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5 Big Ways Bing SEO Differs From Optimizing For Google

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5 Big Ways Bing SEO Differs From Optimizing For Google


If Bing is treated as a punchline in your digital marketing circles, you may be missing out on your business’s greatest untapped opportunity.

Some tend to forget that search engines other than Google exist, but Bing can be a great place to gain visibility online.

Bing and Yahoo (which has been powered by Bing since 2010) together dominate 9.97% of the desktop search engine market share in the U.S.

And, more importantly, many marketers have noted that Bing traffic converts better than Google traffic.

This might have something to do with Bing’s average demographic being more mature and arguably having more money to spend.

Screenshot from: analytics.google.com, November 2017.

Bing also partners with dozens of other search engines, including Yahoo!, AOL, DuckDuckGo, Ecosia, MSN, and Lycos.

In short, if you’re not searching on Google, you’re likely using a search experience that’s partially powered by Bing.

This doesn’t include voice search (Alexa and Cortana both use Bing) and the fact that Bing is built into most Microsoft products, including Microsoft Office and the Xbox, either.

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The good news is that if you’ve already invested in Google SEO, then you’re just a hop, skip, and a jump away from seeing tangible results on other search engines, as well. That’s because Bing and Google share many of the same ranking signals.

Even so, there are key differences between SEO for Google and Bing – and you’re going to learn about those here.

1. Keywords

While Bing announced in 2014 that they no longer consider meta keywords for ranking purposes, search engines like Yandex and Baidu still do.

Google has worked to improve search accuracy by understanding searcher intent and interpreting contextual cues from different websites.

We call this semantic search, which in part relies on machine learning and artificial intelligence (such as RankBrain) to help them understand a page’s content.

Google has said that RankBrain is the third most important factor in its ranking algorithm. This means that exact match keywords don’t matter nearly as much as creating comprehensive topical pages and articles for your visitors.

Bing has been catching up when it comes to broad-matching keywords.

Their Webmaster Guidelines advise you to “Develop rich content based on keyword research that shows what search users the information they are looking for.”

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Bing’s Webmaster Guidelines are explicit about how Keywords can help you rank. Bing won’t rule out the possibility of using the meta keywords tag (which Google ignores).

Now, this doesn’t give you an excuse to abuse them or to start stuffing irrelevant keywords into the meta tag. But it does mean you shouldn’t neglect them entirely.

Bing also has a ton of keyword tools to help SEO pros, and you’ll find more detail than in some Google tools.

In Bing Webmaster Tools, they have a powerful keyword tool that shows you trends and related/suggested keywords. Bing even shows relevant ranking URLs.

seo for bingScreenshot from: bing.com/webmasters/help, May 2021.

Google: Create comprehensive pages backed by keyword research, but focus on topical relevance instead of exact match keywords.

Bing: Use straightforward keywords that exactly match the terms you’re targeting in Bing’s search results – just don’t over-optimize. Use their tools to help with other search engines.

2. Backlinks

Both Google and Bing are big on trust. They both value backlinks, for example, because these are signs that visitors found your content useful, trust the information you’ve provided, and now want to share it with others.

Google gauges trust by measuring the PageRank (the link equity flowing through backlinks) of domains linking to your content. High-PageRank links are weighted heavily, and a few of those are worth way more than hundreds of spammy, low-PageRank links.

Bing also values high-quality links, but they judge quality slightly differently. Backlinks aren’t above all other ranking factors, for Bing. They prefer backlinks from quality sites in smaller quantities.

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Like Google, Bing also likes internal links with relevant anchor text.

On top of this – Bing removes pages from their index if they don’t have enough links, and doesn’t penalize buying links:

“That said, buying a link on a busy website can bring you direct traffic, so it does remain a valid marketing tactic.”

Again, be careful with this technique, as Bing says:

“Manipulating inbound links to artificially inflate the number of links pointed at a website can lead to your site being delisted from Bing index.”

Google: Authoritative backlinks and high-quality content are the most important indicators of a page’s authority when it comes to backlinks.

Bing: Fewer, more authoritative backlinks are very important, as are internal links with highly relevant anchor text.

3. Social Signals

Google has long denied that social signals play a special role in page ranking, despite a lot of speculation that it plays some small role.

Bing, on the other hand, has historically been very open about the importance of social signals:

“Social media plays a role in today’s effort to rank well in search results. The most obvious part it plays is via influence. If you are influential socially, this leads to your followers sharing your information widely, which in turn results in Bing seeing these positive signals. These positive signals can have an impact on how you rank organically in the long run.

If you want to rank well on Bing, then you’re going to need to keep an ear to the ground in your social media circles.

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Baking social media into your SEO strategy is time-consuming, but well worth it if you want to optimize for Bing. Consider downloading a comprehensive social media listening tool that will help you find and tap into every conversation people are having about your business on the web.

Bing also offers an API to check out what’s trending on social media.

Google: Treats Facebook and Twitter pages like any other indexed pages.

Bing: Social signals are a key ranking factor. Search results will show you your Facebook friends’ and Twitter followers’ ratings of different businesses.

4. Multimedia Content

Bing’s been pushing the envelope when it comes to visual search, which goes hand-in-hand with one of their most touted features — “entity understanding.”

Essentially, Bing has the ability to accurately crawl and understand various types of multimedia content, such as video, audio, and images.

In a lot of ways, Bing is leading the pack with regards to visual search. When Flash was a thing, Bing could crawl and index Flash sites just fine.

Use high-quality images, and optimize them to help load time.

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Meanwhile, Google still relies most heavily on text-based content. High-quality images and videos do matter, but they aren’t weighted nearly as heavily as they are for Bing.

