Yahoo & Bing Combined – Optimization Tips

Yahoo & Bing Search Results Are Combining Soon!

Don’t Get Left Behind – Optimize Your Site For Bing

For guys like me who live, eat & breathe this SEO stuff, this is nothing new.  But for most everyone else, it went wildly unnoticed that Bing & Yahoo announced they are combining their search results.  And Bing’s algorithm is going to power that new Search Engine.  This means that what you see today on Yahoo will be different once the change is made tomorrow.  If you are getting top rankings on Yahoo for say “Business Lawyer Century City”, this means that those rankings are at risk if you do not prepare for the change.

Let me start by saying that I will be the first to admit that most of my client’s sites do not get a ton of traffic from their Bing results.  And am I saying start to abandon Google SEO & start focusing on Bing solely – no.  However, in a really short time – as short as 2-3 months from now when Yahoo & Bing Combine, there is a lot of reason to take notice:

First of all, many people who have had great results on Yahoo, might lose their rankings overnight when Bing flips the switch.  Good SEO people are preparing for that today instead of reacting, and it’s what’s keeping us up at night.

Second, when Yahoo & Bing combine, Microsoft will now represent up to 35% of all search traffic.  When they were 18% & 15% of search traffic individually (vs. Google at 65%) Yahoo & Bing seemed small, but combined they are much more formidable.  Plus, Steve Ballmer has recently said Microsoft would invest up to $11 Billion into Search, which is a signal that Bing is not going away anytime soon, if not attacking Google directly.

At the risk of being overly technical & going too deep into SEO skills, I’m going to give you some good insight that will help you prepare for the upcoming changes.  If this proves to be too technical for most of you, forward the article to your Webmaster / or SEO guy – you’ll be glad you did.

Bing’s SEO principles (from Bing Directly)

The most basic advice we can give for achieving optimum rank for your site in Bing is to do the following:

  • Develop great, original content (including well-implemented keywords) directed toward your intended audience
  • Use well-architected code in your webpages (including images and Sitemaps) so that users’ web browsers and search engine crawlers can read the content you want indexed)
  • Earn several, high-quality, authoritative inbound links

** http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmasters/ – Bing Webmaster Tools
**
http://www.bing.com/community/blogs/search/archive/2010/07/21/testing-begins-with-yahoo.aspx – Article from Bing Announcing the switch

The type of SEO work and tasks webmasters need to perform to be successful in Bing hasn’t changed—all of the legitimate, time-tested, SEO skills and knowledge that webmasters have invested in previously apply fully today with Bing. Moreover, investments in solid, reputable SEO work made for Bing will bring similar improvements in your website’s page rank in other search engines as well.

Me again:  Most of this is nothing new.  Ultimately, SEO is still SEO. Bing doesn’t change that. Bing’s new user interface design simply adds new opportunities to searchers to find what the information they want more quickly and easily, and that benefits those who have taken the time to work on the quality of their content, website architecture, and have done the hard work of earning several high-quality inbound links.

In reality, the same SEO strategies you use for Google apply to Bing.

1. Get Your On-Page SEO Right  & Put Quality Content First

Bing is starting to act like Google in that it’s trying to have its algorithm based around the user experience. That’s been Google’s mantra for years, now Bing is doing the same.  Use that to your advantage:  While some SEO competitors are searching for ways to “trick” the search engines into higher rankings. Just focus on quality content.

Make sure your content is unique, use H tags for titles, use alt tags for images, use unique page titles and description meta tags, one topic per page and ensure your copy is free from spelling and grammatical errors. Again, the basics.

2. Quality Inbound Linking

Again, nothing too earth-shattering here, but the differences are in the types of links to look for.  Bing seems to favor linking from pages that share a similar topic area. Most of the related articles I’ve been reading on this says that Bing is focusing on links from related sites, and putting more weight behind that.  Google has threatened to do so for years, but instead focuses on relevance & it’s own secret sauce.  Do I think Bing has suddenly surpassed Google in the sophistication in their algorithm?  No.  But the main difference appears to be Bing relies less on elements like Page Rank to help you determine the value of the sites you’re getting links from. More importantly, not all sites – even the good ones – are even listed in Bing yet.  So if the site you’re getting a link from isn’t indexed by Bing, you get no love from that.

But of the sites it does know of, Bing appears to be largely page based, as opposed to site based. Bing seems to look at the topic of the page linking to you. If the linking page is on a similar topic, the target page receives a boost. Look for the title tag on the linking page. Try to ensure the title tag keyword on the linking page is the same as the keyword you’re targeting on your optimized page.

3. Domain Age

Finally, domain age seems to be an important factor in Bing – the older, the better. Like Google, Bing tries to establish authority, and domain age is one way it does this.  That said, it also seems to like links that come from older sites rather than newer sites.  So keep that in mind when you are adjusting your linking strategy.

There are some other important factors regarding the links & what Bing specifically is looking for within those pages, or even how to get Bing to notice the sites that are not in their index, but part of me doesn’t want to bore you more, and the other part doesn’t want to give away the store!   I might just save those for my local seminars & clients!

This should get you on the right path for the next big thing in search.
Also, check out this site: http://www.bing-vs-google.com/ it’s a site that shows your results for a search term & where you are coming up in Bing & Google at that same time.  Pretty cool tool.