The Big Bing Is Happening

Allow me to inform you that the big Bing is happening right now, and here is how Bings SEO & Ranking Factors offer the greatest opportunity in SEO today

A lot of people do not pay attention to Bing SEO or ranking factors and purely focus on trying to rank in Google and nothing else. However over the last couple of years Bing’s market share has been slowly increasing as Microsoft try to challenge Google in the search arena.

If you were paying attention lately you will have noticed a fundamental shift in search that is going to affect us all.
“The Big Bing Has Already Happened”

I’m officially dubbing the term ‘The Big Bing’ to mark the day that a simple browser update changed the world of search forever. Mozilla released version 34 of its Firefox browser on the 1st of December 2014. At the very top of the release notes is a critical piece of information that is going to change the search landscape forever.

Firefox have removed Google as the default search engine and replaced it with Yahoo! If you didn’t know, it just so happens that Bing powers Yahoo’s search results.

Interestingly they also removed Google as the default search engine for Russia as well which suggests they might remove Google as the default from other country’s in the future.

What Does That Actually Mean?

Let me get straight to the point – US search share for Yahoo jumped from 9.64% to 29.4% overnight for users of the new Firefox. Google usage dropped from 82.14% to 63.46%. In 24 hours.

Is Bing Traffic Valuable?

I have heard lots of claim from people that Bing traffic isn’t worth as much, it doesn’t convert, people don’t buy things and so on.

So I decided to look at my own data to measure the quality of Bing traffic and this is what I saw-

bing-vs-google

That data tells me everything I need to know.

Traffic coming from Bing, has a lower bounce rate, more page visits, more time spent on site.
More Subscribes to my list and more affiliate links clicked.

Take a look at your own data before passing judgement though!

The Great Bing Advantage

The best thing about change, is people hate change. Change pushes people out of their comfort zones and humans are wired to avoid that. So for those that are willing to evolve with change there is a great opportunity here.

Since 1998 SEO’s have purely focused on ranking sites in Google, for 16 solid years Google has had the sole attention of nearly every single SEO on the planet. This had made Google’s search results highly competitive against people that have fine tuned their SEO skill sets for more than a decade. Bing however has been largely ignored, the general theory is that if you are ranking well in Google you will rank well in Bing too.

But that is not the case, the algorithms are very different, just compare search results for the same term and you will quickly see what I mean. So it is important that you understand those key differences to take advantage of ‘The Big Bing’ (it will catch on).

Bing Marketing Free Tools & Resources

So with that said and before we get into the top Bing ranking factors you need to familiarise yourself with all of the free Bing marketing tools & resources.

Unlike Google, Microsoft actually produce a number of very helpful tools & guidelines for Bing SEO.

It is also worth noting that Bing are very SEO friendly as evident from the tools they offer.

Bing Webmaster Guidelines

First of all you should have a read of the Bing Webmaster Guidelines and get yourself upto speed.

It is no way near as long/complicated as Google’s guidelines so it won’t take you long to read and absorb.

Bing Webmaster Tools

The Bing Webmaster Tools is superb – if you haven’t got your site setup in there yet do it now.

It provides an awesome suite of tools including a backlink explorer! You can also see exactly which keywords you rank for, how your site indexes, diagnose problems and much more.

As of right now you will also get $100 of free advertising credit to play with – sweet!

Bing SEO Analyzer

The Bing SEO Analyzer is also a great tool to discover if your pages are following Bing SEO best practices.

Just enter your URL and it will return a list of suggestions to improve your rankings across Bing & Yahoo.

Microsoft SEO Tool Kit

More of an unknown tool the free Microsoft SEO Tool Kit is a desktop application that spiders your website to find SEO problems.

It is very easy to use and well – it is 100% free so what is not to like!

Bing Webmaster Blog

Just like Google there is also a Bing Webmasters Blog which you should have a read through & subscribe to.

Some of the posts are actually quite entertaining and often have golden nuggets buried within!

Bing Search Quality Blog

Imagine if Matt Cutts and all of the Google search quality/anti spam team published a blog sharing what they’ve been trying & testing.

Well Bing do exactly that with their Search Quality Blog that offers some amazing insights into the world of search.

Contacting The Bing Webmaster Team

Last but not least, perhaps one of the best tools is the ability to contact the Bing webmaster team.

So if your site does have problems or gets hit for any reason you can easily get in touch with the team directly to work things out.

The Top Bing Ranking Factors

So what makes Bing tick at it’s core?

What are the key differences between ranking in Google & Bing?

User Engagement Is Very Important

One of the strongest signals in Bing is user engagement, having strong user engagement will increase your rankings in Bing.

They measure this through a term known as ‘pogo sticking’ which is when someone performs a search, clicks on a result and then clicks back to return to the search results.

