Google is still the big dog in the search engine game, but that does not mean that you should ignore Bing. This is especially true when you consider the fact that Bing powers Yahoo as well, meaning that Bing is not a search engine to be ignored.
A study done on the number of searches done through Firefox 33 in December of 2014 showed that Google had 82% of the browser’s traffic. Even though Bing/Yahoo combined for less than 18% of that browser’s traffic, that is still a huge audience.
That means that optimizing for Bing is something that your website should be prioritizing. Google and Bing each use different algorithms that produce different results, and each of the search engines weighs a number of factors differently.
Rightfully so, most SEO guides will focus specifically on how to rank for Google. With a little help, you can properly optimize for Bing. Here is how you get it done.
Claim your business
This is no different than Google: you need to claim your business on both Yahoo and Bing to maximize your local search results. Bing Places for Business is where you need to go to either create or claim ownership over the listing for your business.
The local business search results for Yahoo utilizes Bing’s business listings instead of their own, which show up as local listings on a website called Yext. Register on Yext; there are instructional guides out there if you need a little assistance.
Once you have taken these steps to register your business with Bing, you will need to register your website in basically the exact same way as you would with Google: by indexing your site.
Index your site
With Bing in control, Bing’s Webmaster Tools have now replaced Yahoo Webmaster Tools. This means that you have to submit your site once for it to work for both of the search engines. That’s pretty nice when you think about it.
The first thing that you need to do is to create a Bing login. To do this, you can use your Outlook (or Hotmail if you have been grandfathered in) or Microsoft login to create that login if you so wish. Then, visit the Big Website Submission page and make sure that you fill out the form completely to submit your website.
Also, you will need the URL address for the XML sitemap portion of your site. When you do this, you need to verify the ownership of your website by copying and pasting the code that was provided into the right portion of WordPress.
If you have any questions on how to do this, Bing (like just about anything from Microsoft) has extensive “how-to” instructions on the Bing website itself. Once you have properly registered everything, your site should be indexed within a few minutes and you will notice traffic beginning to trickle in by the end of the year.
Properly categorize and tag your website
Just like with any other search engine on the globe, categories and tags will help your content become more discoverable to the right audiences that are employing the right searches. This is why optimizing your website is so important in the first place.
WordPress makes this pretty easy. You can add categories and tags to each post or page that you create. These are vital labels that tell both the human readers and robotic algorithms what they can expect from the post, just like a header or a title would tell the reader what the piece is about.
You might have noticed the description and slug of a tag. These help to further explain what the content’s purpose is and they are signals that are used in the sitemaps to identify the different sections. This helps the search engines identify content so that it can deliver the appropriate ad experiences through each of the platforms.
Despite all of the tips and tricks that are out there for SEO, the right categories and tags are probably the most important things because they give an overall picture of what your website is actually about. Without those things, your bounce rates will go up and your organic search traffic will go down.
Use your SEO keywords in the right context
Using the right keywords has proven to be very important as far as ranking factors go in every search engine there is. Proof keywords and relevant keywords are critical when it comes to Bing’s searches and for good reason.
Internal links are becoming less important in Bing than they are in Google and relevant, contextual keywords are becoming as vital as ever. Blogging is one of the most widely used forms of content marketing today for this very reason.
Ensuring that your website content is fully optimized with things like marketing slogans as well as other ad copy gives your website descriptive information around the keywords that you want to make the focal point. This is the key to getting more accurate searches through Bing.
Much like Google’s algorithm, Bing’s algorithm takes the surrounding 5-7 words for each of the keywords along with its density within the content itself when it determines its search rankings. This means you can’t just spam your keywords; you have to have relevant and unique content to actually make an impact in the search.
Connecting to social networks
You can actually link your social media accounts through WordPress. All it takes is the Jetpack plugin, which actually is a generally standard plugin for just about any WordPress hosted websites, especially through providers like GoDaddy. If it doesn’t, you can certainly install it manually by searching through WordPress’ plugins list.
When you link your social media accounts with your WordPress page, you can ensure that your posts on your site go out to your social media accounts with backlinks. This is a great way of providing content through those avenues and building an audience.
While there is still some debate as to the importance of social signals, there is more than enough evidence to prove that they have a substantial impact on search results. In Bing, the results viewed by your Facebook friends can and will be featured in SERPs. Even if it didn’t really help your search results, those social networks offer larger audiences that you have to be in front of anyway.
Avoid black-hat techniques
There are SEO techniques that are referred to as black-hat and white-hat techniques. Black-hat techniques are considered to be tactics that might work but will violate the search engine’s terms of usage and can actually get your website banned from those search engines. Your white-hat techniques work just as well but they actually follow the rules.
Black-hat techniques might sound like a good idea but they aren’t sustainable and will get you banned. JC Penny got itself removed from Google temporarily after Google found it to be using black-hat techniques. Don’t be like that.
Bing operates no differently. If your website is found to be using black-hat SEO techniques, there’s a pretty good chance that you will get removed from the index. This means losing all the time and effort that you invested into building up your search rankings and it makes you look foolish.
This can be especially problematic on Big since the age of a website is also a ranking factor that isn’t heavily weighed on Google. Sites that have stayed up longer are more likely to have results that are presented at the top of Bing SERPs, so a ban can have a hugely detrimental effect on Bing searches.
These are just a few of the things that you can do to optimize your website for Bing searches. Even though Bing/Yahoo’s reach is nowhere close to what Google’s is, they still can reach a sizable audience and that alone is not worth ignoring.
While there are similarities between Bing and Google, Bing operates with a few different things that make their SEO stand out from Google’s. Being able to optimize your website to meet those requirements means that your website can be seen by eyes that perhaps Google’s search engine doesn’t.
It is important to make sure that your website gets seen by the most eyes possible so that you can develop the most possible traffic to your website. When you optimize your website to meet the standards outlined above, you can get some of those eyeballs onto your product.
Being able to incorporate Bing into your SEO work might feel like extra work, but it can give you a leg up on some of the other websites out there that might not even bother with earning those Bing rankings. Even a little extra to stand-out lifts your website above competitors.