Bing is the sleeping giant of the SEO world.
By the end of 2018, Bing had 8.36% of the
search engine market share!
And it doesn’t look like it’s stopping any time soon.
The platform has been growing and continues to grow all around the world-
(I call this moment the “Bing Bang”. It never caught on. But I’m still trying!)
This small but significant shift in power has created a new opportunity for SEOs.
So I’m going to show you how to take advantage of that change with my Bing SEO guide.
What Will I Learn?
Is Bing SEO Traffic Valuable?
Many SEOs feel searches on Bing are not as valuable as searches on Google.
I’m not sure why this would be the case. They’re still people, right?
In my experience, they are just as valuable and even surpass Google.
I decided to dig into my own data.
Here’s what I found:
The data tells me everything I need to know.
Traffic coming from Bing:
- Has a lower bounce rate
- Visits more pages
- Spends more time on site
- Subscribes to my list more
- Clicks more affiliate links
The Great Bing SEO Advantage
The best thing about change is – people hate change.
Change pushes people out of their comfort zones and humans are wired to avoid that.
So for those willing to evolve with change there is a great opportunity here.
Since 1998 SEOs have purely focused on ranking sites in Google.
This has made Google’s search results highly competitive.
In that time Bing has been largely ignored.
And SEOs write off trying to improve their Bing rankings by saying…
“If you rank well in Google you’ll also rank well in Bing”.
But is that the case?
Well… not quite:
Their algorithms are remarkably different.
Just compare search results for the same term and you will quickly see what I mean.
It’s important to understand those key differences to take advantage of ‘The Big Bing’
(it will catch on).
Free Tools And Resources For Bing Marketers
Unlike Google, Bing are SEO friendly.
They offer a range of free tools to help you understand and use their algorithm.
#1 – Bing Webmaster Guidelines
Reading the Bing Webmaster Guidelines is the quickest way to get yourself up to speed.
You will learn all the dos and don’ts of Bing SEO.
It’s not as long/complicated as Google’s guidelines so won’t take you long to read.
#2 – Bing Webmaster Tools
The Bing Webmaster Tools is superb!
If you haven’t got your site setup there yet, do it now.
It provides an awesome suite of tools including a backlink explorer!
You can also see exactly…
- Which keywords you rank for
- How your site indexes
- Diagnose problems and much more
#3 – Bing SEO Analyzer
The Bing Website Analyzer is also a great tool to discover…
…especially if your pages are following Bing SEO best practices.
Just enter your URL and it will return a list of suggestions to improve your rankings.
#4 – Microsoft SEO Tool Kit
More of an unknown tool the free Microsoft SEO Tool Kit
This is a desktop application that spiders your website to find SEO problems.
It is very easy to use and well – it is 100% free so what is not to like!
#5 – Bing Webmaster Blog
Just like Google there is also a Bing Webmasters Blog
You should have a read through & subscribe.
Some of the posts are actually quite entertaining and often have some golden nuggets!
#6 – Bing Search Quality Blog
Imagine if Matt Cutts and the Google search quality/anti-spam team published a blog
Imagine if on that blog they shared what they’ve been trying & testing.
Their Search Quality Blog offers some amazing insights into the world of search.
#7 – Contacting The Bing Webmaster Team
Last but not least.
Perhaps one of the best tools…
Is the ability to contact the Bing webmaster team.
So if your site does have problems or gets hit for any reason.
You can easily get in touch with the team directly to work things out.
Bing Ranking Factors – The Complete Guide
So what makes Bing tick at its core?
Here is a list of the most important Bing ranking factors-
Let’s take a closer look at each of those points-
#1 – User Engagement Is Very Important
One of the strongest signals in Bing is user engagement.
They measure this through a term known as ‘pogo sticking’ which is when someone performs a search, clicks on a result and then clicks back to return to the search results.
So if lots of people visit your site from the search results and click the ‘back’ button –
This is a clear indication of poor user engagement to Bing.
However if lots of people visit your site from the search results and do not go back to them to continue searching – This is a very very strong signal.
#2 – Click Through Rates Matter
Bing also measures click-through rates from its search result pages.
They use that data combined with the user engagement data above to improve its results.
For example: (all things being equal)
If the #1 position gets a 20% click-through rate.
The #2 position gets 40% –
This is a clear indication that the #2 result is more relevant.
This means you have to write your titles and descriptions with humans in mind.
But you also need to be specific with your keyword. Think keyword based click bait.
#3 – Social Signals Do Matter
There is a lot of debate on whether social signals impact Google search rankings.
I can categorically tell you with 100% certainty – that they do.
I’ve been using them to rank consistently for the past 2 years.
I revealed exactly how at a recent conference.
So rather than getting caught up in the change debate you should be making social signals part of your SEO strategy now. They affect your rankings in both Bing AND Google.
But Bing has a much stronger reliance on social signals than Google.
You should use that to your advantage and you will see benefits in both search engines.
#4 – Bing Authorship
Google famously introduced (and then killed) Authorship allowing people to claim content they have written.
This meant Google could determine who are the true experts in any given industry. Granted they have killed Authorship for now (but are still tracking who is who via entities & schema data).
Bing also had it’s own version Authorship after they integrated Klout verified snapshots.
But Klout is now dead as well.
So instead you should take advantage of the Bing connected pages feature-
Just add all of your profiles and hit the verify button.
#5 – Backlinks Are Less Important (But Still Important)
Links aren’t held in such high regard as they are by Google.