If lots of people visit your site from the search results and click the ‘back’ button then this is a clear indication of poor user engagement to Bing.

However if lots of people visit your site from the search results and do not go back to them to continue searching – this is a very very strong signal.

Click Through Rates Matters

Bing also measures click through rates from it’s search result pages and uses that data combined with the user engagement data above to improve its results.

For example all things being equal, if the #1 position gets a 20% click through rate but the #2 position gets 40% – this is a clear indication that the #2 result is more relevant.

This means you have to write your titles and descriptions with humans in mind while being specific with your keyword. Think keyword based click bait.

Social Signals Do Matter

There is a lot of debate on whether social signals impact Google search rankings.

I can categorically tell you with 100% certainty that they do and I’ve been using them to rank consistently for the past 2 years. So rather than getting caught up in the change debate you should be making social signals a core part of your SEO strategy now. It affects you rankings in Google and it affects your rankings in Bing.

However Bing actually return posts from Facebook & Twitter embedded directly into search results that stand out from normal web results.

Bing has a much stronger reliance on social signals than Google – use that to your advantage and you will see benefits in both search engines.

Bing Authorship

Google introduced Authorship allowing people to claim content they have written so Google can determine who are the true experts in any given industry.

Granted they have removed the pretty little pictures from search results now, but Authorship is here to stay.

Bing has it’s own version of Authorship after they integrated Klout verified snapshots.

The Bing search results will then show-

Your LinkedIn summary
Other social profiles
Klout score
Influential topics
2 most influential moments from Twitter in the past 7 days
2 most influential posts from Instagram in the past 90 days.

You can also take advantage of the Bing connected pages feature.

Backlinks Are Less Important

It is important to note is that backlinks are less important in Bing then they are in Google.

If you compare the search results between Bing & Google you will notice that the top ranking sites in Bing have noticeably less backlinks.

However Bing does favour ‘editorial’ type links from within body content rather than coming from a sidebar, footer or list of links and site relevancy does matter.

Inbound Anchor Text Is More Important

Bing puts more emphasis on the anchor text usage than Google does. So if you want to rank for ‘Blue Widgets’ you need links that use the ‘Blue Widgets’ anchor text.

Bing isn’t as good as Google at keyword matching – so while Google does well with recogising synonyms and context around a keyword, Bing need spoon feeding specifically.

However the risk here is that over optimising your anchor text will trip the Google Penguin filter.

So the trick here is to make sure that the links coming from high authority sites focus on exact anchors while the other use a mix of anchor terms.

That will allow you rank in Bing while dodging Google Penguin.

Keyword Domains Matter

Having your keyword in your domain name will help you to rank in Bing easier. It isn’t critical but it does help.

However Google does have a filter for exact match domain names so it is best to use a domain that includes your keyword but isn’t an exact match.

The only problem with that is

Page Authority Is More Important

The other thing that you will notice when comparing search results is where Bing doesn’t place as much weight on backlinks, it does place weight on site authority.

It is much harder to rank a new domain in Bing than it is in Google. Having an aged domain will give you an extra leg up across Bing’s results.

So if you have an older domain that includes your keyword you are golden. If you just have an older domain your in a strong position as well. Where you don’t want to be is with a brand new domain.

PageRank Is Irrelevant

PageRank is a measurement of authority created in the early days of Google although it is not as relevant as it once was and hasn’t been updated for a long time now.

However it is important to note that Google PageRank does not seem to have any correlation with Bing rankings – makes sense.

Content & Keyword Density Is Important

Bing prefers sites that have lots of unique content. They place much higher value on longer more engaging content than shorter content.

Just like they are behind Google in how they process language in anchor text, the same applies to your content as well.

You need to feed Bing the specific keyword you want your page to rank for. It is much better to focus on 1 page per keyword with Bing, but again be careful you don’t trip Google Panda by offering duplicate content.

Also Bing trys to eliminate duplicate content at the point of indexing. Redudant content is recognized and eliminated from search result pages but may still be available in the index.

Site Structure & Code Is Important

Bing offer a few interesting pieces of advice around your site structure and coding.

First of all they advise that content should be organized close to the surface. In other words no content should be more than 3 clicks away from the homepage.

You should also use a broad to specific structure flow. So you might go with SEO > Link Building > Blog Networks or Garden > Furniture > Chairs for example.

General Onsite Optimisation

Onsite optimization is similar for Bing as it is to Google. You want to make sure your using meta title & description tags which include your exact match keyword.

Bing places a lot of emphasis on title tags but keep the user engagement signals in mind.

You should only have 1 H1 tag per page to establish the main topic then use the H2 and H3 tags to talk about sub topics.

