Bing is the second most used search engine with a market share of 18.2%. While Google holds a 67% share, Bing has been eating into this steadily for the last few years. SEO should include all search engines but usually the practices are just applied to appearing on Google. While the ranking factors between both are similar Bing’s 18.2% share of the market is still a huge amount of potential traffic to your website.
The “Three Pillars” of Bing SEO
Bing recently blogged advice on how to best appear on their listings. Bing ranks you based on your authority, utility and presentation.
Authority – can we trust this content?
Bing identifies who the author of the page is. Optimise-u is a SEO blog. It can learn that the blog is written by David Arnold by visiting my social media. It can then judge my ‘authority’ through signals coming from social media and inbound links. They are quite vague about what this actually means – but do go on to say:
Authority is treated differently in different query segments. For example, for health topics, our algorithms will prefer documents written by professionals from well-known sources.
So make sure you keep your social media updated and all your inbound links relevant. This quote implies Bing adds SEO weight to your ranking if it can work out what industry the pages author works in, and if this is a relevant industry. Bing considers big brands to have higher relevance than small companies and this a part of how they define authority.
Utility – Can we use this content?
This is similar to traditional SEO. Keep your website well networked, include multimedia. Most importantly create unique content:
Another important criterion in evaluating utility is gauging the effort and level of expertise required to generate the content. Websites serving unique content are preferred to those recycling existing data or widely available materials
This is a very long winded way of saying don’t post the same old thing as that hundreds of other websites are. What they go on to say which is useful is that if you can bring new information to a page that isn’t so unique they will rank you better. The example they give is a real estate website – it will have similar listings to others in the area but they can:
set themselves apart with unique value that others in that category may not have, such as school information or nearby transportation options
So whenever you write a page ask yourself – are you bringing anything new and useful to the table or are you just rehashing what somebody else has done and putting your name on it.
Presentation – Optimising your layout
Presentation for SEO requires a whole article of it’s own. I have advice on both indexability and how to present landing pages. The blog raises the importance of not hiding content behind adverts. It also doesn’t like adverts which might appear as navigational tools so be careful. In specific examples the blog advises that you don’t put adverts at the top of the page to take up to much space, however does say:
Bing will promote and support websites and webmasters that provide ads relevant to the content of their website and place ads so that they do not interfere with the user experience
Specific Bing SEO ranking factors
Since the term SEO has existed it has mainly meant optimising your website for Google. Bing is now eating into Google’s market share so it is worth looking at key points which Bing differs from Google in it’s rankings.
Searchmetrics did a study last year which shows loads of useful data.
- Bing ranks big brands better on Bing than Google
- Bing takes more account of ‘social signals’ than Google
- Bing makes more use of back links than Google
- Bing takes less account of keywords in the page URL than Google
I feel these factors are intertwined as the bigger the brand more social followers, shares and likes that they will receive. Likewise the bigger the brand the more links they will receive – whether they are from relevant sources or not. Finally big brands have a tendency to have memorable names like ‘bing’ rather than keyword related names like ‘optimise-u’, this makes Bing giving less weight to their URLs a logical choice.
They also discovered that while Google adds rank to the position of a keyword in the title (for example using ‘Bing SEO – the under used engine’ or ‘the under used engine – Bing SEO‘) while Bing doesn’t.
How Bing calculates SEO
Ranking = F(Topical Relevance, Context, Content quality)
Bing is a search engine so it’s goal is to bring back the most relevant response to a query. Traditional SEO such as keyword density, relevant page title and image tags and use of multimedia will all contribute to the topical relevance. More importantly though it seems a solid social media campaign with plenty of backlinks seem to give you the appearance of a big brand that Bing is looking for.
Context is more to do with locational data – where the user is based, how fresh the content of the page is and whether it is still relevant to the topic it is written about. Finally content quality goes back to the three factors described above – mainly good page navigation, site speed and whether it comes from a reliable source.
The single biggest ranking factor
So Bing is in many ways very similar to Google, but it does show a trend which both search engines are taking towards social media. This highlights how important it is to use as many networks as you can and more important be active in them. Bing has a great blog itself to keep yourself updated on best practices for Bing SEO.
I will leave you with an entry titled ‘The Single Biggest Ranking Factor‘. The wording is a bit cryptic but the bottom line is quite clear. If you want great SEO you need to give your users a great experience. The single biggest ranking factor referred to in this blog is engageability.
18/02/2015 – As engageability is such a strong ranking factor for both Bing SEO and Google I have written a guide – Engageability – The Greatest SEO Ranking Factor
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