When we discuss SEO we generally discuss it in the context of Google rankings, but is it time to consider our Bing visibility as well?
There are a couple of good reasons for doing this – one is that Bing is increasing in market share in its own right, but also the arrangement made with Yahoo means that in the near future it will count for around 30% of total search engine traffic.
Increasingly Yahoo search is getting driven by the Bing engine. Worldwide Googles market share is around 60%; in the US around 65%; in the UK around 85%. Even taking into account regional favourites like Yandex in Russia and Baidu in China – the difference is made up primarily by the Bing/Yahoo combination – meaning that anywhere between 10%-30% of search traffic in any region will be driven by Bing. There’s another good reason I discuss below, but first the good news…
What do I need to do to get good rankings in Bing?
As it happens – not a lot – assuming of course that you are carrying out ‘Google centric’ SEO on your site you are by default optimising for Bing as well.
All the studies we have seen indicate that the ranking factors for Bing are very similar to those for Google – there are minor differences but nothing that will make a material difference. If you do want to consider these very minor differences there’s a good post here which discusses them…BING VERSUS GOOGLE RANKING FACTORS
There is one important thing to do though and that is to register with and make relevant entries in BING WEBMASTER TOOLS.
Here you can submit a site map, register to ensure you get spidered and also – very important if you have a non country specific domain (eg .com, .net etc) – set the geographic target. Otherwise, just like in Google, the traffic will be skewed towards your hosting location.
One final thing about Bing webmaster tools – you will see that you can list your inbound links just like in Google – but you’ll also see your links are given a grade to say how important they are (a bar indicator is used for this – on a scale of 1 to 5 bars). You should see that sites linking with highly relevant content are marked the highest. Another good reminder about the sort of links you should be looking for.
BING AND FACEBOOK
This is the other good reason. Microsoft, owners of Bing, have a significant stake in Facebook, so you’ll see (example below) that search on Facebook is driven by Bing…
You’ll get the same search results here as if you went to Bing direct. As we know people don’t move from Facebook to Google to do searches – they’ll search from within Facebook so effectively be using Bing.
If you look at the search results above you’ll also be reminded why it’s important to have a Facebook presence as well – either participating or setting up special interest groups as you can see from above to drive more visibility for you.
There’s yet another good reason to increase your Facebook activity. Activity on social media sites generally is having an increasing impact on search rankings (as well as content, links and all the other factors you are familiar with) but this will be even more marked in Bing search. Microsoft – because they can and because they want to differentiate Bing from Google – have recently integrated Facebook content within Bing. For example if you search for restaurants in Bing you may well be served up the likes and preferences of your friends from Facebook. There’s a good post here which goes into this in more detail….
So, if you haven’t already, your action points are register with Bing through its web master tools and look at developing your Facebook presence – both will increase your visiblity in their own right but the combination will be greater that the sum of their parts. You’ll be in good company now – even the QUEEN – has a Facebook page from yesterday which got 150,000 visits in the first day!