Bing SEO

Should I care about Bing search traffic?

Bing has been a bit part player in the search engine market for a long time now, and despite some predicting a rise to rival dominance, maintains a market share of around 8-9% as of summer 2023.

Those numbers may not speak too much, but if your business is getting a lot of traffic from Bing (check your analytics) or is operating in a market where Bing is used more than Google (such as in China) then it is certainly worth considering as a search engine to focus on. 

In recent months, Bing has been at the centre of the AI debate by rolling out its own “Bing Chat” in search results before Google, offering plenty of exciting enhancements in search results. While this hasn’t seen an uptick in its popularity or search engine market share yet, Bing is always a search engine worth monitoring as a business owner.   

How does Bing + AI matter?

Bing’s own AI module, now fully integrated in Bing’s search result experience, was launched not long after the ChatGPT explosion at the end of 2022, with Microsoft announcing its launch in February 2023

With a lot of industry discussion being around the sudden spotlight on AI and how this could impact SEO, Bing have gone ahead and emerged as the first major search engine to integrate AI chatbots in their search results. 

Entering informational queries such as “Capital of Australia” now follows up with prompts to engage with Bing’s chatbot further, such as “what is the climate like?” and “what are some landmarks there?” The AI generated answer will then provide a detailed answer with links to its sources.

This is a massive change as, much like Google’s Search Generative Experience (now called Google Gemini), it may compete with traditional search results, with brands vying for real estate in this new AI environment.

For businesses, if there is a marked increase in Bing’s search engine market share owing to continued developments around its AI, it could represent a big precedent in how SEO may change. 

Is Bing SEO the same as Google?

Bing, being a completely different search engine in its own right, is not the same as Google. At their essence however, Bing and Google follow roughly the same trajectory in terms of how businesses should optimise for them. They are roughly visually similar too in terms of how they represent information, with Bing sometimes appearing a lot busier on its right-hand side with additional information around the search query for users to continue their journey on.

In terms of SEO strategy for businesses, one difference has been Bing’s acknowledgement that social media plays a role in search rankings, something which Google has long denied. Bing is also known to favour multimedia integration in how it ranks sites, something which is reflected in its often very visual search results.

It’s likely that Bing’s crawlers aren’t as complex as Google’s are, so take care in prioritising your content if you’re running a large website. The same can be said for its JavaScript processing capabilities

If I optimise for Google does it work on Bing?

If you prioritise your business’s SEO efforts with a view to ranking well on Google, then it’s likely that you’ll also see a knock-on effect on Bing in terms of pages ranking. This will even more likely be the case if your website is actively set up on Bing’s Webmaster Tools. 

Despite this, Google and Bing are two separate search engines and do have different algorithms. Both are known to favour high-quality, original content with solid technical SEO foundations that covers facets such as optimised page speed and UX. Backlinks remain important too, as does the implementation of structured data and Schema markup for rich content results.

If you’re approaching your wider SEO strategy with the above Google-centric factors in mind, then you may see some success on Bing to a degree. However, optimising for Bing will require a slightly different approach.  

Does Bing send much SEO traffic?

Traffic from Bing will ultimately depend on your business niche, user base and location, as well as the overall amount of traffic the site gets from the organic channel.  

If we are judging by Bing’s search engine market share of roughly 8-9%, this may seem small, but if you’re getting organic visits in the tens or hundreds of thousands, then this is a sizable amount. If your traffic from Bing is only 10% of your overall user share from organic but is converting well, then this is certainly worth your attention.   

How does Bing’s algorithm differ from other search engines and what are the primary ranking factors?

Looking at Google and other search engines, a key difference is the inclusion of social media signals as a contributing ranking factor. While with Google, social media is known to indirectly impact rankings (such as a viral piece of social content having a knock-on effect to organic traffic as a whole), Bing has confirmed that there is weight given to entities that have large social followings. 

Aside from multimedia integration and the heavy use of local SEO and map packs in its search results, Bing is also known to place more emphasis on exact match keywords in areas such as content, on-page SEO and in URLs. 

This means that if you’re creating a piece of content to rank on Bing and want to consider modern day content best practices such as search intent and EEAT, then the placement of exact match keywords within this content needs to be considered.

Additional Bing ranking factors include content relevance and quality, user engagement signals, page load time and quality of backlinks

Are there specific guidelines or best practices for Bing SEO?

There are plenty of resources and guidelines out there from various SEO resources in the industry that have provided summaries of how Bing differs from Google and how to best optimise for it from an SEO standpoint.

Interestingly, and unlike Google’s own webmaster guidelines which may appear slightly more vague and conceptual, Bing’s webmaster guidelines are actually much more explicit in terms of detailing best practices around individual areas and elements on SEO. For example, alongside paragraphs on “creating unique content”, it also goes through to detail exactly what to do with elements such as title tags.

This can be a great resource for your team to learn from when it comes to Bing SEO and SEO in general. 

How does Bing handle mobile optimisation?

