The Beginner’s Guide to Optimizing for Bing Search
On the surface, it doesn’t appear Bing gets much search traffic, but when you consider it also powers Yahoo, you start realizing that perhaps optimizing for Bing isn’t such a bad idea.
Here’s what Bing and Yahoo’s search traffic looks like compared to Google’s:
Although even combined, they still represent a fraction of Google’s search traffic, that’s still a large audience that should be catered to.
Optimizing for Bing differs a little bit from optimizing for Google. The companies use different proprietary algorithms to produce results, and each weighs various factors differently.
Because Google is the largest search engine on the planet, most SEO guides focus specifically on how to rank for Google. This guide is meant to get you started with the competition, both Bing and Yahoo, which are powered by Bing’s search engine.
1. Claim your business
Just like on Google, you need to claim your business on both Bing and Yahoo to maximize local search results.
To do this, you need to visit Bing Places for Business and create or claim ownership over your business listing.
Yahoo’s local business search results utilize Bing’s business listings instead of its own, which show up as local business listings on a site called Yext. Eric Shanfelt does a great job explaining the complicated business structure Yahoo employs to deliver local business listings here—if you’re interested.
Still, you can register on Yext, instructions for which are included in Shanfelt’s blog.
Once you’ve registered your business with Bing, you’ll need to register your website the same way you did when registering it with Google, by indexing your site.
2. Get your site indexed
Since Bing is now in the driver’s seat, Bing’s Webmaster Tools replaced Yahoo Webmaster Tools, so you have to submit your site to only one place for both search engines.
Here’s what it looks like:
First, you need to create a Bing login. You can use your Outlook (Hotmail if you’re grandfathered in from those days) or Microsoft login to do that.
Then, you can visit the Bing Website Submission page and fill out the forms as shown above to submit your website.
You’ll also need the URL address for the XML sitemap of your site.
Then, you need to verify ownership by copying and pasting the provided code into the proper section of WordPress.
Like anything Microsoft, Bing has an extensive set of instructions on how to do this on the Bing website.
Once you have everything registered, you should be indexed within a few minutes and start noticing traffic trickling in by the end of the year.
Download this quick beginner’s guide to optimizing for Bing search.
3. Tag and categorize your site
Like with any other search engine, tags and categories help make your content discoverable to the right audiences for the right searches.
WordPress makes adding tags and categories easy for each post and page created. These vital labels tell both robotic algorithms and human readers what to expect from the post, much like a title or header would.
Here’s what WordPress’s Tags and Categories look like:
Both the slug and description of a tag help further explain the content’s purpose. These are signals used in sitemaps to identify sections. It’s helpful for search engines to identify content in order to deliver appropriate ad experiences through their platforms.
Of all the SEO tips and tricks, tags and categories are the most important as they give the overall picture of what your website is really about. Without them, bounce rates go up and organic search traffic goes down.
4. Use SEO keywords in proper context
The usage of relevant keywords has proven an important search ranking factor in search engines across the board, and Bing is no different. Here’s a chart of how Bing and Google compare to each other when it comes to keywords:
While factors such as internal links are less important in Bing than Google, relevant, contextual keywords are still vital. This is why blogging is one of the most widely used forms of content marketing in the business world today.
Hire a professional ghostwriter or copywriter to ensure each page of your website is fully optimized with marketing slogans and other ad copy that gives descriptive information around the keywords you want to focus on.
For example, in the vaping industry, you’d want to describe features of your mechanical mod boxes so search engines understand what traffic to send your way.
Bing’s algorithms, like Google’s, take the surrounding 5-7 words for each keyword along with its density within the content into account when determining search rankings. You can’t just spam “Vape vape vape vape” to rank for vape products.
You need to offer “ejuice, mods, wicks, tanks, and other accessories” to really make an impact.
5. Connect to social networks
Another method you should be using to help drive Bing search results is integrating social media into your SEO strategy. This merging of social media and SEO is practiced successfully by 74 percent of marketing departments already.
To link social media accounts to WordPress, you need the Jetpack plugin, which is typically installed by default in managed WordPress sites hosted by providers such as GoDaddy. But it can also be installed manually. Search for it in WordPress plugins or find it on the WordPress website.
With Jetpack installed, you can link your social media accounts—Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, and more—to your blog to ensure every post is automatically promoted on those sites with backlinks.
Here’s what it looks like:
Marketers often debate the importance of social signals in search engine rankings, despite the fact that several studies showed they do affect search results.
In Bing specifically, results viewed by your Facebook friends will often be featured in SERPs.
Whether or not it specifically helps Bing search results doesn’t matter. Why? Because social networks have large audiences you need to be in front of anyway.
Here’s a breakdown of the number of active social media users on each social platform:
Whether you use social media marketing for improving your search results or not, understanding that these two aspects of your online presence go hand-in-hand is the most important takeaway.
6. Avoid black-hat techniques
As you well know, there are black-hat and white-hat SEO techniques. Black-hat techniques are tactics that, while may work, violate the search engine’s terms of usage and can get your website banned. White-hat techniques both work and follow the rules.
Don’t use black-hat SEO techniques on Bing as it’s not worth the risk.
These include keyword spamming, creating fake sites, and more. Here’s a chart of black-hat SEO tactics to avoid:
These black-hat SEO techniques may sound like a good idea on paper, but they’re not sustainable. JC Penney was infamously removed from Google temporarily after being found using black-hat techniques by the NY Times.
Bing is no different. If your site is found to be using black-hat SEO, there’s a good chance you’ll be removed from the index and lose all the time and effort you put into building your rankings.
On Bing, this removal is especially problematic as the age of a website is a ranking factor that isn’t weighed heavily on Google. Sites that stay up longer are more likely to have results presented at the top of Bing SERPs, so a ban can be detrimental to Bing searches.
7. Feature great content
According to Search Engine Land, using a search engine is the most popular first action a customer takes before making a web-based purchase.
If you want to be featured in those results, you’ll need great content to draw organic search traffic.
Bing especially looks at content quality, which is defined as authority, utility, and presentation. All web content needs to satisfy this trifecta to have a fighting chance to be the top Bing search result.
Content is king online, and to reign supreme on Bing, you need quality content to satisfy its strict requirements.
As laid out by Buffer, the ideal blog length is 1,600 words, which takes the average person about 7 minutes to digest and move on.
Each blog post you create for your website needs to be approximately 1,600 words of quality content to maximize your chances on Bing and Yahoo. This means it has to be well-researched, well-sourced, and well-cited, and it needs to include lots of great images.
If the quality of your content isn’t up to this standard, you’re basically wasting your time as you’re unlikely to rank well on Bing.
Although they may not draw the online traffic of Google, Bing and Yahoo combined are still a powerful search option used by people around the world.
Reaching this demographic requires focusing on contextual keywords and proper formatting. Users of Yahoo and Bing have been found to be more educated and make more money, so it’s the perfect place for businesses to reach their audiences.
Unlike Google, Bing traffic is more heavily influenced by Facebook, contextual keywords, and ad-free experiences. Site age is another important factor, so it can take time to build traffic on the search engine.
Have you had success ranking websites on Bing? What advanced strategies did you use to accomplish it?