A lot of the time I get asked about search engines other than Google. People want to know if they should be optimizing to show up in Bing, Google, and even Yandex. In this blog post I’m going to break down what is worth spending your time on and the truth about alternatives to Google.
Why People Minimize Bing
A lot of business owners I’ve talked to feel like “there is no reason to show up in Bing” since everyone uses Google. This is a reasonable argument, especially with more tech-savvy users. After all, Google’s market share was 91.88%, while Bing’s was at a measly 3.19% in 2022. But is there something we’re overlooking here…?
You’re Going To Show Up In Other Search Engines
Before I talk about some of the pros of Bing, I want to bring up an important point. Even if you only optimize for Google, you’re going to show up in Bing & Yahoo. That’s just the way it is.
Just like Google, these other search engines have robots that crawl the web looking for content. You shouldn’t mind this. More traffic is never a bad thing, provided these search engines properly describe your content in the results pages.
Here are some ways that Bing differs from Google.
Google nowadays focuses more on search intent and phrasing. This is obviously important to ensure they deliver the best matches possible for a user’s question. However, this can make things difficult for SEOs. Bing still focuses on meta keywords, or the ones that you specify using your SEO plugin in WordPress. (Or in HTML tags…)
Bing judges link quality differently. Bing looks for backlinks in smaller quantities, but with large authority. Bing doesn’t penalize buying links, while Google does.
I want to be clear: This doesn’t mean you should start going crazy with black hat SEO techniques over on Bing. I recommend playing the game by both Google & Bing’s rules. This way you don’t get penalized in one search engine. Remember: The goal here is to ultimately rank well in both!
While most SEO experts and major vocal players in the community have speculated Google looks at social signals, Google themselves have never been super open about this. Bing, on the other hand, has publicly stated that they play a major role in their algorithm.
Additionally, the search results pages in Bing actually show reviews from social media. This is a huge opportunity to build trust with prospects.
Images & Video Matter More
Bing looks at images and video more than Google, who still looks at text for the majority of search results. Creating and uploading original, high quality images can make a world of difference with your Bing ranking.
Bing focuses more on more important pages of your website and crawls less frequently. I highly recommend using Bing Webmaster Tools to submit a sitemap (more on this later on.) A cool thing that Bing does that Google doesn’t, however, is they give users the ability to submit URLs in bulk. These are then indexed systematically.
Okay, Bing has less overall users than Google. But despite that, there’s some really powerful pros to using Bing to market your business or website.
Number of Users: Still A Lot!
Remember the market share statistic I brought up earlier? Well 3.19% is still a whopping 1.114 billion users…per month! You don’t want to miss out on tapping into that.
Bing Traffic Has Higher Conversions
Some marketers have noticed a correlation between a higher conversion rate and Bing as an acquisition channel. In other words, users landing on their site from Bing have turned into paying customers more often than Google. A common theory is that this is due to Bing’s demographic being older (generally around 35+) so they have more money to spend.
Need To Target Parents…?
Well, good news! 57% of Bing users reportedly have children at home according to Microsoft Advertising. If you have a product geared towards children or parents, Bing may be worth considering as a traffic source.
Reportedly 34% of Bing users have a household incoming in the top 25%! If you are promoting high ticket products or services, consider using Bing to do so. Or if you’re doing SEO to build niche sites or promote products as an affiliate, this search engine may be the better alternative.
55% Of Users Are Prospects
An estimate of 55% of Bing users use search to do product research. 38% of users surveyed stated they use Bing to discover brands. I’ve mentioned the customer journey on this blog many times before, and the reality is as a marketer you need to snag them when they have questions. That way you can push them to take the next step with your business through calls to action in your content.
More Autocomplete Suggestions
Bing actually provides users with more autocomplete options when doing a search. If you aren’t familiar with what autocomplete is, this is when a search engine tries to fill in your search for you. You’ve probably seen this before when using Google.
This data is pulled from previous searches users have done. This is search engines trying to make your life easier, and most people consider autocomplete to be a user experience feature.
This can be great for keyword research, as you can see what people are really typing in and how they are wording things.
Bing’s Better Features For Users
While this doesn’t directly involve SEO for your business website itself, some users actually prefer to use Bing because of their better features. I wanted to include this so that you have a bigger picture on how this search engine works.
For people who care about online privacy, this is a big one. Bing actually collects less data on its users than Google does. The primary data Bing collects involves geotagged images and user language, which is nothing compared to what Google collects!
Automatically Open In New Tab
Bing actually lets users select an option to automatically open search results in a new tab or window. This is a really nifty feature that can be useful if you are doing research or trying to pull up more than one result at a time.
No Need For A VPN
If you want to see how search results look in a different country, Bing will let you do this without any additional tools or software required. You can change your country or region inside of Bing Settings. This is a really awesome feature that can make your life a lot easier, especially if you are an SEO working with a business or website that is trying to rank globally.
Instead of having to bookmark content you want to save for later, Bing lets you add it to a section of their website called “My Saves.” You can also set interests so that Bing will bring up search suggestions that you are interested in.
I’ve actually been running into captchas a LOT lately while using Google. I think this is due to being a power user. When Google detects behavior that differs from the masses, it’ll force you to complete a captcha before you can get the search results page. This is their way of preventing bots from using their search engine. (A bit hypocritical, considering that Google themselves use bots to scour the web.)
Bing also doesn’t restrict VPN or Tor searches, either.
Focus On Google, But…
Okay, I know that was a lot. But hopefully now you can see there are many advantages to showing up in Bing search as well. But here’s the deal.
Google still has 4.3 billion monthly users! At the end of the day, as an SEO 99% of your time should be focused on Google. With that being said, you should still do some basic Bing optimizations.
Create Your Bing Places Listing
If you are a local business, you’ll want to show up in Bing Maps. Bing Places is similar to Google My Business, in that it lets you create a free listing for your business. When a customer performs a local search, your business information can show up along with hours of operation, address, and phone number.
Submit A Sitemap
I talked about this earlier. The gist is we want to make sure Bing indexes all of the pages on our website sooner rather than later, especially with how they index more infrequently than Google. Bing Webmaster Tools has a sitemaps section where you can submit yours. It’s very similar to the process with Google Search Console.
I’m not going to go super deep on sitemaps, since I’ve covered them plenty of times on this blog before. The short and simple version is that plugins like Yoast SEO automatically create these for you. When you submit a sitemap to a search engine, they read it off of your website.
Yoast will update your sitemap over time as new pages and posts are published on your website. This keeps Google & Bing up to date with your content so that it continues to show up in search.
Occasionally Check Bing Webmaster Tools
I recommend doing this every couple of months. Look for any issues indexing, errors with your website, or notifications inside Bing Webmaster Tools. This should be routine for you or your team, just like working with Google Search Console.
It Boils Down To The Same Formula
At the end of the day, by focusing on the same things as you would with Google you will automatically be indexed and ranked by all the major search engines. By following proven SEO processes and techniques, you will get results. Continue creating high quality content and providing value to searchers. That is how you ultimately win the game of SEO.
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