Given that Google commands some 64% of the search market share in the US as of 2017, it's understandable why digital marketers focus SEO strategy work on Google rather than Bing. While Bing is the second choice for many in North America, it only commands about 22% of the market compared to Google. That's roughly one-third the activity of Google, but at 22% of the activity, Bing still represents a significant number of people. The reality is that digital marketers should tailor SEO strategies to each platform in order to reach the most people. What steps can be taken to optimize SEO strategies for Google and Bing? Of equal importance, are there any overlaps that should be noted?
What's Unique to Google?
When optimizing SEO strategies for Google, it's important to understand the overall differences that make Google unique. The following bullet points offer a rundown that can help get brands started tailoring SEO specifically to Google searches:
Google has increasingly focused on mobile websites over desktop versions, even going as far as ranking mobile websites ahead of desktop in search results.
Optimizing SEO for Google will require regular refreshes of content. Google searches give preference in search results to fresh, regularly engaged content.
The breadth of a website and strength of individual pages matters to Google. The search giant tends to rank internal pages such as the About Us or blog pages rather than focusing on the basic home page.
In order to optimize SEO for Google, brands need to think about the content on all of the pages within a site, refresh that content on a regular basis, and ensure that everything is mobile friendly for smartphone users.
What's Unique to Bing?
Although all search engines might look similar on the surface, the manner in which Bing works to gather information and present it to searchers is much different than Google. This means that optimizing content for Bing specifically requires a different approach. These bullet points will help get started optimizing SEO for Bing searches:
Bing bots will crawl through hidden and non-hidden text on a page and rank them equally. While Google devalues content for this, Bing does not discern between the two.
Bing tends to pay more attention to exact-match keywords in content, including the content in the meta data and text on the page. Google prefers to focus on concepts and focal points over exact phrasing.
Social signals for a brand are considered valuable to Bing and will impact rankings.
One particularly unique factor is Bing's focus on flash content. Bing can read flash websites and typically favors sites with strong, engaging flash content.
On an additional note, Bing also tends to favor old, reputable pages in its searches and focuses on the homepage of a site rather than diving deeper into the individual pages. These factors should all be kept in mind as it regards SEO for Bing vs. Google.
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How to Optimize for Google and Bing
No brand is going to maintain two separate online presences to rank highly in Google and Bing, so the question becomes "is there a way to optimize for both?" The answer is an emphatic YES! Both Google and Bing rank bigger brands higher automatically, but for those brands that aren't major national or international companies, keep the following in mind:
Both search engines value high-quality backlinks
Both place a high value on local search results
If a brand wants to rank highly across both sites, forget what makes them unique and focus on what makes them similar. To rank highly on both Google and Bing, start with title tags that feature keywords (just avoid stuffing). Both the homepage and internal pages on the brand site should be optimized with valuable content, but focus on the important internal pages in particular. While Bing is more public in its preference for social media activity, don't take that to mean Google ignores social.
Last but not least, develop a strong local SEO strategy to appear higher in local rankings on both search engines and don't forget to optimize sites for mobile users. Google may focus on it more intently, but Bing users are searching on mobile devices too and the service no doubt understands the value of mobile search going forward.