But, they’re still playing a role in Bing SEO.
To quote a recent article from Search Engine Land:
“A Microsoft spokesperson from Bing told us, “There are a variety of factors that come into play with ranking signals, links being one of them.” They also explained that links are still a very important ranking signal, and they don’t see that changing any time soon.”
I’d recommend that you continue to build links to your site.
It will help you on the majority of search engines.
But pay close attention to Bing’s movements over the next few years.
#6 – Inbound Anchor Text Is More Important
Bing puts more emphasis on the anchor text usage than Google does.
If you want to rank for ‘Blue Widgets’ you need links that use ‘Blue Widgets’ anchor text.
Bing isn’t as good as Google at keyword matching. While Google does well with recognizing synonyms and context around a keyword, Bing needs spoon feeding.
The risk here is that over optimising your anchor text will trip the Google Penguin filter.
So the trick here is…
Make sure that the links coming from high authority sites focus on exact anchors!
While the others use a mix of anchor terms.
That will allow you rank in Bing while dodging Google Penguin.
#7 – Keyword Domains Matter
Having your keyword in your domain name will help you to rank in Bing easier.
It isn’t critical but it does help.
However Google does have a filter for exact match domain names.
So it is best to use a domain that includes your keyword but isn’t an exact match.
The only problem with that is…
#8 – Page Authority Is More Important
The other thing that you will notice when comparing Google and Bing search results – Bing doesn’t place as much weight on backlinks!
BUT: It does place weight on site authority.
It is much harder to rank a new domain in Bing than it is in Google.
Having an aged domain will give you an extra leg up across Bing’s results.
So if you have an older domain that includes your keyword – you are golden!
If you just have an older domain your still in a strong position.
Where you don’t want to be is with a brand new domain.
#9 – PageRank Is Irrelevant
PageRank is a measurement of authority created in the early days of Google. It is not as relevant as it once was and hasn’t been updated for a long time now.
However it is important to note:
Google PageRank does not seem to have any correlation with Bing SEO rankings.
#10 – Content & Keyword Density Is Important
Bing prefers sites that have lots of unique content. They place much higher value on longer more engaging content than shorter content.
You need to feed Bing the specific keyword you want your page to rank for.
It is much better to focus on 1 page per keyword with Bing.
But again be careful you don’t trip Google Panda by offering duplicate content.
Bing also tries to eliminate duplicate content at the point of indexing. Redundant content is recognized and eliminated from search result pages.
But may still be available in the index.
#11 – Site Structure & Code Is Important
Bing offer a few interesting pieces of advice around your site structure and coding.
First of all they advise that content should be organized close to the surface. In other words no content should be more than 3 clicks away from the homepage.
You should also use a broad to specific structure flow. So you might go with:
#12 – General Onsite Optimisation
Onsite optimization is similar for Bing SEO as it is to Google.
You want to make sure you use:
- Meta title
- Description tags
- Exact match keyword.
Then use the H2 and H3 tags to talk about subtopics.
It is also worth noting that sometimes Bing will swap out your meta description with your H1 tag in the search results so be creative with your headings.
Don’t just rely on exact match headings.
#13 – HTTPS Is Not Part Of Bing Ranking Factors
Google recently announced that HTTPS is now used as a ranking signal.
Although a very minor one.
Bing Lead Program Manager Vincent Wehren said that HTTPs is not a ranking factor. They don’t want to mess around with rankings based on a factor that has no real relevance.
How To Get Indexed In Bing
Recently Bing announced that instead of sitting and waiting for your page to get crawled…
You can actually submit your URL’s to its search engine for crawling and then indexing.
In the announcement they stated:
We believe that enabling this change will trigger a fundamental shift in the way that search engines, such as Bing, retrieve and are notified of new and updated content across the web.Bing
So instead of 10 URL’s a day which was the previous allowance…
You can now submit up to 10000!
Let’s take a quick look at how you submit your URL’s.
This is a very easy process – You need to use the ‘Submit URL’s’ feature that can be found within ‘Configure My Site’ section in the Webmaster Tools.
Or alternatively, you can use the ‘Submit URL API’ method.
Either way, using the new Bing submission tools means getting your sites indexed FAST.
We don’t know a whole lot about Bing’s penalties.
What we do know for sure is they are a much friendlier beast than Google.
There are certainly no crazy black and white animal updates to deal with here!
The Bing SEO Spam Filter
The Bing Index Quality team have published a few articles that are worth reading-
They show you actual case study examples with a lot of details about each update.
It is very important that you stay on top of your outbound link profile. Make sure that you are only linking to clean and related sites as Bing will punish you for this seriously.
Reciprocal linking will also get you in trouble.
If you have experience with ranking sites in Google you will know to avoid that practice.
Bing SEO spam detection methods are much further behind the times than Google’s.
How To Check If You Have A Bing Penalty
Bing makes it easy to see if your site has a penalty. Go to Bing Webmaster Tools.
Click on the ‘Summary Tool’ then look at the ‘Site Status’ section – if it shows Blocked:
Yes – your site has been penalised.
If this is the case then take a look at this post to get out of the penalty box.
Wrapping It Up
I hope now you can take Bing SEO seriously!
Check your own data and decide whether Bing SEO is worth it – It was for me!
You can use this part of the guide to start working on optimising your site for Bing SEO.
- Why Bing SEO is valuable?
- Free tools & resources
- Bing ranking factors
- Bing penalties
Do you get any traffic from Bing at the moment? If you do – how does it perform compared to Google traffic?