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As you look for ways to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, you’ll notice that most of the attention is on Google. But overwhelming popularity doesn’t always equate to value.
In 2021, Microsoft’s Bing search engine offers an opportunity to capitalize on billions of monthly searches that your competitors may be overlooking. While they focus strictly on Google, you may be able to dominate Bing searches to drive traffic, leads, and sales with Bing SEO.
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What is Bing SEO?
Bing SEO is a digital marketing strategy aimed at improving the visibility of your web pages in the Bing search engine. This strategy helps you increase traffic by making your web pages easier for Bing to categorize while also making them more user-friendly.
While Google holds the majority share of all search engine activity, Bing still represents more than 10% of all desktop search traffic.
The total increases further when you factor in a portion of Yahoo searches which are powered by Bing. Even then, the figure might still seem small – until you consider that their market share equates to roughly 3 billion searches per month.
So yes, Google commands the largest market share. But the opportunity to capture Yahoo and Bing searches is simply too great to pass up.
Like Google, Bing search results are ranked by a complex algorithm. It evaluates top criteria like content relevancy, quality, recency, and load time to determine the value of each page.
Unlike Google, however, Bing is much more open about how exactly it ranks content and which SEO techniques marketers should focus on the most.
How does Bing rank web pages?
Behind the scenes of search engines lie a software called Bingbot which discovers new content for its results pages. This software facilitates a process called “crawling” which involves analyzing web pages to decide how to display them to users on search engine results pages.
Bots called “crawlers” search through web pages, collecting information on the content as they go. They use this information to understand the content’s focus topic and to categorize the page accordingly.
Once crawlers have finished their analysis, web pages are added to what’s called an “index,” or a giant database of web pages. Content that is indexed then gets displayed in search results according to a ranking system that puts the most relevant and high-quality results at the top of the page.
Each search engine has a unique system for ranking content, assigning value to various components. Some of the most important Bing ranking factors include:
- Social media presence and interaction
- Page authority score
- Click-through rate (CTR) performance
- User-friendliness and audience engagement
- Backlink presence
Understanding how the search engine finds, analyzes, and ranks content is important for creating web pages that rank in Bing. You can read the Bing Webmaster Guidelines to learn more about how Bing approaches this process and where to devote your attention.
How to do SEO for Bing
If you are familiar with content marketing, you may already know some optimization strategies. Since Bing has a different algorithm than Google, however, the techniques that you should implement also differ.
Luckily, Bing’s transparency surrounding its SEO policies and best practices make it easy to focus on the right areas. Here are some of the most effective ways to do SEO for Bing search rankings.
Make sure your site is indexed by Bing
If the search engine doesn’t have your web pages in its index, it won’t be able to display them on SERPs. There are three primary ways to ensure your site is properly indexed:
- Submit an XML sitemap that is “clean,” meaning that at least 99% of the links and pages are working correctly. You can do this by adding the map to your robots.txt file or uploading it to your Bing Webmaster Tools dashboard under the “Sitemaps” tab.
- Conduct a Bing search for your website using this syntax: site:yoursite.com in order to see the number of pages (results) show up. If you notice that you have much fewer results than web pages, you have an indexing issue to address.
- Increase your site’s crawl rate in the Bing Webmaster Tools console so that frequently-added pages are indexed faster.
Once you’ve determined that your site is efficiently crawled and properly indexed, you just need to check periodically throughout the year to make sure the process continues running smoothly. Getting your pages indexed is the first step in optimizing your site performance.
Use straightforward keywords
Bing understands direct searches very well. Unlike Google, however, it doesn’t do as well interpreting more complex search queries.
The Google search algorithm has grown from a series of machine learning technologies that can analyze and understand semantic searches. It can assess things like:
- Long-tail keywords
- Voice searches and commands
- Context clues
- Question-based search terms
Bing doesn’t have all of these same capabilities, so when conducting keyword research, you want to find terms that are straightforward and simple. As you produce content, you want to incorporate exact keywords to help crawlers identify clearly what you’re targeting.
