It seems like it was just yesterday when the Yahoo & Microsoft partnership broke news. Here we are just about a year later and the merger is definitely well on its way. Systems integration testing began mid July and several blogs have reported seeing Bing results on the Yahoo search page. In fact, according to the Yahoo and Microsoft Search Alliance, if all testing goes well, Yahoo’s results will be powered by Bing beginning in the August/September time frame.
In the past couple of weeks and particularly with our July rankings reports, we’ve seen new unusual performance patterns on Bing, perhaps due to all of the testing going on. In order to fully prepare for the merger, ensuring our clients stay afloat, we’re making sure all of the significant Bing optimizations are made. I think it is fair to say that up to this point we have focused most of our attention to Google and while Google still reigns, it’s definitely time to start paying more attention Bing.
Some might wonder, if your site is already optimized for Google shouldn’t it be optimized for Bing as well? Well, yes, and no. Some aspects of SEO are the same across multiple search engines, but not all. I’d like to cover some of those things in this post as well as some other tips for making sure you are SEO-ready for Bing.
First, we’ll start with some advice directly from the Search Engines. Many of you who are advertisers may be receiving emails from the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance with updates on the merger. One of the latest ones, sent to me by the Yahoo team suggests the following to help prepare advertisers:
- Compare your organic search rankings on Yahoo! Search and Bing for the keywords that drive your business, to help determine any potential impact to your traffic and sales
- Decide if you’d like to modify your paid search campaigns to compensate for any changes in organic referrals that you anticipate
- Review the Bing webmaster tools and optimize your website for the Bing crawler, as Bing results will be displayed for approximately 30%* of overall search query market share after this change
At the end of July, Bing released a new version of Bing Webmaster Tools, and you definitely want to start using it if you don’t already. Here, you can update your sitemap, check on links, and review crawl errors, just as you can in Google Webmaster Tools.
So, what else can you do to help your Bing rankings? Our team came up with the following list of things Bing pays attention to:
- Domain Age: This is something that you can’t really control, but Bing does give more credit to older sites. So, if your site is fairly young, you may have to work a little hard to get those rankings up.
- Content! There’s been a lot of talk about the importance of content on a site. But how much content do you really need? According to our research, Bing considers 300+ words on a well-optimized page appropriate.
- Tightly themed page titles and content: This one isn’t too different than Google, but if your rankings are suffering, it’s worth reviewing your page titles and content optimizations for areas of improvement. Compare your latest rankings report and make any updates with keywords that have fallen.
- Linking: Just like Google, linking is important. For most, this means working on building links to their site. However, according to everyjoe.com, Bing smiles upon websites that also link out to others.
- Keyword Research: If it’s been a while since you last embarked upon keyword research, now is the time to do it. Again, use your ranking reports as a tool. Find where you’re rankings are dropping and then research alternative phrases that might be a better match. Analytics is also really handy for learning about what keywords you’re already driving traffic with.
Following these few simple steps will not only ensure that you are ready for the Yahoo and Bing merger but it will also help you stay on top of your Google optimizations. Are there other Bing specific optimizations you have seen work well for your rankings?