other search engines SEO tactics. I agree that Bing isn’t big enough to completely focus on it where as Google has a huge market share. Although, I do have to admit that I have been turning to Bing some more lately as I keep seeing their ads. I’m sure I’m not the only one and their market will increase. We will just have to watch it and input some of the Bing specific SEO to increase ranking there.

hafizmd Oct 28 2010

Really good point of view here. I never heard about almost of points above. So, still looking forward of the Bing specific SEO.

Thanks for this great article.

Amazon Instant Oct 29 2010

Eventhough I get Bing traffic to my blogs & websites, I was not much interested in optimizing for Bing. I think it is wise to read this article carefully to the end several times.

Kenn Lee Oct 30 2010

Thank you very much!i love this post!

Agent SEO Nov 01 2010

Interesting post. I’ve definitely seen a pretty significant difference in the way that Bing & Google treat websites.

I wonder just how the some of the experts performed their testing? It would be interesting to see those results as well, aside from just the conclusions in order to see the statistical correlations.

Christian Nov 23 2010

To those who criticize this article as a Bing puff piece because it gives Bing a 30% market share, it should be noted again that Bing powers that engine. So when you use Yahoo! you are really using Bing and all of the formulaic nuance that comes with it. Therefore it is perfectly fair to assign that bit of the market to Bing.

Further, to those who additionally claim that using any other engine is a complete waste of time because Bing’s results are “poor”. Where are your examples?

Google is not the be all and end all of search. Because they do it well, does not mean others should not or even put up an effort. It would be like saying 50 years ago: “Well McDonald’s makes a good hamburger, therefore it is a waste of time for Burger King to even get started.”

Yes Google is good and its engine has added alot to the pie and will continue to leave that legacy. But, as search professionals and searchers we cannot be serfs to some kind of Google overlord.

Competition is good for everyone. I don’t understand this devotion to Google, however.

Pulsa Murah Dec 01 2010

Thank you very much for this post…

geo..but Jan 18 2011

Why do i get sucked into Bing…I find something that interests me in their box of current topics, click it and end up with another example of Bing’s case of the cutes…teasing questions, articles said to be loading but never do, or land in a google land of choices..but which choice will give the information about the topic I was interested in reading. Come on, if I wanted a puzzle I would have picked up the New York Times.

steve Feb 24 2011

John,

Very helpful tips I read here and a few I have yet to see online.

Thanks

Now i know

Thanks for this great article.

Great article, I wasn’t aware of the Bingle tool but it is very useful.

Great post.. hopefully Bing will not change the goal post as often as google.

Thanks for very useful informations. I am trying to do SEO for other search engine since google always keep my site on their sandbox so need traffic from other ways.

FarrDesign Apr 06 2011

Statcounter.com says Google is still 90%.

????

Mohd Rohaizad Apr 21 2011

Great post with technical tips. Thanks for the info about how bing indexed the website. Well I’m still struggling to place my blog in bing search engine. Hopefully I’ll be success.

I don’t think that bing will ever go on top of google, because as you said in your article google is the biggest search engine. I tried putting my site on bing and on google but i have recived few results from bing.
Thanks for this articole! Very helpful!

Chris QUinn Jul 14 2011

Love the article. A little outdated but still showing up in the search engines. It’s good to know that Bing, Google and Yahoo do have different algorithms. I’ve come to realize that each search engine is good for searching for different things. For instance, Yahoo has better search results for local searches…just my opinion.

peace Jul 29 2011

In my opinion bing is much better as a search engine as for a normal user it hardly matters that a post was indexed in how much time but what matters is the content quality. If you search something on bing it will take you to a good quality links but in Google’s case it even takes you to one line blogs with backlinks as well. When it comes to penalization google axes complete website as spammy where it should remove the links only. On the other hand Bing has done great in case of removing unwanted links. It does not matter to Bing that a website is ranked good or not but it matters a lot for them that what content that website has got in a particular search. Google pays more attention on the page rank of domain name even it may contain junk!

Al Broadman Aug 13 2011

For those of you who still doubt that Bing is growing, you need to look at some recent statistics. Bing and Yahoo combined are very close to the 30% mark in the middle of 2011.

What does this mean for Goggle……? I leave that question up to you to answer.

Chuck Rowland Oct 03 2011

Almost a year and the link from this article is part of an effective link strategy which is helping to keep my website at page1 position1 of Google and Bing as well as AOL. Thanks for the great link.

tonyhanhn Oct 11 2011

Now i know SEO Bing and google
TKs

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