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30-second summary:

  • Bing isn’t the search engine with the largest market share, but it still serves millions of users every day. One-third of U.S. online queries are powered by Bing, most notably in terms of voice-assisted searches.
  • The five effective and easy-to-follow Bing SEO tips below will help you rank for the secondary search engine quickly.
  • A Bing SEO vs. Google SEO mindset is not productive, especially since both search engines use the BERT algorithm. Many optimization initiatives meant for Bing also work for Google, and vice versa.

You read that right: we’re focusing on Bing SEO in this article.

Did you know that Bing is the second biggest search engine worldwide? It also powers Yahoo!, the third biggest. In July 2020, Bing captured nearly 6.5% of the global search market.

In any discussion about SEO, mentioning Google is unavoidable. However, the industry giant isn’t the only search engine that can send traffic to your website. You can make Google SEO your primary focus, but it shouldn’t be the only one in your marketing toolkit.

A global market share of less than 10% doesn’t sound like much, but it translates to millions of users. Bing powers one-third of online searches in the U.S., counting direct searches and those done through Yahoo! or AOL. And as of August 2020, Bing controls over 13% of the U.S. desktop search engine market.

How Bing is different from Google – and why it matters

There are certain things that Bing does better than Google.

For example, doing an image search using Bing is preferable due to the higher quality results. You can search for different layouts and see licensing information for each image without having to figure out where to look. Bing also pioneered infinite scrolling for image search results, though it’s no longer unique – Google now offers this feature, too.

Video search is also more hassle-free with Bing, despite YouTube being a Google brand. When you search for a video on Bing, the results come up as a thumbnail grid. You can then watch the videos without leaving the SERP.

Perhaps the biggest difference between Bing and Google is their amount of influence in a fast-growing subsection of online searching: those done through voice-assisted devices. In 2017, an estimated 35 million Americans used one of these devices at least once a month. Of those millions, more than 70% were Amazon Echo users – and Amazon’s Alexa is powered by Bing.

Five Bing SEO tips to implement for optimization

You will often find that optimizing for Bing SEO is much like optimizing for Google SEO. Both search engines use the BERT algorithm – which means keyword stuffing, manipulative link-building schemes, and other questionable tactics won’t work.

However, there are certain things you can do to take your search engine optimization a notch up with Bing. Below are five tips you can apply to your current marketing initiatives.

1. Claim and list your business on Bing Places

Google has Google My Business, Bing has Bing Places. The goal of these two is similar: to deliver the best and more useful local search results to its users. Claim your business on Bing Places and create a listing to improve your local SEO ranking performance.

Note that Bing rewards websites that put their location details on prominent display. Bing’s algorithm also considers information from third-party sources, such as social media platforms like Facebook. To optimize your Bing SEO presence, make sure you’re ranking in Facebook’s local search engine, too.

2. Improve SEO through Bing Webmaster Tools URL indexing

After claiming your business, use Bing’s Webmaster Tools to index your website.

You will need to sign in to your Bing business account – which may use your Outlook, Hotmail, or Microsoft login – and verify ownership of your website using a back-end XML sitemap.

Like any other search engine, Bing’s algorithm will better handle and understand your content if you employ categories and tags to make your website’s pages more discoverable. Should you work on this, you can expect Bing to deliver better search results and ad experiences involving your brand.

3. Pay extra attention to on-page SEO for Bing

While backlinking still helps with Bing SEO, clever and contextual keyword utilization is much more relevant. To rank for Bing, concentrate your efforts on on-page SEO rather than off-page SEO.

However, certain tricks will work better than others. For instance, Bing seems to prioritize content with exact keyword matching in page titles, meta descriptions, and web content. You may want to sacrifice smooth readability occasionally for long-tail keywords verbatim.

Using keywords in URL slugs, subheadings, and in the first paragraph of your content are also good practices to follow if you want to see your website nearer the top in Bing SERPs.

4. Maintain a genuine online social media presence

Bing’s webmaster guidelines tell us that social signals weigh heavily in its ranking algorithm. What this means is that your social media presence matters more to Bing than it does to Google. We touched on this briefly when we talked about claiming your business on Bing Places.

How your social media performs helps Bing judge the quality of your content. So, make sure you’re not buying likes or follows, or posting without a clear brand voice.

What does Bing mean by “social signals”? These are social media shares and interactions, typically on industry-leading platforms like Twitter and Facebook. However, you also need to match your social media presence to your target audience. Law firms probably won’t have much use for Pinterest or Instagram, for example, but these platforms could be indispensable for photography studios.

5. Consistently produce great content

Make sure that anything you publish is trustworthy, scannable, readable, and well-researched. Lots of related images to illustrate your points throughout the text content will help, too.

Focus on quality and not quantity. Don’t try to maximize your content by splitting it into several short blog posts. In 2020, the ideal blog post length should be between 2,100 and 2,400 words – enough to thoroughly discuss a topic with authority, but not too long that fluff would be inevitable.

Not yet convinced? Here’s why marketers should focus on Bing

Bing, the second most influential search engine in the world, can be a very lucrative channel. You shouldn’t ignore opportunities for increased reach and growth. Besides, Bing SEO tips may often coincide with what you’re already doing for Google SEO.

If you’re ambivalent due to Bing’s runner-up reputation, consider its parent company. Did you know that more than 1.5 billion devices worldwide are powered by Windows, and over 900 million of those use Windows 10? That last part is important because Windows 10 devices direct traffic to their built-in search engine: Bing.

More than 85% of desktop computers run on Windows. When you ask Cortana a question or search from your lock screen, you’re using Bing. Bing also powers search functions with applications like Microsoft Office, Skype, or Outlook.

One of the most overlooked audiences is over 65 million gamers on their Xboxes. Microsoft’s gaming console uses Bing, too. When players pause their games to search for something, they’re typically using Bing and not Google.

Wrapping up: Bing SEO vs. Google SEO

It’s not a good idea to think of optimizing your online presence in terms of Bing SEO vs. Google SEO. As we’ve touched on consistently throughout this piece, Bing is more similar to Google that many realize. Their algorithms may not be the same, but with delicate balancing, it’s not difficult to come up with a strategy that satisfies both Bing and Google.

Any savvy marketer will find it a good idea to get in on both market shares. Despite the low percentage of people using Bing and Yahoo!, you’re still looking at a potential audience numbering in the millions.

Justin Staples is a business entrepreneur who provides companies with results-driven SEO, custom web design, digital marketing, and content development.  He can be found on LinkedIn.

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