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Don't ignore Microsoft Bing while doing SEO for Google

Bing vs Google market share and usage 

Google is the daddy of web search, no doubt about that.

The second most important search engine is Microsoft Bing (earlier called just Bing), with market share ranging from about 2% to 16% in different geographies. In addition, Yahoo! search engine also uses Microsoft Bing data and its market share goes up to 14% in some areas. 

Though I use Google predominantly for search purposes, I do use Bing when I need better results. It might look counter-intuitive but it is a reality. Try it and you will find that its search is simple and straight, and it sometimes gives better results than Google. It might be behind Google in innovations, and it might lag when it comes to finding the intent of the search but it seems to excel when the query is straight forward.

Moreover, its filters on top of search pages are very easy to apply. You do not have to look for 'advanced search' as on Google.

I checked a dozen webpages of my blogs on both Bing and Google to see how these pages were indexed by these search engines. To my surprise, I found that Microsoft Bing had indexed webpages better for keywords that were most relevant. In the case of Google, I got a feeling that it picked up keywords randomly on webpages, I also found that Googe indexed webpages for queries that were not too relevant but left out relevant queries. Bing seemed more confused than Google for long and unusual queries such as "Is it fine to wear a broad tie or a scarf for weekend official dinner?"

When it comes to image search, Microsoft Bing is definitely better in presentation. Its infinite scrolling search results load more images seamlessly. Bing gives image format and dimensions on the image, and has very useful filters. For example, you can instantly filter images for 'Washington DC' for 'Free to modify, use and share commercially'. Quick filters include size, color, layout, type, date and presence of people in the image.

Bing SEO gives relevant search results

Bing's video search scores over Google's in that it displays videos in thumbnail view as in the case of images. You hover over the image and it plays (like on Facebook and Twitter when you configure them for autoplay). Though I have not tested this, I am told the results on Bing are more relevant to the query.

There is no doubt that Google gives more results and its pages seem to be updated much faster (as in the case of news), and perhaps it scores much higher overall. In fact, this article is not on "Bing vs Google" but the comparison and a small experiment are shared here just to highlight some good aspects of Bing so that we know that it is relevant for SEO. It might have the potential to show our webpages to people in a better way than Google if we do not ignore it.  

So, from a website owner's point of view, it makes sense to optimize the website also for Bing.

Microsoft Bing webmaster and SEO tools

Microsoft Bing has a useful Webmaster portal where you can submit your website/ blog, audit it for errors, check its search performance and use SEO tools. It is much like the Google Search Console.

I suggest that you go to the Bing Webmaster website and submit your website if not done so. Look more closely at keyword analysis and take their advice on optimizing the website. 

It can be a bother to work on both Google and Bing webmaster tools. Yet, checking Bing webmaster tools occasionally will help you in finding which webpages and queries can be optimised easily for Bing. As in the case of search, Bing's webmaster tools are less exhaustive and so simple for a new blogger. 

When and how to do SEO for Bing

It is true that once you optimize your website for Google, it does SEO for Bing too, because all search engines like quality results. Google and Bing have their own crawlers and algorithms, but they try to catch these:

  • Quality content
  • Usefulness and relevance of the content to the user and his query
  • Page authority and brand image based on backlinks, social signals etc.
  • Technical SEO factors

It is learnt that like Google, Bing also has many hundred parameters that this search engine uses for ranking webpages. Its databases and servers are also huge and pan over the planet. 

When it comes to sensing the intent behind a query and matching the query with webpages in its index, Bing is more straight, to the point. This, in practical terms, means it relies on keywords more than Google. But don't think that Bing is dumb and would rank a webpage higher with keyword stuffing or similar actions to fool search engines. So, if a webpage has good content and it has expressions that are used directly or indirectly by searchers, it will have a good chance of being ranked high on Microsoft Bing index; its ranking on Google index would depend much more on a mix of hundreds of 'signals'.

Bing is also reported to give more importance to social signals and engagement. So, it would make sense to be more active on social sites and cross-post website/ blog content on such sites.

Bing has a good following in some regions and browsers of the world. For example, it is used largely in the US and Canada, in absolute as well as percentage terms. Yahoo! also promotes itself by getting embedded with some downloads, and because it uses Bing data, people using those apps also get to use Bing resources. 

Most Bing users search using Internet Explorer or Edge browsers. Depending upon the time of purchase (Edge is the successor of IE), the browser comes preloaded on desktops, laptops and tabs using Windows. 

There is some usage data available for Bing: People of age over 35 years use Bing more than younger people. It is also reported that more blue-collar workers (not too well educated and well-paid) and non-techies (as against tech-savvy) people use Bing. So, if your potential visitors or clientele have such profiles, do not ignore Microsoft Bing.

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