This may prove a bit more difficult if you try to optimize for long-tail keywords, but just remember that you don’t need to use the keyword in every other sentence. Simply find a way to use the word or phrase naturally in multiple areas (title, description, header, meta tags, etc.) to get your point across and communicate relevance.
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Create high-quality content
Because search engines look for the very best content for their users, ensure user experience at the forefront of your content creation strategy.
High-quality web content is deliberate in its goal to provide an answer for the search query, a process called “satisfying user intent.”
With each keyword you target, you want to consider the type of information or resources a user might be looking for:
- Navigational: The user is looking for a specific site or resource.
- Informational: The user is looking for information on a topic.
- Commercial: The user is looking to research a potential purchase.
- Transactional: The user is looking to buy a product or service.
When you provide the exact content that users are searching for, you may see a decrease in metrics like bounce rate or an increase in your dwell time, and these both signal to Bing that your web page has value.
High-quality content also includes the use of elements like:
- Navigation menus
- Internal links
- Multimedia (images, videos, etc.)
- Comprehensive writing approach/explanation of topic
Overall, if you want people to remain on your website, you need to ensure that the content is relevant, comprehensive, and engaging all at once.
Write great meta titles and descriptions
Meta titles and descriptions represent your web page to users. As such, you want to make a great first impression by making them as interesting yet comprehensive as possible.
Title tags are an important Bing ranking factor, given that they are the gateway between the user and your web page. Create excellent title tags by:
- Avoiding repetition
- Using your focus keyword
- Writing unique titles for each page
- Describing the content’s topic
- Including a call-to-action
Writing the perfect meta description depends on the type of content you have and what your audience needs from it. While you might give prices or product descriptions on an ecommerce web page, this may not be as effective for an informational search.
If the user’s search signifies their interest in simply learning more about a topic, explain to them why your resource is the most valuable. Does it approach the subject from a unique angle? Include diagrams? Contain proprietary data analysis, case studies, or similar information?
Here is an example of a well-written meta title and description for the search term “buying a road bike:”
Even though the content comes from 2017, Bing still considers this post the most helpful and relevant information for its users. That is because the description addresses one of the most important buying criteria that users have: budget.
Plus, even in the URL you can see the term “expert advice.” You’ll learn that these small details go a long way in convincing users to interact with your page.
Consider meta keywords
Although Google no longer uses them for ranking purposes, Bing results show evidence that meta keywords may impact SEO.
Consider the following best practices for adding meta keywords on your site:
- Use ten or less tags per page.
- Target misspelled search terms.
- Incorporate keywords that your competitors are targeting.
While this SEO technique may not target a significant ranking factor, it can be effective for increasing your page’s relevancy during the crawling process. Adding these meta tags provides crawlers with even more information to properly index your page for the search engine.
Search engines are constantly evolving to diversify the search experience for each unique user, and the development for image search is one of the results of this evolution. Bing Images displays high-quality pictures and infographics for users, and having your own content there can be a way to expand your demographic.
Optimizing images for SEO is important because it:
- Reduces your page loading time
- Enhances your content
- Increases your chances of receiving backlinks and social shares
- Can get your content featured on the Bing Images tab
- Makes your images accessible to visually impaired users
- Can earn you more visitors through image search
To fully optimize your images and raise your content to the next level:
- Compress images to an appropriate size.
- Cache your file data.
- Add HTML alt text to them.
- Use responsive image files.
- Consider using lazy loading in your page design.
Not only will these SEO techniques improve your site’s functionality and user experience, they’ll also make it easier for crawlers to understand the visual content on the page. Both of these outcomes may ultimately lead to better rankings and increased web traffic.
Optimize for click-through rate
When it comes to Google SEO, CTR is considered a worthwhile SEO metric to track but it isn’t explicitly stated as a ranking factor. The team at Bing, however, has openly acknowledged that they use CTR and other user engagement metrics to determine rankings.
The overall idea is that if a web page receives more clicks, it must be appealing to searchers. CTR demonstrates to Bing that a web page is relevant – one of the most important SEO criteria to target.
