How would it be if search engine optimization was so simple? You try hard to optimize various elements on your website with the aim to rank on Google. Agreed that Google controls the vast majority of online searches but does everyone search only on Google?
This brings us to the main question – Should we think of optimizing our website for other search engines like Bing and Yahoo?
How would you feel if your optimization efforts work well for Google, Bing and Yahoo at the same time? Fantastic eh…
Comscore's search engine rankings show that Bing receives 17% of searches in the U.S as of April 2013. This number may not sound high enough, but the percentage has been growing over the years.
Below is the graph provided by Quantcast that shows the visitors from the U.S on Bing are steadily increasing.
Below chart shows the average demographics of people using Bing -
Following are a few ways that we must consider to optimize our website so that we can rank on Bing also -
Disclaimer: All the points mentioned below are my views pinned down after researching on one of our client’s website. If just tweaking your present optimization elements a bit can work wonders for you, then you should definitely give it a try!
- Flash: While Google is fairly hostile to Flash, Bing doesn't mind a flash-heavy site. If a website has a lot of Flash, there is high chance of it ranking on Bing provided it is well optimized with the proper on-page optimization elements.
- Backlinks: Linking has always been a very important ranking factor in the search engine optimization field. While chalking out strategies to work on Bing, one must pay more attention to building backlinks from highly relevant websites as Bing adores quality inbound links and gives a bit more weight to it than the other search engines do.
Site structure: Another important factor that Bing pays attention to is the site structure, or the layout of pages and the way they are interlinked. This principle is common to all search engines, and if you think about it, how could it not be? A website which is easily crawlable by the search engines is usually easily navigated by the user as well.
Hence it becomes very user friendly for both the user and the search engine. All search engines favor clean, easy-to-navigate architecture, fast-loading pages, and easy-to-follow links.
- Inbound anchor text matters more: The number of quality inbound links might be of less importance for Bing but the anchor text certainly matters more. We must try using quality anchor text to rank well on Bing.
- Authority of the site: Bing pays more attention to the authority of the website. It is really sad for bloggers and small sites, because it means that search results are skewed in favor of older sites and/or sites of authoritative organizations. We are aware by now how important age is to Google, and Bing feels even more strongly about it. This is not to say that they completely ignore a newer domain name but generally the rankings are low.
- PR matters less: On Bing, if you try performing a search for a competitive keyword – you would observe PR1 and PR2 websites among the top 10 results. This implies that even a low PR website can rank on the first page on Bing whereas it is very difficult to see such scenarios on Google.
- Fresh content matters less: If we carefully observe, we can see that Bing is a bit conservative regarding content. Fresh content to Bing is not as vital as it is to Google. This can also be related to domain age since older pages rank higher than the newer pages in Bing. According to SEO experts – longer blog posts, more content on web pages and longer articles would matter more to Bing.
- Algorithmic complexity: This would definitely be good news to those who constantly fear either a Penguin or Panda attack. Bing's algorithm is not as complex as Google’s. With Bing, there will be no frequent update in algorithms and even if any, there is a long way for Bing to come in comparison with Google's algorithmic updates. So for now at least, a good ranking can be achieved more easily on Bing than on Google.
- Crawability: Bing takes longer to crawl websites than Google probably because Bing as of now is not as advanced as Google. Hence it takes longer for changes made on the pages indexed by Bing to affect rankings. The result being that you may have to wait a while to see the impact of your Bing specific optimization efforts.
- Maintain a balance between SEO for Bing and for Google: Although, a lot of grey hat techniques still do work for Bing even today, it is very important to keep in mind that we have only one website and that Google and Bing will both consider the same content. For the same reason, we should avoid going overboard with the techniques that still may work for Bing, but not for Google. Excessive use of these techniques – including keyword stuffing or over-optimizing your backlink anchor text could trigger Google penalties.
So, what we understand by all this is overall Bing is similar to Google in how they rank pages. The search volumes and competition of keywords in Bing is not as extensive as Google.
In order to rank well on SERP's, we must continue maintaining hygiene by optimizing the on-page SEO elements namely page titles, meta descriptions, meta keywords, URL structure, headings and alt tags for images. ☺
It takes time to get noticed and make an impact on rankings.
Let's conclude by making ourselves happy hearing this news – once we have optimized for Bing, we have also optimized for Yahoo! Yes, Yahoo results are powered by Bing!! This implies, if we are optimizing for Google first and Bing second, our third-search engine is pretty damn simple.
The Point: Search Engine Optimization on a website should not be only Google oriented. You can make Google your priority – but there's no harm tracking the results of Bing-Yahoo optimization for a few months as well and judge the benefits.
All images were sourced from Google. Big thanks to the owners of all these wonderful images.