Bing handles mobile optimisation much in the same manner than Google does, that being encouraging business owners to avoid mobile specific URLs, instead having one overall responsive website.

Much like with other major search engines, Bing considers mobile friendliness and performance as a ranking factor, and follows a mobile-first indexing approach. When it comes to Bing, make sure you’re investing as much resource and time in ensuring your site assets are as prepared for mobile as possible as you would normally for Google.

Interestingly, voice search is an area in which Bing has been pushing to compete with Google for some time now. Microsoft’s own voice chatbot, Cortana, can be used on all Windows interfaces as well as mobile devices, and results will be pulled up from Bing. While voice search hasn’t fully taken off, Microsoft’s use of Cortana across a multitude of devices and the tie-in to Bing is an interesting consideration for wider Bing mobile optimisation.   

Are there Bing Webmaster Tools or resources available for SEO?

Bing has its own version of Google Search Console, known as Bing Webmaster Tools. Like Google Search Console, it is totally free and can provide valuable insights into your site performance with regard to visibility on Bing. The interface is familiar when compared to Google Search Console and is relatively easy to interpret.

The tool will allow your team to identify SEO issues and opportunities such as crawl errors, backlink data, as well as keywords that are driving traffic to your site from Bing. 

The tool actually stands out compared to Google’s version in some areas, such as its “Site Scan” feature which will crawl and identify some common SEO issues on your site which can not only improve your performance on Bing but on other search engines too.

Given that the tool is free and allows your team access to more data, it’s worth signing up for a Bing Webmaster Tools account, even if you aren’t necessarily optimising for Bing. You may come across some vital commercial insights that may not have presented itself previously on Google Search Console.

How does Bing approach local search and local SEO?

Local SEO forms a big part of Bing’s search results, and businesses can get involved via its Bing Places for Business feature. There are well-documented instructions to add a local or small business listing on Bing. 

Given Bing’s emphasis on rich media in search results, there are big opportunities to make your business stand out with high-quality imagery and as much information on your business as possible. 

Much like Google Business Profiles, reviews go a long way to standing out in Bing search and as we’ve established, social media can play a big role in amplifying your business listing on Bing given its role in Bing’s search algorithm. 

Regardless, much like Google Business Profile, Bing Places for Business offers businesses free advertising space on a major search engine. Even if only 10% of your target consumer base uses Bing as a search engine, if they’re able to find you and convert via a local listing on Bing then this is worth the effort of setting one up and maintaining it.  

What is Bing’s stance on structured data and rich snippets?

Aside from rich media results being prominent, Bing likes to populate a lot of its search results around a number of queries with rich snippets such as featured answers and people also ask components. Given its recent integration of AI-generated answers in search results too (which reference source links), implementation of thorough structured data across your site where relevant is highly encouraged.

Bing supports the use of varying types of structured data from Schema.org, with guidelines well documented, and its Webmaster Tools platform, like Google’s, also has a built in structured data testing tool to allow your team to troubleshoot markup errors.

Implement the same Schema strategies for Bing as you would for Google and monitor rich snippet results as you go along.  

How does Bing view link building and backlinks?

Backlinks and link building play an important part in deciding search rankings for Bing, much like they do for Google and other search engines.

Bing have provided detailed documentation on link building approaches, and there are some interesting takeaways. Aside from disparaging typically spammy link building activities such as link farms, Bing mentions that buying links from carefully selected publishers can be a valid link building strategy as long as it is undertaken carefully. 

A key difference between Bing and Google is the importance of the PageRank factor. PageRank is a Google-defined term denoting a seal of approval if a site is linked to from a third-party high-quality link. In short, one link from a well-reputed publisher will be vastly superior to 50 links from poor ones. 

While Bing also values quality (as stated in their guidelines), there may be cause to be slightly more aggressive in your link building investments, potentially exoloring carefully measured paid link building activities as a means to organic growth.

In addition, given Bing also declares social media signals as a ranking factor, building backlinks from relevant social media platforms is encouraged.  

Any specific considerations for optimising multimedia on Bing?

Given Bing likes to feature a wide array of rich media results in its search results, and thus an important component of your company’s Bing SEO strategy is to take advantage of this as best possible. 

Make sure your SEO team are optimising imagery across your site with relevant alt text, captions and schema markup. If you’re deploying the use of videos, then as much information around these as possible – such as transcripts, descriptions and keywords.

Much like you would across social media, ensure that your multimedia assets load fast, are of a high production and are shareable. 

Bing SEO Case Study

Gaming business utilises quick paid link building campaign to ascend Bing rankings on competitive terms.

Problem: Within the highly-competitive gaming niche, a company was struggling to break through on rankings for core commercial terms on Google, though was aware that a proportion of its audience was arriving to the website via Bing.

Solution: Across a selection of commercial gaming keywords that were performing averagely across Google, the company undertook a carefully considered paid link building campaign with a view to performing better on Bing. While the campaign was short lived and the ranking improvements temporary, the company was able to improve its commercial intake from Bing during this time.  

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