All too often, webmasters and SEOs develop tunnel vision when creating and/or optimizing a website. They tend to focus on Google at the expense of all other search engines and sometimes such a strategy can backfire.
While focusing on Google means focusing on the “smart money” (because right now Google is the #1 search engine in the US) it isn’t always the best long term ploy.
This is because other search engines, most notably Bing, have made great inroads this past year.
In fact, if you combine Yahoo, Bing and Facebook (all of whom are powered by Microsoft’s Bing search technology) I’m pretty sure Bing’s visibility is up there with Google. By visibility, I’m referring to how often Bing search results are seen.
I think this because, while Bing and Yahoo account for less than 1/3 of online search, many people don’t consider the impact Facebook has on search. This is because when you do a search for someone or some company on the site, you also are presented with Bing results below Facebook’s own “internal” results.
Even taking Facebook out of the equation, one only has to look at the year over year growth of Bing to realize that they are slowly stealing market share. And it’s not the smaller players like Ask that are losing. It is the largest one – Google.
That’s right – over the past year Google has lost roughly the same proportion of market share that Bing/Yahoo has gained over that same period. Google dropped from a staggering 73% market share to 63% in one year while Bing/Yahoo gained almost 10%. Combined, Bing and Yahoo do account for almost 1/3 of the search share while Google accounts for most of the other 2/3 with various other engines fighting for the scraps.
So now that I’ve established that many SEOs and webmasters may be ignoring a large part of the search market, what should they do about it?
Optimizing for a post-“Live” world.
Microsoft has had many false starts in search over the past dozen years or so. In fact it was Bill Gates himself who said search would go nowhere. And while Gates is a brilliant man, he’s supposedly also the one who famously professed that “’640K of memory should be enough for anybody.”
Whether he said any of these things or not, it did take Microsoft a long time to get search right, and in my opinion Bing is it.
When you compare searches on Google and Bing you find very similar results. And in my own testing I’ve found much more relevant results on Bing in some cases.
Now that’s not to say that Google is dead – Microsoft still has a lot of ground to make up, but if they can keep up the growth they’ve been having (particularly if it is at Google’s expense) then in a few more years we are going to have a serious contender for 1st place in search.
So how do webmasters and SEOs optimize a site for Bing?
Well here’s the nice thing. Remember when I said that “When you compare searches on Google and Bing you find very similar result“?
Well that tells me that Bing is using very similar algorithms and ranking factors as Google to determine the rankings.
So what do you have to do different? In a word, nothing.
That being said, there are things you should do to help ensure your site’s peak performance in Bing.
First, follow the basic “tried and true” principals of SEO – clean architecture, well written pages which are easily spiderable and no funny business. Be as white hat as you can and you’ll do fine in Bing. Because if it works in Google chances are pretty good it will work in Bing as well.
In addition, sign up for a Live account (IE Hotmail, if you don’t already have one) and submit your site to Bing Webmaster Tools. Much like Google Webmaster Tools, you can use Bing’s version to check on crawl activity, search referrals and so on. The more data the better right?