When attempting to get a client’s website to rank in the search engines, most SEO professionals focus on generating results on Google because Google has a 65% share of the US market. Google’s market share is so high because we all experience the highly relevant search results of Google, which is why SEOs generally acknowledge it as the superior search engine — and assume that if you get a top ranking in Google, you should have similar results in Bing.
This assumption is mostly true since the majority of search engine optimization tasks you execute for Google will get you a high rankings in Bing and Yahoo! as well. With that being said, these two search engines are not completely alike: they differ both slightly and starkly in the way they crawl, index, and rank web pages. Since Bing is often times neglected in SEO campaigns, I’ve decided to provide some insight into some of the important differences between Google and Microsoft’s decision engine.
Crawling and Indexing the Web
Since the search engines index the web differently, you’ll often notice a different amount of indexed pages in the search engines. For instance, often times Google indexes more pages than Bing. Here are a couple reasons why Google indexes more pages and what you can do about it:
1. Bing has a smaller infrastructure. Bing and Google index and crawl the web differently, with Google having a very large infrastructure, and thus, the ability to index the web in real-time through a process they call Google Caffeine. Bing is much slower simply because it hasn’t built the same large infrastructure as Google has, so it can’t crawl the web as quickly. In my opinion, Bing’s infrastructure will most likely never catch up to the size of Google.
2. Bing is pickier because it can be spammed. Bing is easily spammed since its algorithm is not as complex as Google’s. Because of that, Bing is generally much more cautious than Google is when they index the web. For many years, you could easily get your site indexed in MSN (now known as Bing), as well as achieve a top ranking, through various mass back link methods. This is no longer the case. Bing has finally accepted that it is more susceptible to spam than Google is, so now the search engine waits to index web pages until the web pages have trusted, authoritative backlinks.
If you are experiencing an indexing problem in Bing, try reverse engineering your competition that is successfully crawled in Bing, and then mimic their link building strategy.
Ranking Higher in Bing
Bing engineers at Microsoft recommend the following to get better rankings in their search engine:
- In the visible page text, include words users might choose as search query terms to find the information on your site.
- Limit all pages to a reasonable size. We recommend one topic per page. An HTML page with no pictures should be under 150 kb.
- Make sure that each page is accessible by at least one static text link.
- Don’t put the text that you want indexed inside images. For example, if you want your company name or address to be indexed, make sure it is not displayed inside a company logo.
My personal tips for ranking in Bing are the two tactics that I’ve found useful for several years.
1. Mass amounts of low level links. You need lots of low level links, links that are PR2 or lower. That doesn’t mean you don’t need authority backlinks, but you do need lots of blog comments, forum links and site wide links.
2. Keyword Rich Anchor Text. The backlinks must have your target keyword in the anchor text; which means you have to be careful because Google does not like to see you get a lot of links with keywords in the anchor text. Go for hundreds of links (but not thousands) as you don’t want to completely optimize for Bing and then penalize your Google rankings.
Back in July, Bing expanded the scope of the Bing Webmaster Center blog by hosting occasional posts from “guest bloggers” from within Microsoft who work on search or use search-related technologies in their daily jobs. Unfortunately, it’s not updated as much as was initially promised, but check back often more tips.