Google is the king of search industry. There is no doubt about it, but still not everyone uses Google. In fact, only around 60 percent of people use Google to search (ComScore Data), and rest of them uses other search engines. Bing and Yahoo (which is also powered by Bing) are two other search engines extensively used by people – around 30 percent people use them.
Almost all the website owners focus on optimizing for Google, while leaving a yawning gap through which their websites may fall into oblivion for 30% of web searches. It is, therefore, important for a webmaster to optimize its website for Bing.
How to target Bing
On the periphery, SEO looks same for all the search engines, but in the details SEO for Bing is slightly different from that of Google. Bing treats links, contents, and on-page factors differently. I am going to talk about it in the following paragraphs. You must take notes of all the factors should you wish to get some traffic from Bing.
SEO for Bing
Code and site structure
Bing wants a webmaster to value the time spent by users on its website. For that reason, the number two search engine prefers a page which is smaller than 150 KB (without image). It also dislikes very deep website structure.
Bing likes to see a website with a relatively flatter structure. According to Bing, each content page on the website should be accessible to users within maximum of 3 clicks. Bing prefers shallow structure over deeper one, where pages are buried behind 7-8 links. If you want to rank higher in Bing, make sure that your pages are mainly in first and second level directories. Bing suggests webmasters to go horizontal when creating a website structure, instead of going vertical. This will help both users and Bing bots to access information, without much pain.
Another thing that you will need to do to attract Bing’s favor is to follow a “broad to specific” flow of information on your website. Bing believes that the home page of a website should establish the theme of the website providing basic overview of the website and navigational information, and the in-depth articles should be provided on individual pages beneath home of the website. In short, Bing likes a website that has “organization chart” structure.
Bing and rich media
Indexing Flash, Silverlight, script and images is the biggest challenge for a search engine. Every search engine is jostling with it. Google, though, seems to have got some success; Bing is still not sure about it. Although it claims that Bing bots can now penetrate the thick wall of rich media content, search engineers at Bing advise against using images, scripts, and rich media containers (Flash and Silverlight files) to hold important information. It recommends using texts only to convey the message.
Like Google, Bing also favors domain names with keywords in it. If your website is about home improvement then the website that will have home improvement in domain name will rank higher in Bing. Another thing that Bing likes about a domain name is the age of a domain name. The domain name that has high keyword density and is around for some years is revered by Bing.
Like Google, Bing also gives a lot of importance to HTML tags like <title tags>, <description tags>, <heading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.)> and <strong tag>. You must put your keywords in each one of them, but do not overdo it, as Bing is particular about the tag usage.
Bing gives high importance to a <title tag>, so make sure that each page does have unique title tags with main keyword at the beginning of it.
Bing prefers a hierarchal order of title, description, and headings tags. Along with that make sure you do not use H1 heading tag more than once on the page. Bing only considers one H1 tag per page, and when you use more than one the overall effect of H1 tags get diminished, so stay clear of it.
You can, rather you should, use H2 and H3 heading tags in your page as well to fully optimize your page. One thing you need to keep in mind when using heading tags. You should keep the length of a heading tag between 150-200 characters, including space. A heading tag larger than this size may get ignored, or at worst penalize. You should also use your main keyword within <strong> tag.
Sitemap and robots.txt
Like search bots of Google, robots.txt matters a lot for Bing bots as well. You should have a proper robots.txt file in place. Make sure that file is not blocking any of the bots or creating any confusion.
Once everything is in place and sitemap generated. You should submit it to Bing using Bing Webmaster tools. This is a must-do thing.
Descriptions in Bing SERP
Unlike Google, Bing does not always display text entered in <meta description> tag in its SERP. Many a time, it shows the text written in H1 tag in place of <meta description> tag, but it is important to note that Bing does not always replace <description tag> with <H1 tag>, sometimes it supplement the former with the later as well.
Bing also pulls information from DMOZ directory to supplement and/or replace <meta description tag> in its SERP, so the website that has DMOZ listing has an edge in Bing.
Let me tell you on the onset itself that Bing is not very friendly to smaller websites. It loves content and wants to see only ones that have a lot of pages – a bigger websites. To rank well in Bing, make sure that your pages have more than 300-words of content each. Bing loves targeted pages with lots of content, and when Bing says targeted page it means a page targeting one strong theme, taking about one topic on one page.
Using keywords in the body text is recommended for Bing SEO, but as always, overdoing it will be harmful. Similarly, having already-published content with proper credit to the source is okay, but have too many will discredit your website.
Always use a keyword it in a natural way, the way people will search for it, or else Bing will not honor it. Bing wants keywords to be placed in a natural way within the content. And it also dislikes hidden keywords or any other black hat SEO tricks. Stay clear of it.
When everything else is factored in, it is time to think about inbound links. Like Google, Bing also love link juices, as it provides vigor to is search bots taking them to the pages they must munch on. But Bing is a little more particular about inbound links.
It favors links from within the content body more than the links that come from website directories, resource pages, etc. Bing also likes to see if the links you are getting are from relevant sources or not? It loves relevance, rather has fetish for it. It also has a maddening desire to see links from authority websites. Such links drive Bing bots ecstatic, as a result, they pull your website from anywhere and place towards the first page of Google, and if everything else is taken well care of, it may give you a first page ranking.
Many websites do not care about Bing. They are too happy with Google, and too self-conceit to care for Bing. This presents an opportunity, and if you move forward, you can capitalize on it.
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I also recommend you to read our earlier blog posts on SEO, e.g. SEO for WordPress blog, SEO for your online shop, Local Search Marketing with Google Places, 10 SEO Tasks our Virtual assistant can do for you and 51 SEO tweaks essential for your website.