We’re pleased to announce our second guest blog of the day from our friend and SEO specialist Lee Smallwood who looks at optimising website content for higher rankings on Bing.
Lee Smallwood is a digital media consultant at digicoms and specialises in SEO, social SEO and social signals. He is engagement advocate, writer and regularly speaks at conferences for Brands on optimisation (social and search) and the benefits of implementing engagement into the corporate communication mix.
When it comes to market share Bing doesn’t lead – but that doesn’t mean spending time optimising content for Bing is a dumb idea! Far from it… Bing is currently one if the biggest search engines and it seems to do better and better annually. Not only that, but there are few people optimising their content for Bing and this makes it a huge opportunity for you to push your website to the top.
Bing search engine optimisation is incredibly similar to Google SEO. There is an emphasis on back linking and authority websites due to similar algorithms, however each engine applies different weighting factors to them.
By the end of this article I hope you’ll have a better understanding of what you need to do to succeed with Bing SEO.
Bing takes longer to index than Google, but for a very good reason. Bing is more susceptible to spam because their algorithm is not as complex as Google’s. Bing is aware of this fact, so the search engine wants to make sure that all indexed websites are good. But, there are a few things you can do to get indexed quickly.
First, if you are waiting to see your site indexed by Bing you should constantly update it with new content. You don’t need to go crazy, just one article or post a day should be fine. Also, build up some authority backlinks to show that you are a reputable website.
Flash Based Website Content
Unlike Google, which ‘hates’ Flash-based websites, Bing seems to have an easier time reading Flash content, so it ranks it much higher. Not only that, but Bing more ‘correctly’ ranks Flash-based websites than other search engines.
When building a backlink, especially one in the body of an article, many people like to use keyword-based anchor text. This is useful in Google, but with Bing, it’s vital. Bing places a lot of emphasis on anchor text with backlinks, and it also pays a lot of attention to HTML titles.
This attention is especially true when the HTML title and anchor text are related. For example, if the title is “Best Ceiling Fans”, then the following anchor text keywords will work synergistically with the title: ceiling fans best, best fans, best ceiling fans and ceiling fans. The title and anchor text do not have to match, but they should be related for best effect.
When it comes to page authority in both Bing and Google the two search engines use the same factors: PageRank and authority Top-Level Domains (TLDs). However, the emphasis on both is switched. Google highly rates PageRank, and it seems to treat authority TLDs as an afterthought.
PageRank is important in Bing, but the emphasis is really watered down. You can actually achieve good rankings for competitive keywords even if you have a bunch of PR1 and PR2 backlinks! Your focus should therefore instead be on authority TLDs. Authority TLDs are from government- and organisation-based websites. This includes: .gov, .edu and ac.uk websites. For the best rankings, try to obtain backlinks from these websites.
Number of Backlinks
If you look at Google results for competitive keywords, you will notice that most of the top results have a huge number of backlinks. While the number of backlinks is important to Bing, the emphasis, fortunately, is not solely a number’s game.
For the best rankings, you shouldn’t just think about the number of backlinks. As stated above, you want to concentrate on getting authority backlinks. Authority backlinks are the ones that really matter when it comes to Bing and they are the ones that will bring you to the top for competitive keywords. So, focus on the quality of the link, not the number.
At the same time, many people report that healthy amounts of low PageRank backlinks are also capable of boosting your website’s rank. For some reason, Bing seems to like PR1 and PR2 backlinks, especially if they are coming from blog comments or forums. This seems to be because Bing appreciates social websites, so try getting some backlinks from them, but don’t forget to maintain relevance to your core keyword set.
There are many factors that go into on-page Bing SEO. However, if you are familiar with Google SEO, then these factors will seem rather familiar.
First up, on-page body text. By now most people are aware that search engines crawl body text, so you need to make sure the body text is optimised for all your keywords. Google is infamous for punishing websites that use too many keywords, or websites that use one keyword too many times. However, Bing does not punish such websites quite as harshly, but you should aim to attain a 1-2% keyword density so that Bing can understand how to rank your content. But don’t over optimise as Bing has been getting harsher with body content that looks like spam.
Meta information appears to mean very little in Bing, so don’t waste too much time setting up your meta keywords and description. However, meta information is able to give your website a slight boost, which can propel you one or two spaces forward, which in a competitive space can make the difference.
A factor that seems very important to Bing is how large your website is in terms of memory. Smaller and lighter pages often do better than large pages with a lot of images and elements. According to the suggestions from Bing engineers you should:
“Limit all pages to a reasonable size” and “a page with no pictures should be under 150 kb.”
Whilst ranking your website in Bing may be very similar to ranking in Google, Bing SEO is actually much easier. This is partially (as touched upon earlier) because Bing has fewer people actively trying to rank websites, but also because the ranking factors are somewhat easier to work with.
Just ensure you get backlinks from authority TLD websites, that you properly use anchor text and HTML titles to make your website appear more relevant and that you follow all the proper on-page SEO rules to get your website in the highest possible position. Do all this, and you should be able to maximise the chances of your site ranking near the top of Bing’s search results.