Ranking In Bing: What You Need To Know
Google is important but they aren’t the only player out there. According to recent numbers, Microsoft’s Bing now generates 30% of all U.S.A. searches (half Yahoo – which is Bing-powered and half from the Bing.com web site.)
It’s becoming more important that you be sure your site is optimized for Bing.
So what does Bing look for? Here’s a cheat sheet you can use to optimize your site for Bing.
- Bing likes “editorial links” which means links that come from within body content and not just a list of links on a resources page or in a directory. They do place some value on all links, but the links that help you the most will be the “editorial” style ones.
- They like to see some relationship between your site and the site linking to it (relevance).
- They like links from authority sites. (Duh!)
- Bing likes domain names that use the keywords. Ex: if your site is about classic cars, go for a domain name that uses that phrase. Don’t stuff lots of keywords in your domain name. Go with the primary keyword phrase for your site.
- Bing likes older domain names so now is not the time to give up a domain name with good history and start over.
- Bing tends to favor lots of content. Smaller sites don’t do as well.
- They seem to place a higher value on pages that have at least 300 words.
- Use keywords in your body text. Don’t overdo it though!
- Create strong themes on each page by only covering one topic per page.
- Don’t plagiarize – always either use your own unique content or properly credit the source of the content you are posting (but even with proper credit, you don’t want any engines to view your site as having a lot of duplicate content).
Side note: Here’s Bing’s take on duplicate (redundant) content: “Basically, redundant content is recognized by the search engine during indexing, and often redundancies are eliminated from the index, or at least they are removed from the search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant queries.”
- I’m going to state the obvious here: they don’t like hidden text.
- Bing really likes to see the phrases exactly as people would search for them used on the page (but c’mon people, be sensible, this isn’t license to create a bunch of gibberish pages with phrases that don’t flow well and that are filled with typos)
- Make sure your pages are a reasonable size. They suggest keeping pages with no images under 150 KB.
- Don’t put important text in images, script or Flash. They want the “meat” of the page served as plain text.
Bing’s comments on Flash: “If your site uses animation technology, such as Silverlight or Flash, there’s good news and bad news. First the good news: bots are getting better and better at extrapolating text content from these sophisticated presentation technologies. But now for the bad news: it’s still a hit-or-miss game (frankly more miss than hit), and the use of these technologies is ultimately not a good bet for SEOs.”
- Be very organized in your site structure – they recommend keeping your page “fairly flat” – which they further explain “That is, each webpage should only be from one to three clicks away from the default webpage.”
- Bing suggests using a ‘broad-to-specific” flow – start with a general overview on home and then funnel into topic specific pages. In Bings words: “introduce your content theme, provide basic overview information, and present the information navigation scheme for the site. Thinking in terms of building an organizational chart of content will help you “bucketize” your content into logical groupings and landing pages.”
They go on to say “…keep the content organization closer to the surface. You don’t need to plunge deep as you get into detail. Instead of going vertical, expand your content horizontally. Stay shallow, using many first and second level directories instead of burying your content in deep silos. This pattern of information flow will help users more easily find what they want to see and help the search engine bot crawl the information on your site.”
- Each page should be accessible by at least one static text link.
- Add a Sitemap and register at Webmaster Tools.
- Use Title tags, Description tags, Header Tags (use them in hierarchal order) and use the <strong> tag to emphasize keywords in the body content.
- Rules for Header (<h1>, <h2> etc) tags: They suggest you only use one <h1> tag per page. You won’t be punished if you use more but you diminish the value of all of them if you use more than one. Use the one to establish the main topic for the page, with the primary keyword phrase. You can use <h2> and <h3> deeper in the page for your sub-heads and to further support the main topic. Don’t exceed 150-200 characters in your Header tags (in other words don’t stuff large chunks of content into your Header tags)
- Bing places a lot of emphasis on Title tags, so be sure to use your primary keyword phrase for each page in the Title tag.
- Make sure your robots.txt file isn’t blocking the bots or creating any other issues.
- DESCRIPTIONS IN THE SERPs: Bing and Yahoo sometimes use the text in the first H1 header on the page to supplement or replace what you have in your Meta Title and/or Description tag.
Here is a great little table from Bing that shows the 4 parts of the results on the SERPs and where they pull the info from:
|Title||<title> tag, Header <h> tags|
|Snippet||Meta description tag, page content, description from DMOZ.org|
|Preview||Page content, extracted page data, commonly clicked links|
Sample of a search result in the SERPs from Bing:
- This is the arrow that leads to the preview
Not Ranking Well In Bing?
Rick DeJarnette from Bing’s Webmaster blog has this to say:
“The reasons for poor ranking are nearly as myriad as the number of sites on the Web… And frankly, it could be that those competing sites have seriously invested in search engine optimization (SEO) efforts when you have not. If your page ranking is not where you want it to be, your site may be due for a serious examination, one that looks for problems to solve and uses optimization techniques that are meaningful to both human visitors and search engine bots alike. You may be ready to consider a site review.”
So there ya have it. Review your pages and see how you measure up. Bing is increasing in important and getting ahead now is wise.
NOTE: All quotes from Bing come from their Blogs (linked from here: http://www.bing.com/community/b/default.aspx)