Google: Emphasizes text-based content.

Bing: More emphasis on multimedia content.

5. Other Technical SEO Differences

While the four differences listed above are probably the biggest differences separating Google and Bing, there are still some other small discrepancies that I should note.

For example, while you can generally rely on Google to index your website and trust that it will try to crawl and index every page of your site, Bing tends to focus on key pages and crawls your pages more infrequently.

Fortunately, you can help this process along by increasing your crawl rate using your Bing Webmaster Tools and clicking Crawl Control.

You can also submit your sitemap to Bing by clicking Submit a Sitemap in your Webmaster Tools or by including a path to it in your robots.txt—an important step, given that this is a ranking signal.

Another benefit to Bing is its API. It allows users to submit URLs to be crawled in bulk, something Google doesn’t have.

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In general, Bing is excited to help people rank and has a lot of tools to help you.

For more examples of technical factors that differ from Google, check out Bing’s Webmaster Guidelines.

More Bing SEO Resources Here:


Featured Image: Aleh Barysevich/Search Engine Journal

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Link relevancy trumps volume for SEO

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Data speaks Link relevancy trumps volume for SEO

30-second summary:

  • Earned media coverage is more valuable than ever for your website
  • Digital PR is just as important as technical SEO
  • A large volume of links is the goal, what’s stopping someone from picking the most newsworthy idea, even if it has nothing to do with your client?

In 2022, it’s impossible to deny the benefit that digital PR as a tactic has on an organic growth strategy. Earned media coverage is more valuable than ever for your website. You could be doing everything right for SEO, but if you’re not building links, you’re still missing out on the increased search visibility, organic traffic, and brand awareness that backlinks bring to your business.

Last year, Google’s John Mueller finally weighed in on digital PR as a tactic and confirmed what we’ve all known for a while now: that it’s just as important — if not more — as technical SEO.

As digital PR is still a relatively “young industry” that’s only just sprouted up in the past 10 years, many PR pros have relied on “viral” campaigns to boost the backlink portfolio of their clients. These viral campaigns are often celebrated but are often created with little regard to how relevant, or “on-brand” those ideas really are.

After all, if a large volume of links is the goal, what’s stopping someone from picking the most newsworthy idea, even if it has nothing to do with your client?

In 2022, link volume is no longer the goal (or shouldn’t be)

While many PR pros’ were evaluating their success around this one key metric (link volume) others in the industry have suspected for a while now that the relevance of linking coverage is a key factor Google looks at when assigning “value” to links.

Once again, John Mueller has settled the debate about link volume vs link relevance,  coming out in 2021 and saying that ‘the total number of links’ doesn’t matter at all.

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This clarity has helped refocus the digital PR industry and forced PR pros to re-evaluate what metrics and KPIs we need to be focusing on to drive true organic growth.

It’s no longer enough to be ‘popular’ you also need to be relevant. Not just in terms of the publications you are targeting, but the keywords you want to rank for,  audience interest, and most importantly, brand alignment to the story you are pitching in.

Google is continuously looking to become more intelligent through its use of machine learning and artificial intelligence. It wants to understand web content as a human, and therefore through its use of natural language understanding, it is likely to not just be looking at the anchor text of links in third-party articles, but it is also wanting to understand the wider context of the article that a brand is placed in.

How to ensure your link-building activity is relevant to your brand

The first steps to coming up with relevant content ideas for your digital PR campaign are to:

  1.  understand your client, and
  2.  understand your client’s audience and their needs.

Every good idea will flow from these two pillars.

If Google’s main objective is to show the best content to users through search, then your job is to create content that either supports your client’s product or service or supports their customers.

It is more important than ever to not only create relevant and on-brand content in the written form but also ensure that any supporting assets created (video, images, audio) are also relevant to the target keywords and services or products that the brand sells.

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In addition, it’s important to create content that engages people, to drive further buzz and positive sentiment around the brand, all of which contribute to greater brand awareness and affinity among your potential customers.

How to measure the relevancy of your backlink profile

We now have the technology available to us to be able to understand and assign quantifiable metrics to the relevance of linking coverage (or indeed the relevance of any text-based content) – which allows us to be much more data-driven and targeted when developing digital PR, link creation activity and competitor and marketplace analysis.

For example, natural language understanding tools like Salient, measure the relevancy of both off-page and on-page content. Tools like this help to understand how a search engine is viewing a brand’s content, it not only enables us to identify the gaps in our client’s backlink profile.

At Journey Further, we use this proprietary tool to measure the relevancy of both off-page and on-page content for our clients.

Measuring the relevancy of your backlink profile

We can use this tool to understand how a search engine is viewing a brand’s content, it not only enables us to identify the gaps in our client’s backlink profile but also aids us in optimizing its content on-site. The outcome of which – is a much more focused, effective, and measurable digital PR activity that is better aligned to SEO objectives and that delivers better ROI for clients.

Looking ahead to 2023

Looking ahead to 2023 and beyond, it’s likely that Google will only continue to develop better technology to understand web content.

All digital PR campaigns should reflect this, and where possible, be multi-faceted, not just relying on a single press release to get cut through. We need to be thinking as marketers, not just SEO practitioners, and ensure we are driving as much ROI as possible. Taking a brand plus performance approach to SEO and digital PR will therefore be key.


Beth Nunnington is the VP of Digital PR and Content Marketing at Journey Further, leading Digital PR strategy for the world’s leading brands. Her work has been featured in The Drum, PR Moment, and Prolific North. Find Beth on Twitter @BethNunnington.

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