Many guidelines on search engine optimisation (SEO) are aimed at getting ranked within Google, which is understandable as it is still the largest search engine.
However, there are other search engines that are available, and which need to be considered when writing SEO content.
Especially as one these search engines is Bing, which is backed by the software giant Microsoft.
This article explores some of the differences that might need to be considered if you want to rank in Bing, Yahoo or other search engines.
Since Bing and Yahoo are the other two major search engines after Google, I have focused mainly on them and they have a bit of a shared history.
BING – A History
The Bing search engine is owned by Microsoft but has been previously known under a few different names, including MSM search and Windows Live Search.
Earlier versions of MSM explorer were developed in 1998, which used the earlier competitor to Google a company called Inktomi.
In 2009 the search engine was officially launched as Bing, although some analysts such as Danny Sullivan at searchengineland.com were skeptical about seeing any major changes.
However, a few changes have occurred since 2009 – In Sullivan’s article in 2009 he ran a search on the new Bing site and showed the new screen layout, which you can see in the image here.
One of the advantages he mentioned was the use of categories in search results (shown with the red arrow). This was something he predicted would be used increasingly across all search results.
If you compare the current search results in 2016 of Bing now, you can see a few changes, including the removal of any categories.
Search results for Obama in 2016 on Bing
The screen is also a lot less cluttered and looks very similar to the normal Google results page.
Both search engines have also removed advertising from information searches and completely removed ads from the right hand side bar.
Yahoo’s history is a little different, it originally started as a web directory and was founded in 1994 by two guys called Jerry Yang and Jerry Filo.
In 1995 it changed its name to Yahoo (‘Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle’). In 2008 Microsoft offered $20 million to buy Yahoo, but were turned down.
By 2013 Yahoo had developed to the extent that they were actually more popular as a search engine than Google in the U.S.
As an example of their search page and keeping with the Obama theme, the search results in Yahoo are more colourful, perhaps similar to earlier versions of Bing.
Bing & Yahoo Together But Not Forever
In 2009 as well as launching Bing, Microsoft also announced that it had entered into a partnership with Yahoo.
Bing would provide the search results for Yahoo and in return Yahoo would receive majority of the sales for the search ads.
Since 2009 Yahoo was powered solely by Bing so their search results were always similar. However, since a new arrangement came into place in 2015 Yahoo has sought more independence in its use of search engines and in particular with mobile searches.
Yahoo now moves between Google and Bing to bring users the best choice of results and this will mean that results will no longer be the same, especially for mobile searches.
Differences Between Bing, Yahoo and Google
According to Hubspot’s blog in early 2015 (and therefore before the announced split between Bing and Yahoo) there are three main similarities between the three search engines;
- Quality backlinks are important for ranking
- Local search keywords are important
- Paid search systems work the same on all three sites.
In addition both sites will give preference to .gov and .edu sites and recognises that they have authority and quality content.
There are however still a number of differences between Bing and Google, remembering that Yahoo can now move between the two.
- LSI keywords – these work better on Google since Bing still prefers exact match keywords although no doubt this is evolving technology.
- Double meaning keywords – Google will tend to offer the most popular search results first whereas Bing will produce the local search results first.
- Domain age – Bing places high preference on domain age whereas Google prioritises quality backlinks above domain age.
- Flash websites – Google still struggles a bit with flash sites unlike Bing which is able to crawl and understand flash quite clearly.
- Mobile – Google has already stated that mobile friendly websites will be ranked higher in mobile searches, and both Bing and Google have started labelling mobile friendly sites. But it is unclear whether Bing prioritises this in their ranking criteria at the moment.
Optimising Your Site for Bing
It can be tempting to assume that if your site is optimised for Google then that is the job done. However Bing currently holds 29% of the U.S. search engine market and so its results are still important for SEO.
Some of the following points can be considered when ensuring that the site is fully optimised for Bing;
- Index the site with Bing through their Webmaster Tools
- Bing use title tags more so than Google, so ensure that these are fully completed
- Keywords need to be clearer for Bing since the LSI do not translate as easily
- Social media is more influential to Bing than Google at the moment
- Local searches – Bing favours local searches so where appropriate ensure that local listings are optimised.
All the major things to avoid with Google and their algorithm updates also apply to Bing. The focus for both is on providing good quality content that is relevant to search queries.
Although there are many similarities between the search engines it is important to remember that not all search engines have the same level of capacity. This becomes even more important to remember if you or your clients are using local search engines.
If you know you will be using simpler search engines remember to keep your content easier to read and crawl. Utilise your tags and descriptions more and notice whether the local population primarily uses mobile or desk top searches.
Further Reading on Website Ranking
if you are interest din this topic there are other articles that are available on this site on website ranking, these include;
- How To Rank In Google
- How Site Rankings Work in Google
- How Content Freshness Affects Search Engine Results
I hope you enjoyed the article and if so please share this article on your own social media channels. I look forward to reading any of your thoughts or comments on this topic in the section below.