Although SEO for Bing is quite similar to optimizing your website for other search engines, there are a few differences to take into account. For example, while Google considers links, page speed and EAT (Expertise-Authority-Trustworthiness) in content as most important, Bing values social signals and on-page features more.
Despite the significant difference in market share in favor of Google, Bing ( Microsoft Bing since 2020) is on par with it on most functionalities, and even slightly superior on others.
Even so, marketers tend to concentrate all their SEO efforts on Google, and neglect the other players in the search engine field, missing out on millions of people who use them.
In this article, we will first map out the current search engine market share and compare the two most popular players, along with practical Bing SEO tips to grow your organic traffic.
Search Engine Market Share 2023
As of January 2023, Google holds 92.9% of the search engine market, followed by Microsoft Bing (3.03%) and Yahoo! (1.22%). As Bing powers Yahoo, that’s over 4% worth of traffic. Also, Google Chrome is the browser people use the most (65.4%), next in the line are Apple’s Safari (18.71%) and Microsoft Edge (4.46%).
Bing is predominantly used on desktop devices (8.87% to 0.48% on mobile). With Google, we see the opposite (it holds 96.45% of the mobile search engine market and less on desktop – 84.66%).
Another interesting stat is that over 1 billion unique global visitors use Bing every month. Although that’s far less than Google’s 8.13 billion, SEO for Bing is a fight worth fighting for.
Also, surprisingly, Google has serious competition in countries where people use another search engine in close proximity to the world pioneer.
For example, in Russia, more than 62% of the search engine visitors there use the local Yandex. In China, Baidu (65.21%) and Sugou (12.7%) are the two leaders. Next is Bing (11.47%), leaving Google all the way at fifth position with a market share of 2.5%.
In the US, a quarter of all search queries were on Microsoft-owned platforms (so, Bing, Yahoo! and voice search) in 2022.
The TL;DR of all this is that, although Google still dominates the global search market, the other players are also generating loads of traffic that you can, and should, benefit from.
Google vs Bing
Even though the web is full of memes like this, and the fact that Microsoft Bing is indeed considerably less popular than the search engine giant Google, let us take the time to explore the differences and similarities between them.
The tech giant Google was founded in 1998 by two graduate students, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, at Stanford University. The company began as a simple search engine that quickly gained traction for its innovative algorithms and efficient web crawlers. In 2001, the first version of their advertising platform, AdWords, launched. It allows users to buy targeted ads on Google’s search engine.
As the popularity of their services increased, along with new developments such as Gmail and Android OS, so did the amount of data on users throughout the world. As a result, Google became one of the most powerful corporations in existence today.
Google has continued to expand its reach beyond innovative projects like driverless car technology (Waymo) and AI assistants (Google Home). Meanwhile, its parent company Alphabet Inc. recently announced its intention to form a health & pharmaceuticals division (Verily) in order to better capture this lucrative market.
When Microsoft first released their search engine, Live Search, in 2006 it lagged behind the industry leaders, Google and Yahoo! In response, Microsoft developed, and released Bing, a “decision engine” in 2009. It was created to provide more information on search pages than usual. This would enable users to make better informed decisions about which links to follow or even to find the information they needed without following any links at all.
Bing was designed to provide faster and more reliable results than its predecessors. Since then, it has become one of the most popular search engines worldwide. Microsoft has continually striven to improve Bing with advanced features such as auto-complete, voice search, and smart answers. The search engine has also been integrated into other Microsoft services, making it a powerful tool for accessing information on the web. These include Xbox Live and Windows 10 Cortana.
Microsoft Bing also has innovative features like the Bing Ad Platform, which helps advertisers reach their target audiences based on demographics and interests. The platform uses sophisticated machine learning algorithms. This is so there is an efficient and effective experience for both users and marketers alike. The combination of algorithmic power and data-driven insights has enabled Microsoft Bing to maintain its position as one of the best search engines available today.
SEO for Google vs SEO for Bing: Key Features
Google has a significantly larger index – it consists of hundreds of billions of web pages. Over the past month, it crawled about 63 billion pages! Bing hasn’t yet released the size of their index. However, they reached 6.7 billion web pages in the same time period.
Also, in terms of results, Google tends to focus more on pages that match user intent. Bingbot strives to find the freshest content for each query. The aim of Microsoft Bing is to minimize crawl footprint on websites. Google crawls web pages with different frequency, multiple times if necessary.
This is why it is important to watch your sitemap file and submit it to Google Search Console every time you modify your website and want the changes to be taken into account as quickly as possible.
With Bing Webmaster Tools, you can monitor your site’s performance on search similarly to Google Search Console. The only feature that is different, is Bing Site Explorer:
What’s unique about this feature is that it organizes all your web pages in a series of folders and subfolders containing all the URLs in each one. It reflects your site structure and makes it easy to identify and fix errors/ make adjustments.
