Bing: The Often Forgotten Search Engine

Bing SEO for ContractorsWhile Bing wasn’t the search engine that gave rise to the search engine industry, it’s definitely got its place in the history books. Backed by Microsoft, its reach and capabilities are significant. Yahoo Search may look different, but it’s also powered by Bing, boosting Microsoft’s reach even more. For some reason, though, people often let this particular search engine slip their mind. But Bing should be considered when planning SEO for contractors.

The common misconception is that if you’re able to optimize and rank on Google, then rankings on Bing will come along with it. While in a handful of cases this may be true, it’s not true for a vast majority. In fact, there are things that Bing looks at in terms of determining the rank of a webpage that are covered in this post on SEO for Contractors.

Ignoring Bing is a missed opportunity. As the 2nd most popular search engine in the world, and with about 30% of web searches happening on Bing, you’d be letting a lot of users walk right past you. This is based on a comScore study that helps illustrate the market share of today’s leading search engines. With the number of searches happening on this search engine, it’s important to embrace the power of Bing as well as the power of Google.

Understanding What Makes Bing Unique

While it’s still early in the race, Bing seems to be on the rise in terms of its increasing market share. While many say that it’s because it’s the default search engine within Internet Explorer, desktop usage has had the most powerful impact.

Windows 10 is where Bing started seeing that its integration with Windows would help increase its searches. This is due to the fact that it’s the search used for everything within a computer. On top of its use in Windows, it should also be pointed out that voice searches are popular on Bing, and Cortana helps power them.

Each search engine has its own unique audience. Yahoo has become known for its popular services such as email. Bing has the unfair reputation for having less “tech savvy” users because their integration with Windows makes it the default. But they have a broad audience as they also power Siri searches on the iPhone, and they attract users who prefer the way that their maps work and those who prefer Microsoft products in general. Google targets the masses by being the choice among the vast majority of web users.

With that said, it all depends on what audience you want to target when deciding which search engine is your best option. Be warned, though, that there are a lot of opinions floating around. Many webmasters have found that Bing is higher quality and more beneficial than other search engines. On the other side, there are many others have found the exact same to be true with the Google.

The Bing Mindset vs. The Google Mindset

Just like every brand has its own style, search engines are no different. For this guide on SEO for contractors, the focus is on comparing Google and Bing. These are the two top search engines that have maintained their spots in the ranking over the years.

On the Google side of the market, you have the younger generations using it on a daily basis in combination with Google Chrome. On the Bing side of the market, you have the older generations that are accessing it via Internet Explorer, Windows, and other integrations. As you can see, the difference in the audiences are completely opposite.

One thing that you should keep in mind is that Google maintains more of an international presence than Bing which is more focused regionally. When it comes to using their paid advertising, companies in the U.S. will find cheaper options with Bing. However, companies outside of the United States will find better reach with Google.

If you’d like to go more in-depth with the audiences using the 2 leading search engines, check out this great post done by the team at Further.

Backlinks on Bing

When it comes to how Bing looks at links pointing to a website, they tend to embrace Google’s old approach. This was used by Google until they rolled out some of their smartest updates of all time. In this change, Google started focusing less on the technical aspects of the links and more on quality.

If you’re trying to build links for Bing, you’ll find that exact match anchor text will help the most. They use this to determine how relevant each website is to the search term showing their results. For example, “painters in Dallas” would be good anchor text to use for Bing, whereas with Google it doesn’t carry as much weight.

There’s a little more to know about backlinking, found in this great article written by the folks over at Search Engine Watch. By the way, Neil Patel’s blog, Search Engine Journal and Search Engine Watch are great resources for contractors who want to do their own SEO.

Bing Ranking Factors vs. Google Ranking Factors

Based on an analysis from from an SEO firm, these are the most important ranking factors Bing uses to determine a page’s position within the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), in complete detail.

  • Brand Preferences

    When it comes to recognizing if a page belongs to a particular brand or not, Bing doesn’t perform well here. While Google and Bing both realize brands have more links pointing to them using the brand name only, Google is able to distinguish them from others. Keep in mind, both search engines have separate criteria they use for ranking brands.

  • Content

    Both of these search engines love high quality content. Where they differ is in determining what type of content that has the most value as well as how they handle the more dynamic websites on the internet.

    When it comes to Bing, it will give more attention to audio, pictures, video, etc. Whereas Google gives more attention to written word. Bing is also able to interpret Flash better than Google (which ignores it entirely). An interactive website using a variety of media and high quality content could give a boost to your Bing ranking.

  • Location/Type of Website

    For local search, Bing focuses on the businesses that have the closest proximity to a user’s location while Google gives more weight to established brands/companies in an effort to produce what they see as the most authoritative search results possible.

    As far as domain age is concerned, Bing does weigh the age of the domain as well as the type of domain (with .gov and .edu being the most valuable). Google is more focused on an approach that’s similar to a popularity contest. It looks at content quality and reach to rank sites, with commercial properties getting the most leverage, unlike Bing.

  • Social Media Factors

    While there’s still debate about what social signals include and their direct impact on search results, in general they’re a collection of factors visible to the search engines on social media (likes, Tweets, pins, plus one’s, etc.). Google +1 was an attempt by Google to develop a refined approach to social signals. As more data has become available, social signals have increased in their importance for search rankings. This mean that more engagement and sharing of your website, brand, and content on social media can help your results on Bing. At the present, Bing focuses more on social signals than Google though.

    Bing has also taken social media integration within search results to a greater level than Google. Take a look below at a couple of the great ways they use social integrations:

    • Ask questions on your favorite, supported social network directly on Bing.
    • If a follower on Twitter or friend on Facebook has recommended or rated something that shows up in the results you see, they’ll be highlighted.
    • The image search allows you to easily find related Pinterest boards.

Want to take your SEO for contractors skills even further?

Bing is often overlooked when it comes to SEO for contractors. But with a growing market share, a different primary audience, and different ranking factors, it should be part of your SEO strategy. This article has outlined some of the steps you can take to better optimize your website for Bing. To take the next step, here are a few additional resources to help you elevate your Bing SEO skills.

Don’t forget to download our very own Bing Webmaster Blog