SEO is a complicated process. If your optimization strategies have focused solely on Google’s algorithm, you’re not alone. But that singular focus could be limiting your potential for search engine results page (SERP) rankings on another search engine many online retailers have forgotten about: Bing.
Let’s break down the difference between Google and Bing SEO to bring you an advantage that could make a huge difference in your website’s success.
Why Does Bing Matter?
Google’s omnipresence as a search engine can make it seem like the only game in town. But Bing (not to be confused with Microsoft Advertising, which used to be called Bing Ads) has held its own over the past 11 years or so, quietly building a respectable place in the online market. Combined with its protégé Yahoo, Bing now dominates fully one-third of online searches in the U.S., putting it squarely in the number-two spot behind Google. That’s a huge chunk of potential customers you could be missing out on.
If you’re laser-focused on optimizing solely for Google’s algorithm, you’re overlooking the golden opportunity of an untapped market share that could nudge you ahead of your competition. However, your Google SEO is definitely not a wasted effort. Small tweaks in your SEO approach can tailor your website to an optimized advantage on both websites.
4 Key Differences Between Google and Bing SEO
The demographics of Bing users differ from those of Google users in some important ways. These differences should inform the way you optimize for the two search engines. In broad terms, Bing tends to appeal to users with blue-collar jobs whereas Google users skew more toward white-collar professions. There’s also an age difference, with people 35+ more likely to use Bing and those under 35 using Google. Bing’s user base is almost entirely in the U.S. while Google’s audience is worldwide.
With that in mind, let’s look at 4 key areas of SEO and see how playing to differences between Google and Bing can pay off.
- Keywords: Any SEO strategy begins with keywords, as they are your main touchpoint of communication between your website and a search engine. Think of Bing and Google as two very different types of communicators: Google is all about context and nuance whereas Bing values precision and exactitude. Because Google tries to understand search intent and website context clues to deliver the most accurate and meaningful results, creating pages with rich, comprehensive content that features strong topical relevance is more important than focusing on exact-match keywords. For Bing SEO, a more straightforward approach that incorporates precisely targeted keywords could yield better results.
- Backlinks: High-quality backlinks are valuable to both search engines, but as with keywords, the way they judge that value is different enough to inform a slightly different approach to each. For Google, quality outweighs quantity. A few authoritative backlinks coupled with high-quality content on your pages signals your website as a trustworthy resource worth citing. Bing, on the other hand, values domain age in a backlink, with a particular preference for domain extensions like .gov, .edu, and .org as high trust signals. Bing also skews slightly toward the number of backlinks, but an overabundance of spammy links can alienate either search engine.
- Social Signals:– Bing is all about the tweets, shares, likes, and +1s. This may seem counterintuitive, given Bing’s older demographic, but getting your website mentioned on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can really help you rank higher in Bing searches. Activity on these platforms sends a relevance signal and potentially moves you up the SERP. By contrast, Google places little to no emphasis on social signals for its ranking. This difference alone is a strong argument for including a social media component in your overall SEO strategy.
- Multimedia Content: Video, audio, and image-based content are very important in achieving higher Bing rankings. Not so much on Google. As a newer search engine, Bing includes an “entity understanding” feature. This allows it to accurately crawl and understand multimedia content — including Flash websites — with much greater proficiency than Google. Google counts images and video but does not weigh them as heavily as Bing does. As well, Flash websites are virtually invisible to Google. If your website contains high-quality videos, you’re in a great position to maximize your Bing SEO.
Common Ground for SEO on Bing and Google
While the difference between Google and Bing SEO seems stark, there are areas where the two overlap. Both search engines take location into account for rankings, so including geo-specific keywords for your business’s locale is a win-win. Likewise, user experience is paramount for both search engines. High-quality content with strong relevance in a dynamic, user-friendly context always achieves higher rankings on both Google and Bing.
The Takeaway: The Difference Between Google and Bing Matters
The bottom line is that implementing a strong SEO strategy requires more than relying on automation for your e-commerce success. Designing your website to address the difference between Google and Bing SEO preferences can give you an edge. Given Google’s influence, Bing is a largely untapped market that’s ripe for the picking. Ignoring these opportunities seems like a surefire path to frustration and stagnation in rankings.