That said, Google has a mobile-first index hence the dominance on mobile search usage over Bing. Although Bing has stated a long time ago that they would not do a mobile-first search index, it maintains a single index for both desktop and mobile. So, make sure you optimize your website for both. Also, check the Mobile Friendliness Test Tool to track your progress in Bing’s “eyes”.
Google places a lot of emphasis on semantics, LSI keywords and optimizing for broad match and long-tail queries. This has been the case since the Hummingbird algorithm update back in 2013, when semantic search entered the SEO picture at full speed. Since then, Google has shifted away from generating results based on individual words, in favor of suggestions based on the context of the search query and the search intent.
Bing, however, favors content that has been optimized for exact-match, “straightforward” keywords and “old-fashioned” SEO practices. Although like Google, keyword stuffing won’t get you far on Bing SEO either; since natural, useful content is key.
So, exact match domains, exact keywords in H1 and H2 tags, as well as in alt tags, meta titles and descriptions are a surefire way to enhance your Bing SEO results. Also, make sure to include the author of your content as well as multimedia. Unlike Google, Microsoft Bing loves graphics and Flash-based elements as long as they don’t interfere with the purpose of the content.
Both Google and Microsoft Bing have an easy-to-use interface that displays different types of useful information about a search query. However, the Google interface is clean while the Bing one is more visual:
Let’s type in a query and see what the differences are on each:
It is easy to see that the SERP in Microsoft Bing is much more visual and includes videos relevant to the search query “seo tips 2023”. On Google, results line up vertically, with an empty space to one side and no video suggestions.
Both have the ‘People Also Ask’ feature that displays 4 top suggestions. However, while on Google, each one is summarized in bullet points, on Bing, you only see the meta descriptions for each.
Additionally, we can also see the difference in the amount of results. On Google, we got about 125,000,000 results. On Bing, we had significantly less: about 1,130,000 results.
Image search is a lot more intuitive on Bing as opposed to Google. They both use horizontal image scrolling (Bing was a pioneer at this). However, on Google, the images open a side panel that takes up almost half of your screen. Once you select one of the results, it directs you to the host website and thus, you are “forced” to visit it in order to get the full-size image:
On Bing, the image scrolling panel takes up the entire screen and displays a lot more information about the image of your choice. Also, you don’t have to visit the hosting website. You have the original size, web page, and variations on the side. If you still want to view the site itself, it will open in a new tab. This makes it easy for users to navigate back to the search results.
Bing arranges video search results horizontally and therefore, they make it easy to find what you are looking for. Also, once you click on a video, you remain on the platform. To compare, Google’s video search results are displayed vertically. So, you have to scroll down more to view the same amount of suggestions as on Bing. Once you select one, you will always be taken to either YouTube, Facebook, Hulu or some other website.
Unlike Google, Microsoft Bing doesn’t use your previous search history (a.k.a. content-based targeting) and/or web activity to show you particular results. In that sense, it is much more private and discreet. Although it is well-integrated into Office 365, Windows, Skype and other Microsoft platforms, you don’t have to own or sign in with a Microsoft account in order to use it.
Also, on Bing you have the option to view and clear your search history. As a result, the user search experience becomes entirely customizeable:
Another privacy-related “relief” on Microsoft Bing is that, unlike Google, there are no captcha walls. They are typically prompted by VPN usage but on Bing, you don’t need VPN as you can easily adjust your location to manual search:
Both Google and Bing feature knowledge panels, or graphs, on their SERPs. However, in 2020 Microsoft Bing introduced the Whole Page Algorithm. This feature has made a significant difference in the final output.
As a result, all suggestions prompted by a Bing search have made it to the first page and are organized by rich elements (video boxes, image boxes, fact graphs) in an infographic style.
For example, let us observe the SERP results for both search engines for the query “new york”:
Of course, there are blue links further down in Bing’s SERPs. However, they have been recognized as less relevant to the user intent behind the search query.
On Google, we also see first SERPs organized in a similar but less graphic way. However, their Knowledge Panel Guidelines are a bit more selective in terms of the queries that can use a knowledge panel. For instance, they won’t show any ads as part of it, unlike Microsoft Bing.
Microsoft and OpenAI have joined forces to create a chat feature on Bing and Edge, as announced on February 7 this year. Although there is still a waitlist for the “new” Bing where you can use the service, here is a sneak peak of what it would be like:
And here is the result:
As you can see, the SERP has a similar layout as before. However, you also have the live chat option at the top. As Microsoft themselves view it, AI is a copilot of the web. It doesn’t replace either the search engine or the browser but rather combines them both to provide a better experience for their users.
Google undoubtedly holds the majority share of the search engine market. Yet, that doesn’t mean you should overlook the other major search engines. Especially if your website aims to rank in countries with a substantial Bing user base. It pays off to remember them too!
Achieving success using online search is simple. All you have to do is provide quality content. Also, adhere to the best practices for creating a user-friendly site that all search engines will index in order to rank highly on their results pages.
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