Google is king of search engine traffic, right? No other search engine is worth bothering about, right? Wrong! Let me ask you this. How much daily search engine traffic do you think Bing is responsible for?
I bet you didn’t say 28.8%.
That’s right. If you’re ignoring Bing, you’re ignoring not far off a third of web searches every day.
Although Bing itself “only” takes 15.4% of web searches, it also powers Yahoo! search which adds another 13.4%, bringing us to 28.8% (Source).
Who uses Bing?
The audience profile is heavily skewed towards the 35+ age range, with the 55-64 range being especially dominant.
Bing also gets proportionally more of its traffic from the U.S. – 40% compared to Google’s 34% – and Bing users are more likely to have children than the average Google user. (Source)
These demographics mean that if your online business is targeting users interested in family vacations, education, products for kids, retirement planning or anything that older people with children care about, you need to be sure Bing is part of your marketing plans.
Link round-up: How to optimize for Bing
Microsoft has picked up a trick or two from Google and has a lot of info online to help web publishers perform well in Bing search results.
Straight from the horse’s mouth we have Does Bing like SEO? This lengthy piece goes into detail about the kind of on-page SEO signals the search engine cares about and those that it doesn’t.
If you want to know how much of an impact H1 tags, meta descriptions, and clean URLs (web addresses without a lot of stuff like ?id=396969&ref=789 at the end) have on Bing, start with this link.
The quick answers? They love clean URLs (most search engines do), they think meta descriptions should be used to encourage people to click links they see in search results and aren’t bothered either way about H1 tags.
Like Google, Bing has a set of tool for webmasters aimed at helping site owners keep track of how their content is viewed and ranked by Bing.
The importance of good links
A major part of good search engine rankings is creating worthwhile content that gets lots of links back to it from quality sites.
Trouble is, sometimes you’ll pick up links from spam sites hoping to ride on your coat-tails all the way to the Bank of AdSense.
Commonly, these people will republish content from your RSS feed and slap dozens of ads around it.
Clearly, that’s not ideal but until now there’s not been much alternative to just accepting it as part of being online.
But through Webmaster Tools, Bing has given publishers a way to fight back by telling the search engine to disavow certain links.
Search Engine Land has an excellent post on when to use the disavow option as well as a step-by-step tutorial on how to do it.
The Bing Algorithm
For a clear and concise overview of how Bing’s algorithm has evolved over the last twelve months or so – and more importantly, what it means to website owners – take a look at this review from PM Digital.
Microsoft has been pretty active in trying to help web publishers understand how Bing works and sort out common questions like, “Why doesn’t my site come up in Bing?” Take a look at their dedicated forums for webmasters, the most useful of which is likely to be the Indexing and Ranking section.
They also have a pretty good FAQ that covers why your site might not be showing up for the keywords you think it should, how to make sure Bing can index your site and how links back to your site affect rankings.
Given it accounts for almost a third of all web searches, there are suprisingly few books / ebooks that cover squeezing visitors out of Bing, but take a look at Jason McDonald’s SEO Fitness Workbook, 2012 Edition – it’s a tightly written step-by-step guide to dominating both Google and Bing.
New to search engine optimization?
Check out my seo guide to get up to speed.
Side note: I wrote this post in record time with the help of a nifty little piece of software called CurationSoft, which is designed to make writing curated content pieces like this quick and easy. I’ll be posting a full review soon but let’s just say I’m pretty impressed so far.