Bing Optimisation – Is It Part Of Your SEO Strategy?

Just over a week ago both the Australian and Canadian governments approved a deal to see Bing power Yahoo’s search results. So whilst Google has 87.79% share of search traffic down under, collectively under a Bing/Yahoo arrangement 1 in 10 clicks in Australia would go to a Bing search result. So suddenly this deal combined with the added promotion behind Bing in Australia means that marketers should take note of the important considerations to improve Bing rankings and exposure without comprising Google rankings.

The Core Elements

Overall it seems Bing has bought back some of the key elements that once held significant weighting within Google’s algorithm. However Bing has learnt from the loopholes used by black hat SEOs and improved on it to so ensure spammers don’t benefit from manipulating SERPs.

So what should a Webmaster focus on to rank on Bing?
Content and more content; Bing loves it and some experts recommend pages should contain a minimum of 300 words. In addition Bing seems to be a little anal and favours content which is free of spelling errors giving you an added reason to proof read your content.
It’s not how much you’ve got, it’s what you do with it; Back links do play a key role in optimizing for Bing however quantity is less important than the context of the link. In particular links from sites that are of a similar theme seem to provide the most strength to your Bing SEO efforts.
Keywords Tag – An oldie but a goodie; Bing’s own blog has advised webmasters to ensure they are optimizing keywords within all of the important parts of the code ie in H1 tags, Title Tags and even the keywords tag.
Give Love & Get Love – It seems that unlike Google, part of Bing’s algorithm favours sites that link out to other sites related to a sites theme.

Other Important Considerations

Outside of the core elements there are some other key variables which marketers need to consider to get the most out of their Bing search efforts.

Are you even there?

As stated above Bing’s algorithm does include some of the older Google techniques – but with a stronger monitoring system to detect SPAM and penalize offenders. As a result it seems that Bing is suffering from some teething problems. The Bing search blog seems to be somewhat inundated with webmasters whose sites have disappeared from the index for various reasons. Whilst Bing has similar rules in place to Google which cause sites to be de-indexed, Bing has also stated that as their algorithm changes, sites may disappear from the index completely as they have been incorrectly flagged as Spam.
Thus as a starting point it is important to ensure your site is in the index and if you are experiencing problems follow these instructions.

Bing Search ResultsBing Document Preview Feature

Bing provides a document preview function to allow searchers to instantly see more content on a page without the need to go to a website.

Why is this important? Not only can content help you rank but Bing uses this information to assist searches to find what they are looking for with a try before you buy type function. This means SEOs have direct influence over how search listings are presented, to attract more users to your site.
The examples below for Clive Peeters and Freedom Furniture demonstrate how some of the big retailers of Australia are currently being affected by this feature.

Enhancing the preview function

If you want to ensure that Bing is displaying useful previews, the most important thing is to ensure that site pages include useful content not just images and this content is featured at the top of your site code.

However if you are restricted with your current site, webmasters can also insert the tag within the tags on each HTML page to disable the feature.

There is also a site-wide exclusion, insert the following line in your web server’s HTTP header:
x-robots-tag: nopreview.

Want to learn more?

Bing has released a series of tools and articles to help Webmasters, get the most out of Bing. I have included some of the most useful links below:
Bing’s White Paper For Webmasters

If you have got any top tips to help fellow SEOs optimize for Bing please leave them below.

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