May 11, 2012

Understanding Bing Search Results

by: in SEO

Search marketers have a constant pulse on Google and the monthly algorithm changes taking place that can affect website ranking. Google has long been the focus for search marketers because of its search dominance with a more than 60% market share. However, Bing, since its launch in 2009, has continued to eat away, little by little, at the market share and it now becoming a more important player for search marketers.

First, to understand why Bing is important to search marketers is to understand the rise in Bing as a search engine. Bing has worked hard to gain popularity beginning at its launch in 2009, followed by its first marketing campaign – “The Decision Engine” - in 2010, then the introduction of social search, a revised marketing campaign – “Bing is for #Doing” and most recently being the first to test out the new Facebook logout page ad. This rise in popularity helped Bing reach its all time high slice of the search engine pie in February with a 15.3% market share of 2.7 billion explicit core searches.

Realizing the continuing rise in popularity of Bing, there are several things search marketers should think about when developing a complete SEO plan to include Bing:

  1. What site factors does Bing consider when is crawling / indexing / ranking search results?
  2. How often are algorithm changes made?
  3. Where can I get information about Bing search?

Let’s start with the last question first. Similar to Google, Bing writes several official Bing blogs including a search blog and a WebMaster Tools blog, along with several other blog topics. While the search blog does not seem as informational as Google’s Official Search Blog, it does provide occasional updates being made to search results pages. The more informative blog appears to be their WebMaster Tools blog. The blog posts highlight submitting your site to Bing and other SEO specific information.

Unlike Google, Bing doesn’t supply a list of monthly algorithm changes from the prior month.  However, in March they launched their blog series Bing Search Quality Insights to provide insight about Bing algorithms, trends and the people behind Bing search results.

A few factors to consider for Bing SEO:

  • Bing weights user interaction heavily as a ranking factor
  • Bing considers content, social media and links as the top three priorities for website publishers
  • Submit your website via Bing’s WebMaster Tools to ensure indexing
  • In line with Bing’s concentration on user interaction, Bing also focuses on link click through rate and bounce rate. These both lend a hand to Bing to determine high-quality, valuable content over thin content.
  • Bing does not place as high of weight on page load time as other search engines because it values the user experience and content on the site. Thus, if a site has a longer load time, but provides a better user-experience and quality content that site could be ranked higher than a site with a faster load time, but thinner content.

And, of course, as with all good SEO strategies, stay away from black hat tactics.

Developing a good SEO plan to improve rankings in Bing is all about the searcher. Understanding your searcher and developing a well designed, user focused website with well-written and unique content as the focus creates a good SEO strategy, especially for Bing search results.