With a majority of web traffic coming from Google, many website owners tend to forget that Bing and Yahoo often round out that list in second and third place. While these numbers don’t (and maybe never will) match the traffic from Google, it’s important to keep in mind what’s on Bing’s radar.
Unlike Google, Bing does not officially announce algorithm updates. However, they do announce new features, such as the deep links directly in the search box, as seen below. This feature is similar to Google sitelinks, however Bing displays these results without even having to click the search button.
Bing in the Social World
Bing has heavily invested itself in the social world, one of the major differences between Google and Bing. They have a partnership with Facebook, meaning searches done through Facebook return Bing results. Bing also has a partnership with Twitter, which gives Bing all access to the public content of Twitter users. In addition, you can focus your search by selecting “Social.” Bing’s recent search page redesign is also more social focused, with updates appearing in the right hand column from social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, Foursquare, Klout, and others.
Bing and Smart Search
Bing Smart Search is integrated with Windows 8.1, with a design heavily favoring mobile and tablet users. For example, a search for “Boston” may display results not only for related websites, but pictures of a recent trip, documents related to Boston, weather, and information such as population, news, attractions, and events. For businesses, this could mean displaying menus, maps, reviews, hours of operation and other website information, or having your business or event display as a nearby attraction.
Other Notable Bing Features:
- Although Schema.org was introduced in 2011, it wasn’t until late 2012/beginning of 2013 when Google released the Data Highlighter Tool that website owners started to really adopt Schema markup. Schema markup is used by Google, Bing, and Yahoo and is now highly recommended by experts. Schema markup helps search engines display your data properly in search results, including events, people, reviews, and more.
- Bing integrates “Klout” for verifying authorship. Similar to Google+ Authorship, those with a Klout profile can manage how they appear in Bing results based on social media profile pages.
- Bing Webmaster Tools now has a lot more features, including a malware re-evaluation tool, site move tool, and the smart search page preview tool.
- Yahoo (powered by Bing results) has announced it will encrypt all keyword data for opt-in users starting early 2014. Bing is also reportedly looking to encrypt their keyword data as well.
What Does this Mean for Search Marketers?
Ranking factors for Bing are not always the same as Google. What you do to rank in Bing may not be a best practice for Google rankings, and therefore keep in mind your Google rankings can change. However, there are some general areas you can look at that will benefit your website across all search engines:
- Engaging in Social Media. Social media will not only keep followers up to date on news, but is a great way to display more information for those searching in Bing. While no search engine has said “More social interaction means higher rankings,” those who have done their research can conclude sites that do rank higher often have a heavy online social presence.
- Updating and Accuracy. With the addition of enhanced search results, you will want your news and images to show up and your company information to be accurate. Make sure everything is right and up to date.
- Deleting those Meta Keywords. If your site uses the tag and Bing can’t find the keyword on the page, you could be penalized for it. Whether search engines look at this field or not, your competitors can look at this field and determine the keywords you’re optimizing for.
- Mobile Use. With cell phone and tablet use on the rise, search engines are looking to better their mobile search results. This means making sure your website is mobile search friendly.
- Relevant Content. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing and keyword density. Google is moving towards displaying more semantic search results, and other search engines won’t be far behind. Start ahead of the game by making sure your content is useful, not overly optimized, and relevant.
- Markup with Schema. Schema use is also on the rise. If you aren’t doing it, competitors will have an advantage. If you already are, you’re giving yourself an advantage over those not doing it and staying competitive with those who are.