It is also worth noting that sometimes Bing will swap out your meta description with your H1 tag in the search results so be creating with your headings – don’t just rely on exact match headings.

HTTPS Is Not A Ranking Factor

Google recently announced that HTTPS is now used as a ranking signal – although a very minor one.

Bing Lead Program Manager Vincent Wehren said that HTTPs is not a ranking factor and they would not bring it in because they don’t want to mess around with rankings based on a factor that has no real relevance.

How to Choose the Right SEO Software

Introduction

Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO as it is more commonly known, is a skill to some, black magic to others, but essential to anyone responsible for running a web site. Many people pay extortionate fees to SEO agencies who promise to get a site to the number one Google ranking then fail to even make it into the top ten. The bad news is that sometimes this just can’t be helped and it’s unlikely Bob’s Pet Shop in small-town Texas is ever going to make it to the number one spot for most pet related search terms, but by taking matters in to your own hands you can gain a much better understanding of why it can’t and what it should do instead. This is where SEO tools and services come into play. Most are quite easy to use, but to really understand what they are saying you will probably want to read up on the subject. However, doing our best to make things easy to understand, here’s what we were looking at when reviewing the best and worst SEO tools out there.

Types of Tools

There are different categories of SEO tools and services available. Some monitor various aspects of your site to give you a picture of how well it is doing at attracting traffic and where it is placed in search rankings around the web. Others take a more active approach to SEO and try to either make suggestions on how to improve your site’s search rankings or automate the process and perform tasks to push your site’s ranking up. The former are always very useful, especially if you know what you are looking for and can interpret the data. The latter you have to be more careful with as they can often ruin your site’s reputation by employing frowned-upon tactics.

It’s also useful to pay attention to how you access the tool you are interested in. There’s a fairly even split of tools that run on your computer and tools that run in ‘The Cloud’. Running on your own computer means installing the software, keeping it updated and also backing up the data in case of a crash. This can be quite a hassle which is why we think it’s best to opt for a tool that runs on the web and you can simply access it through a web browser. This means you can access it from anywhere and let the provider take care of all the details of running it.

Reporting

At their core many of the tools and services we looked at are reporting tools that present you with all the necessary data to make informed decisions about where to take your SEO strategy. Since data is the single most important thing in SEO, it’s clear that good reporting is essential. Of course everyone has their own preference when it comes to visualising data, but it’s worth trying out a few different services at first to see what style suits you best.

Another point to look out for in terms of the data available is whether or not a service has its own database or relies on data from a third party collator. If data is being pulled in from a third party you may find yourself incurring extra charges if you go above your monthly quota for queries. There are only a few major sources of this type of data out there so it is quite likely that a service will be pulling it in from outside, but as long as you are savvy in the plan you sign up for everything should go smoothly.

Terms of the Price Plan

In a product such as an SEO tool where it is difficult for services to differentiate based on the features they offer, you will find many services differentiate plans based on how many campaigns you can run or how many search terms you can track. These can be widely different from service to service with some allowing you to track an unlimited number of keywords while others limit you to a handful. Just remember that if you are only responsible for one site you probably won’t be interested in tracking hundreds of keywords and so you may get a better level of service or save money by opting for a plan that limits how many you can track.

SEO Advice

As we have mentioned, many SEO services just offer reporting and monitoring, but others do try to help you with practical advice on how to improve your site’s rankings. The technology behind this can often be quite clever and the best examples we have seen break things down into easy to manage and easy to follow tasks. Tasks are usually things like ‘fix this broken link’ or ‘submit your site here’ and can be carried out by people without much technical knowledge. If your site has never been optimized then simply carrying out these tasks can have a massive effect on your site’s rankings. Essentially it’s just what a SEO agency would do so you can save yourself a lot of money by doing it yourself.

Automation

If you aren’t so keen on doing everything manually there is a category of SEO tool that tries to automate most of the optimization process for you. However, these can be very dangerous because they may do things that Google’s search ranking algorithm will detect as spamming and therefore downgrade your site’s ranking. Even if things seem to go well a change to Google’s algorithm can spell disaster if you resort to these sorts of techniques, as many sites have recently found out. Some of these tools can be quite clever and will submit your site to online directories, build links and even generate semi-original content to submit to online article directories. We wouldn’t recommend you go down this route unless you fully understand what you are doing, but the tools are there, and quite advanced, if you are interested.

The Bottom Line

SEO needn’t be difficult or a black art. Using the right tools someone with very little technical knowledge can make huge improvements to a site’s search rankings. Even if this just takes the grunt work out of it, you can leave the fine tuning to the expensive agencies and be on track to save a lot of money. After reading this guide you should be well equipped to check out our reviews and decide on the type of tools you think you need depending on how experienced you are. Good luck achieving the holy grail of a number one Google ranking for your site!