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Google Ain’t the Only Game in Town – Are You Ignoring Bing?

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Making Google happy is a big part of any professional SEO’s job. But it isn’t the only place that matters.

Yahoo! and Bing can also drive a respectable amount of traffic to your site. So your site should not only be optimized for Google, but you’d be wise to pay attention to the other kids on the block, too.

Until recently, though, there weren’t any concrete guidelines to follow. No one knew for sure what the secrets were to ranking high on Bing. Now we have a good idea what they are.

On November 16th Duane Forrester brought to the SEO world’s attention the newly released Bing’s Webmaster Guidelines. If you browse through the document and are familiar with Google’s guidelines, then you’ll recognize that they’re actually pretty similar.

If you’re signed up to Bing’s Webmaster Tools, you can easily find the new guidelines by going to ‘“Help” and looking in the “Content Guidelines” area.

At first glance, it’s tempting to assume the Bing guidelines are just a rewritten version of Google’s guidelines; but there are some details you should be aware of.

It’s also important to note that the Bing list may not seem as in-depth as Google’s. But they say that’s by design. These guidelines are meant to serve as a starting point for business owners who want to understand how to SEO their site.

They’re not for in-depth, technical information that the more advanced SEO professionals might be looking for. On the other hand, they do offer a PDF that has more detailed information.

Bing on Social Influence

Google likes to hint a bit, dance around the subject, and be vague about what they actually consider to be solid ranking factors. First they said something was not a factor. Later in the year they said it was. In response, lots of research and speculation has gone on, to this day, to try to figure out the details.

Bing, on the other hand, is being much more nice about it. They came straight out with it from the get-go, and let us know that social signals are a ranking factor. They do put emphasis on your social influence:

“These positive signals can have an impact on how you rank organically in the long run.”

Thank you Bing! Thanks for simply saying so and not making everybody guess.

You have to wonder if certain sites will play a bigger role in how you rank, though; that is, considering the company has official connections with Facebook, Twitter, and the wildly popular question-and-answer site Quora.

One can hardly escape the suspicion that if you have a strong, influential presence on these sites, that Bing might look more favorably on you.

But you probably shouldn’t race out and try to game the system. They also mention in their “things to avoid” not to try and pull a slick one. Auto-following is very easy to spot, the Bing folks assert.

That strongly suggests that if you’re using bots, software, or certain sites to do stuff for you automatically in order to grow your followers, you’re  likely to get caught. You probably won’t go to jail; but the time and money you spent will be wasted, because they’ll devalue your account, your followers, your site …

“Like farms are similar to link farms in that they seek to artificially exploit a network effect to game the algorithm. The reality is these are easy to see in action and their value is deprecated.”


Oh My 
… Keywords & Link Building

Unlike Google, Bing says to use keyword-rich content. That leaves me to wonder if the not-so-honest marketers out there will start targeting Bing more. Will they have an easier time getting poor sites that aren’t helpful to rank well on Bing, by stuffing plenty of keywords into their pages?

I don’t see anything certain about that: no warnings or cautions in the “Things to Avoid” area about keyword stuffing or trying to manipulate rankings with content.

While Google basically says they don’t want you out there purposefully trying to build links to your site, Bing says GO! Sure, they warn about link schemes and link farms. But they’re just fine with you planning out an ethical strategy to obtain the backlinks we all need in order to rank.

Site Speed (Page Load Time, or PLT)

Another factor they clearly highlight is how fast your site loads when a visitor lands there. They advise you to take the speed into consideration, but not to let it hinder the user’s experience. If someone searches on Bing, clicks through to your site, then immediately leaves, Bing is likely to conclude that they showed a result that wasn’t very good. And if that happens a lot, I’d imagine they’ll lower your ranking for that search term.

Bing will be holding four training webinars to help you understand certain elements concerning their webmaster guidelines better. A couple of them are this month (January) and a couple are next month (February). They include an overview, authority building, social, and SEO; and the last one is “Tomorrow’s SEO.” You can sign up for them here.

Conclusion

Maybe you tacked SEO and got decent results on Google only to realize that things changed and you lost rank. Now you need to integrate, interact with, and monitor social media to stay competitive.

We do apologize for bringing in even more to think about! But that’s what we’re here for: to make sure you’re aware of and understand what’s needed in order to stay ahead of your competition.

If you need help, just contact us and we’ll work with you to develop a tailored SEO and/or marketing plan to do just that. Don’t wait for your competitors to do it first.

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Veronica

Veronica has been writing online since 2007. She enjoys helping clients with copywriting and content needs, as well helping with SEO campaigns. Her experience ranges from helping small websites succeed with SEO and internet marketing campaigns to writing for Planet Green (Discovery Channel).

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