Introduction to Bing
‘Bing; is Microsoft corporation’s flagship web Search Engine (or ‘Decision Engine’ as it is referred to by Microsoft at time), and is today one of the largest names in the search engine world, probably second only to the mighty Google itself.
Bing now even powers Yahoo Search after the two companies struck a deal in 2009, and Bing now boasts an impressive 15% market share in the US as compared to 66% market share of Google. But what might be surprising to some is that Bing has seen a steady upward growth since its inception in 2009, although most of it has been at the expense of Yahoo Search.
However upon closer inspection, Bing rise in fame and market share shouldn’t come as a surprise. Microsoft is working to make Bing an essential part of all its products and integrate Bing Search with all its new and existing offering – most importantly with its Windows desktop OS. Bing Search (or Bing Mobile) is also a common sight on all cellular phones powered by Microsoft’s Windows Phone (WP) OS, and will continue to be featured in all its upcoming iterations as well.
Microsoft also intends on expanding Bing by making it the search engine of choice across not only all its own products (such as Windows, Hotmail), but also on other products – most notably Facebook – by forming partnerships with these products.
In addition, Bing search is available in as many as 40 languages, offers a whole slew of products which include web search, dictionary, finance, image search, Bing maps, news search, and video search (to name just a few), as well as Bing Webmaster Services for website owners and webmaster.
But perhaps most importantly, Microsoft continues to work on improving Bing in a manner that is similar to Google’s updates to its search algorithm.
Why is it Important to Rank Well on Bing
If Bing’s extremely impressive market share of 15% isn’t enough, the fact that almost one-third (close to 30%) of all search engine queries are now powered by Bing (15% on Bing.com and 15% on Yahoo), or the realization that Bing will continue to gain market share in the future, and maybe even at the expense of Google will persuade you to try and focus your efforts on ranking well on Bing as well!
As Google’s dominance steadily goes down, and Bing rises to prominence in the Search Engine industry, more and more SEOs, SEMs and IMs realize Bing’s importance and potential, and strive to rank well on Bing as well.
How to Rank Well on Bing
So now that we’ve established why it is important for your website, organization, brand and for you to rank well on Bing, here are 8 Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tips for Bing Search, both on-site and off-site criterion as defined by Bing (in no particular order):
1. Titles of the Webpages – As with Google, it is important that the webpage titles be crafted a certain way for Bing: (a) the webpage title should be under 60 characters, (b) should contain all the keywords that you wish to rank for, and (c) should be able to tell Bing’s crawlers what your website is about by summarizing its contents.
2. Domain Age – Bing seems to rank websites with older domains better than newer ones. The older the domain, the better Bing will rank it, therefore if you are planning on developing a new website, use (or acquire) a domain that was registered at least a good few months ago.
3. Text and Content – Bing loves a lot of content. Like Google, Bing prefers to rank pages with an excess of 300 words better. While it is not a written rule, some experts believe that the ideal amount of words should be 300-500. But unlike Google, you would need to make sure that the text and the content on the page is relevant to the page title, because Bing focuses the relevance of both with each other. The content should also be high-quality, valuable and of course, unique.
4. Backlinks – fairly obvious, but Bing lover quality backlinks to your website, and as is pretty much the case with Google, would rank your website once you get traffic from authority sources. However relevance is essential here as well, so make sure that your backlinks are related to your content. And backlinks on older domains (aged backlinks) will appear more natural to Bing, helping it rank you better.
5. Outgoing links – Create limited amount of outbound links, such as those linking to an external page (such as one that is outside your website). No-follow outbound links would be a safe bet.
6. Robots.txt – Having a robots.txt file in your main directory will alow MSNBot – Bing’s web crawler – to find and index your website much easily.
7. Tags and Broken Links – Avoid incomplete HTML tags/codes, improper and/or incomplete meta information, and broken links.
8. Keywords – Stick with not more than 2-3 keywords per page. Use those consistently throughout the webpage – in the title, meta description and the body but the title and description should be unique.
At the end of the day, you might think that Bing and Google’s criteria is pretty similar, and on the face of it, it might look so as well. However both algorithms work and function differently. However SEO ‘best-practices’ will help you rank well on both search engines.
If you’re looking for more Bing-specific SEO information, do read up on their Webmaster Blog.