Consider implementing some of these CTR SEO tactics in order to grow your traffic:
- Adding schema markup to your site
- Writing SEO-friendly URLs
- Using a trusted domain name like .edu or .gov
- Improving engagement metrics like dwell time and bounce rate
- Enhancing your page titles
These strategies not only make your content more valuable to searchers, but they also improve the overall strength of your brand’s online presence.
Link building is still considered to be one of the most powerful SEO techniques on Google, but this isn’t quite the case for Bing.
Having backlinks is still an important show of credibility and value, but Bing places a heavier emphasis on quality links than the overall quantity. This is a deviation from the common SEO best practice of generating many backlinks from across the web.
This means that as you generate backlinks for Bing SEO:
- Use white hat SEO strategies only.
- Seek out guest posting opportunities from other credible sites.
- Make a point to target backlinks from industry-leading sources.
- Capitalize on the opportunity to become well-known for something within your niche (making infographics, writing in-depth articles, doing industry research, etc.)
Remember, Bing wants to see quality over quantity but you still want to spread the word about your brand through backlinks. Whenever you have the chance to add value to your industry via high-quality content creation, you should take advantage of it.
Use social media marketing
In regards to social media presence, Bing interprets it as a sign of influence and relevance. Unlike Google, Bing takes into account a brand’s activity on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more.
Brands like Wendy’s have used social media to create strong loyalty and engagement, developing an online personality that earns headlines across the web:
And while its strategy of aggressively addressing detractors in the comments sections of its posts may not be the best approach for your business, it’s a powerful form of marketing. Your Bing SEO strategy can be enhanced through the use of social signals which demonstrate that:
- You have something important to add to your industry.
- People like engaging with your content.
- Your brand is able to capture attention (a skill that works well on SERPs).
- You want to improve the user experience.
- Users find your content interesting or helpful.
Just be wary of how you manage and grow your social media presence. Bing will most likely be able to tell if you buy followers. Plus, starting a social media account and leaving it unattended can do more harm than good.
Lack of recency in your posts may signal the search engine that you’re no longer active in your industry. Before implementing social accounts, have a strategy for how you will use them to your advantage.
Tools for Bing SEO
SEO strategies can be detailed and time-consuming. That’s why using SEO tools and resources to automate, simplify, and streamline your efforts can save you valuable time that you can invest in other areas of your business.
The top resource you can use is the Bing Webmaster Tools. This is simply because you are going directly to the source of all things related to Bing. It has valuable information on things like:
- Creating and submitting sitemaps
- SEO copywriting and content creation
- Meta tag use and optimization
- Practices and strategies to avoid
- Properly implementing redirects
It is an all-around excellent resource that you can always refer back to if needed, and Search Engine Journal has a Bing Webmaster Tools guide that you can use if you get stuck.
There are several other tools for Bing optimization:
- SE Ranking: Analysis software that gives you feedback on your SEO performance
- Robots.txt Generator: A site that creates a robots.txt file for your website.
- Reverse IP Lookup: This service searches for spammy sites that share your server, alerting you to potential security issues.
- Bing URL Submission: WordPress plugin that helps you speed up the indexing process.
- Answer the Public: This is a keyword planning site that helps you look for content ideas.
- Copyscape: A tool that will search the internet for any duplicate content that pops up.
- Moz Local Listing Score: Resource that analyzes your business listing across multiple search engines (including Bing).
These tools (and others like them) will make it easier for you to implement your Bing SEO strategy and monitor your content’s performance.
Get a complimentary SEO audit
When it comes to website optimization, most eyes are on Google. Bing provides you the opportunity to tap into billions of search results that your competitors are sleeping on.
Listening to Bing’s transparent SEO recommendations, implementing SEO tactics, and using tools to simplify the process can strengthen your industry market share. And this will be a more cost-effective way to make it happen, as well.
Want to see how you’re doing with SEO? Get an instant SEO audit below. Or, schedule a free consultation to see how intent SEO can boost search traffic revenue by 700%.