12 SEO Tips for Bing

I’ve noticed for awhile that this site often ranks higher in Bing than Google, so I’ve done a bit of research to understand how the different search engines rank their results. Though SEO best practices for Bing and Google are similar overall, there are some notable differences.

If you’re a small business, I think Bing gives you a slightly better advantage over Google, because in Bing’s page ranking, there seem to be more on-page factors, under your control.

To see how your site ranks in Bing versus Google, enter your site’s name in Bingle— a tool that lets you compare side-by-side, the search results for your site, in the respective engines.

Given that Bing now captures about thirty percent of search engine traffic, it only makes sense that we should understand how to tweak our sites to rank better there.

Compiled from a variety of sources (and in sync with my own experience, ranking differently between the two engines), the tips below offer ways to incorporate Bing into your SEO strategy:

  1. Explore keyword alternatives with Wordstreams’s Keyword tools for Bing. Wordstream’s offers several tools, specifically for researching keywords more relevant to Bing: Free Keyword Tool by WordStream, Free Keyword Grouper, and the Free Keyword Niche Finder.
  2. Include keywords in your URL. At the Search Engine Journal, Ann Smarty summarizes differences between Bing and Google’s algorithm, noting among other factors, the stronger emphasis Bing gives to keywords in the URL.
  3. Register your domain name for more than three years. According to several sources, including Wordstream, Bing favors older domains.
  4. Submit your sitemap to Bing. According to Microsoft’s whitepaper,  Bing: New Features Relevant to Webmasters, submit your sitemap.xml file via the Sitemap tool in Webmaster Center or directly from your browser’s address bar by typing the following: http://www.bing.com/webmaster/ping.aspx?sitemap=www.mysite.com/sitemap.xml
  5. Use the Internet Information Services SEO Toolkit to make your site content more search engine-friendly. The IIS SEO toolkit by Microsoft includes the Site Analysis module, the Robots Exclusion module, and the Sitemaps and Site Indexes module, which help Web developers, hosting providers, and Web server administrators perform detailed analysis as well as offer recommendations and editing tools for managing your Robots and Sitemaps files.
  6. Add unique, keyword-rich titles and meta descriptions to each page. The Microsoft whitepaper further suggests following standard SEO best practices, with keyword-rich titles and meta descriptions. Consider placing your most powerful keywords first in the page title. If necessary, separate the keywords in your page title by pipes {|}, which signal in HTML the end of each thought. (For example, at this blog, the page title is Content for a Convergent World: Content Strategy |  Development | and Management). Make sure your meta description includes the targeted keywords and provides a compelling message or call to action, enticing searchers to click through to your site.
  7. Remember on-page optimizationMicrosoft’s whitepaper notes that “SEO for clear and high-quality page content also benefits searchers who will use the Document Preview.” Best practices for on-page optimization include unique content, H tags for titles, alt tags for images, unique page titles, description meta tags, and one topic per page (see on-page optimization tips).
  8. Write at least 300 words per page. According to the sources I consulted, the length of text is more important for Bing than it is for Google (see Bing SEO tips).
  9. Optimize your Site with LSI keywords. According to the SEO Site Reference, Bing favors LSI keywords, that is, synonyms or brand names related to your keywords. (For more information, see How to Use Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) to Improve Your Web Writing Results.)
  10. Link out. Unlike Google, Bing increases the page ranking of  webpages that link out more often. When you do link out, make sure the title tags of the pages you have linked out to have the keyword that is most relevant to your page (see Bing SEO tips & Bing Vs Google: Why You Rank Well on One Search Engine But Not the Other).
  11. For incoming links, ask referrers to match anchor text to your page title.  Ask those linking to your site, to provide anchor text in the incoming link, directly matching phrases in your site’s page title. (See Content Strategy: SEO for Bing.)
  12. For images, use absolute URLs as opposed to relative ones. For tips on how to optimize images, as well as how to optimize local ads and shopping on Bing, see Optimizing for Bing, Optimizing for Google, Is There a Difference?

So, what’s your experience been like, ranking in Bing versus Google? Have you compared your site’s results in Bingle? Any surprises? Do you have any additional SEO tips to share?

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