Are You Optimizing for BING?

While Google often gets the accolades and the spotlight, Microsoft’s Bing has really become over the last couple of years a highly respectable and capable search engine.  While many SEO and SEM professional focus enormous resources on Google, it may well be worth the effort to also focus on Bing as well.  Here are some of the reasons why you should optimize for Bing and some tips on doing so:

Bing Offers a World Class Search Engine
It’s true; Bing does offer a world class search engine that in many ways is on par with Google.  In addition, Bing has been playing catch up ever since it switched over from MSN Network.  Playing catch up does have its benefits for consumers and it has definitely showed with the many innovations that Bing rolled out over the years including a great user interface, one of the best image searches available, being able to play videos on the results page and viewing a site’s text before visiting it- to ensure it has the information you are looking for.   In fact, as you are probably well aware Bing definitely had an impact on Google which literally copied many of these innovations for its own search engine.  While features is one thing, search results are another and while few will say that Bing’s search results are on par with Google- Bing generally does not disappoint.

Bing Will Continue to Grow
Bing has surprisingly grown quite fast and furiously.  As of this month, it was reported on Bloomberg.com that Google has about 66% of market share, this is down from previous years, Microsoft and Yahoo combined cover about 28%, however it is important to note that Microsoft now has partnered with Yahoo in Search and this translates as well into paid search terms.  This growth and success makes analysts believe that Bing is here to stay and that if they continue doing things right, they will continue to grow.  In addition, with cloud computing heating up and Google offering Chrome OS, Bing also will likely be integrated with Microsoft’s Azure cloud technologies, possibly directing or keeping plenty of businesses and Window’s users with Microsoft and using Bing.

Optimizing for Bing
When optimizing for Bing, many strategies will be the same or similar to that of Google and Yahoo.

Content- High quality content continues to be very important in making your site relevant.  Bing has shown those sites with thin content do not always rank well.

Link building- One way back links are always an important way to build authority for your website.  However Bing may not be as sophisticated as Google when it comes to spam links.  It should be noted that paid links which Google does frown on and possibly penalizes can usually slip past Bing’s detectors.

XML Sitemaps- Definitely use XML sitemaps and make sure you update them regularly especially if you have a large website.

301 Redirects- It should be noted that 301 redirects can be problematic, to make matters worse rel-canonical is not supported (more info: http://tinyurl.com/bing-rel).  For those looking for a way to handle parameters, consult Bing web tools at:  http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmasters/
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If you are looking for a great way to increase visitors and business, optimizing for Bing can be the gain you are looking for.  With so many SEO & SEM professionals solely focus on Google, why not take advantage of this powerful search engine.