SEO for Bing (and Yahoo): A short guide

In SEO, we don’t talk much about Bing*, instead, we spend a lot of time worrying about Google and making sure we’re optimising our websites for their algorithms.

At Edit, we tend to focus our efforts on Google rather than Bing for 2 reasons:

  1. Google dominates the search engine landscape with 88% of global market share meaning most of our client’s traffic comes from Google.
  2. Google is the most advanced of all the search engines meaning that generally if you’re optimised well for Google, you’re probably optimised well for Bing too.

But does this mean we should ignore Bing entirely?

Largely, this depends upon your situation, but we also need to be aware that the second statement comes with some caveats as Google and Bing handle different ranking factors which could be the difference between Bing mediocrity and Bing greatness.

*For the purposes of this article, Bing also refers to Yahoo as Yahoo is also powered by Bing so operates in a very similar way

Should I be optimising for Bing (and Yahoo)?

You should optimise for Bing if:

  • Your site operates in the US. In the US, Bing (and Yahoo) have a market share of up to 36% meaning that over a third of all visitors coming to your site are from Bing or Yahoo. Bing also has a significant presence in countries like Canada, the UK, Taiwan, Hong Kong, France and Norway
  • If you receive significant amounts of traffic from Bing and Yahoo (If you’re not sure this is easy to check on Google Analytics under “All Traffic” then “Source Medium”).
  • Your target audience tends to be older. Older users tend to use Bing more than younger users.

If you fit any of these criteria, then you probably need to be thinking at least a bit about Bing and whether you’re properly optimising for it.

How to optimise for Bing (and Yahoo)

Below, we’ve listed out the major ways Bing and Google differ and how you can tailor your SEO strategy to optimise for Bing.

  • Social Media – Google doesn’t use social media signals in their rankings but Bing does meaning a strong social media strategy can also help your rankings improve.
  • Non-Text Content – Bing appears to be better equipped to understand non-text content like images, video, audio and even flash making it more likely to reward such content if it’s high in quality. We’d advise caution here though as media-rich content may be understandable by Bing, but creating content on this premise could harm rankings in Google so a measured approach to media is recommended.
  • Local – In local search, Bing places greater emphasis on proximity while Google places greater emphasis on brand.  Therefore small businesses are more likely to get visibility in Bing’s local search than Google. This makes a Bing focused strategy potentially more important for smaller brands with a local presence; claiming and updating your Bing places profile would be a good place to start.
  • Keywords – Bing rewards exact match keywords more than Google with Google being better at determining the sentiment behind keyword use. That means that if you want to improve rankings in Bing, you should ensure your metadata, page copy and meta keywords utilises more exactly, relevant, high search volume keywords that you should have identified in your keyword research.
  • Meta Keywords – Google hasn’t used the meta keywords tag for years but it’s still used by Bing so it’s worth updating with relevant keywords if you have significant traffic from Bing.
  • Canonical Tags – Bing finds it more difficult to determine the canonical version of a page than Google making the use of canonical tags more important.
  • Meta Refresh – While Google will view a 0-second meta refresh as a 301 redirect, Bing will stop crawling when it comes across a meta refresh making a 301 a much better option if you’re optimising for Bing as well as Google.
  • Links – Bing places a greater emphasis on links from highly trusted domains, especially if those domains have .gov, .edu or .org extensions. Targeting these types of sites when link building will give you a greater edge in Bing.
  • Crawling – Bing tends to crawl pages less frequently and tends to focus on a smaller, more important set of pages meaning that submitting pages to Bing Webmaster tools can be an important strategy for getting new content indexed and ranking more quickly.

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