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 Traffic from Bing Valuable?
Many site owners feel mobile and desktop searches on Bing and Yahoo 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.
Incoming traffic has:
- 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 Optimization 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.
Because Google has the search market share, in turn results are highly competitive.
In that time Bing has been largely ignored.
And SEOs write off trying to improve their 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 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 diagnostics and tools to help you understand and use their algorithm and it would be a good idea to take advantage of them.
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 off-page and on-page SEO for Bing.
It’s not as long/complicated as Google’s guidelines so won’t take you long to read.
Bing Webmaster Tools
The Bing Webmaster Tools is superb!
If you haven’t got your site set up with Bing Webmaster Tools yet, do it now.
It provides an awesome suite of webmaster tools including a backlink explorer!
You can also see exactly…
- Which keywords you rank for (helpful keyword research)
- How your site indexes
- Diagnose problems and much more
Pay attention to Bing Webmaster Tools to assist you with your SEO strategy.
The Bing Website SEO Analyzer is also a great tool to discover…
…especially if your pages are following Bing’s SEO best practices.
Just enter your URL into the SEO Analyzer and it will return a list of suggestions to improve your rankings.
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!
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!
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.
Well Bing do exactly that!
Their Search Quality Blog offers SEO best practices and some amazing insights into the world of search.
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.
Not a bad set of internet marketing tools.
Bing Ranking Factors
So what makes Bing tick at its core?
Here’s a list of the most important SEO best practices to optimize your website.
Let’s take a closer look at each of those points-
#1 – User Engagement
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 similar to bounce rate but if lots of people visit your site from the search results and click the ‘back’ button –
This is a clear indication of a poor user experience.
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
Bing also measures click-through rates from its search results pages.
They use that data combined with the user experience data above to improve its conversion rate 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 target keywords. Think keyword based click bait.
#3 – Social Signals
There is a lot of debate on whether social media signals impact Google’s search rankings.
I can categorically tell you with 100% certainty – that they do.
I’ve been using social media schemes to rank in the search listings consistently for the past 2 years.
I revealed exactly how at a recent conference.
Don’t get caught up in the change debate just make sure social signals are part of your social media SEO strategy now. They affect your rankings in both Bing AND Google.
But this search engine has a much stronger reliance on social signals than Google.
You should use the power of social media 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 Analytics 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 connected pages feature powered by Bing-
Get started by adding all of your profiles and hit the verify button.
#5 – Backlinks Are Less Important
Links aren’t held in such high regard as they are by Google.
But, they’re still playing a role in Bing’s SEO strategy.
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 but avoiding spammy link schemes, link farms and obvious link manipulation.
It will help you on the majority of search engines including Yahoo and Bing.
But pay close attention to Bing’s movements over the next few years.
#6 – Inbound Anchor Text
Bing places 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’ as the anchor.
They aren’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 link count coming from high authority sites focus on exact match anchor text!
While the others use a mix of anchor terms.
That will allow you to rank in Bing while dodging Google Penguin.
#7 – Keyword Domains Matter
Having your target keyword in your domain name will help you to rank easier.
It isn’t critical but target keywords do 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 exact match keywords.
The only problem with that is…
#8 – Page Authority
The other thing that you will notice when comparing Google and Bing 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. Domain age matters!
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 rankings.
#10 – Content & Keyword Density
Bing prefers sites that have lots of unique content which is also of good content quality.
They place a much higher value on longer more engaging content than shorter content and their image search beats other search engines.
You need to use Bing with specific search terms you want your page to rank for.
It is much better to focus on 1 page per keyword.
But again be careful you don’t trip Google Panda by offering duplicate content and keyword stuffing.
They also tries to eliminate duplicate content at the point of indexing. Redundant content is recognized and eliminated from search market result pages.
But may still be available in the index.
#11 – Site Structure & Code
Bing offer a few interesting pieces of advice around your site structure and coding.
First of all, they advise that quality content should be organized close to the surface. In other words, no content Bing views, should be more than 3 clicks away from the home page.
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’s search algorithm as it is to Google.
You want to ensure you use:
- Meta title
- Description meta 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 headings.
#13 – HTTPS Is Not A Bing Ranking Factor
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 they 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 crawl control 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 crawl rate…
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 – get started by using 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 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 on the Bing Webmaster blog 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 those SEO practices.
Spam detection methods are much further behind the times than Google’s.
How To Check If You Have A 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 from Bing Webmaster to get out of the penalty box.
Wrapping It Up
Now you can take Bing seriously and check if it should be part of your marketing strategy!
Check your own data, review your traffic source and decide whether the search engine is worth it – It was for me!
You can use this part of the guide to optimize your site for Bing traffic if a chunk of your target market use Bing.
- Why Bing optimisation is valuable?
- Free tools & resources
- Bing ranking influences
- Bing penalties
Do you get any traffic from Bing’s search engine and the Yahoo search engine at the moment? If you do – how does it perform compared to Google traffic?
Let me know in the comments below along with your name and email address.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I increase my Bing ranking?
If you want to increase your Bing ranking then you need to review what the search engine wants and ensure your website is optimized to those factors.
Bing Analyzer is a great tool which gives you a list of suggestions to improve.
How is Bing different from Google?
Bing and Google are different because they have similar ranking influences but they place a stronger reliance on different ones.
Bing focus on their users and social signals whereas Google put a strong focus on backlinks. Optimizing for these factors will give you a boost in both search engines.
How do I get Bing to index my website?
To get your website indexed in Bing you can go to the Webmaster Tools, and within the ‘Configure My SIte’ section you can use the ‘Submit URLs’ feature.
Add each URL (one per line) and click ‘SUBMIT’. You can add up to 10,000 a day!
How do I improve my SEO for Bing?
Like any SEO you need to understand what makes Bing tick. Find out what Bing looks for when ranking your website and then check your site against those guidelines and optimize accordingly.