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April 17, 2015

Bing, Yahoo and Google: Can Your SEO Strategy Remain the Same for All Three?

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Most people believe that if you are ranking well with Google, you must be doing well with Bing and Yahoo, but that is just not the case. Unfortunately, I found that most of the blog posts on this topic were favoring one search engine over another. However, I believe that it is important to optimize for all three-- you could be missing out on some great business opportunities if you are not optimized correctly for each of these search engines.

Before we begin, I want to mention that Yahoo and Bing have an alliance, so that gives you one less search engine to worry about. Why? Because search results will be the same in Yahoo and Bing.

My goal is to give you the facts so you can really understand the differences and similarities between these search engines and search ranking factors and why it is important to be optimizing for all. First, let's start with the similarities.

Bing/Yahoo & Google SEO Similarities

  • Links – Quality of a backlink profile holds weight in both Google and Bing, so it is important to have high quality links to your website.
  • Results for Local Search – Page content and optimization should incorporate keywords based on geographic locations for success in the local results.
  • Paid Search – works the same in both, but remember this is only rented space for your website

Bing/Yahoo & Google SEO Differences

Bing/Yahoo and Google have both subtle and notable differences in the way they evaluate websites. Here's an outline of each (with facts taken from Google and Bing, respectively):

1) Matching Keywords

  • Google: Google’s algorithm recognizes synonyms and context around a keyword. This allows a little freedom and creativity with your content
  • Bing: Exact keywords are best here

2) Double-Meaning Search Queries

  • Google: If there is a keyword phrase with two meanings, the most popular website tends to rank first
  • Bing: A double meaning search in Bing provides local results first

3) Domain Age/Page Authority

  • Google: Domain age does not factor in as much as the quality of backlinks pointing towards a domain. Also, Google does give favoritism towards .edu and .gov, as they tend to have quality links and good content
  • Bing: Puts importance on domain age when assigning rank, as well as favors .edu and .gov websites

4) Flash Content

  • Google: Google cannot crawl and understand Flash websites
  • Bing: Understands and crawls Flash websites very well and sometimes gives credit to websites that use it

As you can see, Bing, Yahoo and Google all play a very important role in SEO and it is important to optimize for all. Just because you are ranking well in one search engine, does not mean you are ranking well in others. 

5) Mobile Optimization

A little over a year ago, in November, Google launched the mobile-friendly label on mobile search results. This label is grey wording that is placed underneath the link that tells the user whether the website is going to work correctly on their mobile device or not. Starting on April 21st, 2015, Google has announced that they will be adding a ranking factor that will help mobile-friendly websites rank better in mobile search, so it is very important that website owners be prepared for this change.

Although Yahoo has not yet taken on any of these traits, Bing has quietly added the Mobile-friendly label in their mobile search results, just like Google has. Currently, it is unclear as to whether or not Bing will be introducing this ranking factor for their algorithm. In November, Bing did reveal some mobile friendly techniques that they may or may not use in the future. From what I see, it seems as though there will be more to come from Bing around mobile SEO.

How to Optimize for Search on Bing/Yahoo

According to Search Engine Journal, Google controls 67% of the search market, but Bing and Yahoo account for 29% of the U.S. search market, therefore they are still influential and will give you more ways to be discovered online.

Keep in mind that 2015 could be the year that other search engines like Bing/Yahoo will begin to take even more market share. Why? Firefox has kicked Google to the curb and Yahoo will now be the default search engine. Additionally, Google’s deal with Safari is almost up and there has been talk about Bing and Yahoo trying to secure a spot.

Now, how exactly do you optimize for Bing/Yahoo? Well, check out the following 9 ways to get your site optimized for Bing/Yahoo. Some of these tactics might be taken care of if you are already optimizing correctly for Google, but some of these strategies will be a little different.

1) In order to be indexed in Bing, you should submit your site to Bing

According to Bing, “being indexed is the first step to developing traffic from Bing.” All you have to do is simply submit your site to Bing Webmaster Tools and wait until it gets crawled. Bing does not update their index as much as Google, so you may have to wait a while and be patient.

2) Technical requirements needed

When ranking your website, Bing focuses on these technical factors:
  • Page Load Speed – your website page speed should be fast
  • Robots.txt – This will tells Bing robots what to crawl and what not to crawl
  • Sitemap – Keep your sitemap clean and current (remove any unnecessary URLs
  • Redirects – Bing prefers 301 redirects you have moved content between websites
  • Canonical Tags – This is new for Bing, they now acknowledge rel=canonical tags, which helps Bing determine which page is original versus which pages are duplicates

3) Title tags are extremely important

According to Search Engine Journal, Bing seems to place more emphasis on title tags than Google does, so make sure you use relevant keywords in your title tags of every page to rank well in Bing, but do not use too many keywords or you could get penalized by Google.

4) Use straightforward keywords

Bing does not do well with broad-matching keywords, so when optimizing make sure you use exact keywords for exact ranking on Bing’s search results. Wordstream has a great tool that will help you pick the perfect words and phrases for Bing optimization.

5) Build up backlinks

Backlinks are important for all search engine rankings, but it appears as though they are especially important for Bing rankings. According to Searchmetrics, “on average, 52-53 percent of the backlinks of websites ranked among the top 30 results on Bing contain keywords in the anchor text (which is about 10% more than Google).” As always, when creating backlinks, make sure they are coming from legitimate websites.

6) Content is important

This is something that shouldn't be a surprise. Google and Bing both look for quality, relevant content for ranking purposes. Bing states that they are looking for clear and easy ways to find content, which has a better chance of being indexed higher than just a well-optimized piece.

7) Be Social

Within Google, it is not totally clear where they stand with social signals, but Bing has made it clear that social media plays an extremely important role in their ranking factors.

8) Act Local

Bing favors websites that have well-optimized local listings, so make sure you claim your listings like a champ with www.bingplaces.com

In addition to these to dos, it is also important that your use the same ethics and standards as Google and avoid the following:

  • Cloaking
  • Shady Backlink Strategies (i.e. paying for links)
  • Shady Social Media Strategies (i.e. increasing amount of followers too fast)
  • Duplicate Content
  • Too Many Keywords Within the Content

It is becoming increasingly important to optimize for Bing, Yahoo and Google, especially because of the major changes that are being made with the different browsers, so cover all of your bases to ensure your SEO strategies include optimizing for all the top search engines.

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Topics: SEO

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