When people think of searching the web or internet marketing, the majority automatically think of Google. This comes as no surprise given its worldwide fame. After all, it is the most popular search engine with the largest market share of users. Google searches have even made their way into the mainstream with phrases like “Google it” being synonymous with searching for something on the internet. Due to this popularity, many people overlook the fact that Google is not the only search engine available. There are other search engines to include into your digital marketing strategy and SEO strategies, such as Microsoft’s Bing. People looking to expand their online marketing efforts are entertaining the idea that Bing might be a good way of reaching more people.
Bing is the second biggest search engine used for internet searches and is definitely worth investing in. In order to do that and take full advantage of this search engine, it is crucial to understand some critical differences between Bing and Google.
A Look Into Google
When it comes to search engines, Google is a titan in the industry. It stands tall, with a whopping 87% global market share. Thanks to its vast user base, it is estimated that the search engine processes over 40,000 search queries each second, equating to more than 3.5 billion searches a day and over a trillion searches a year! That is a lot of traffic. While Google is now a world-renowned brand, looking at a brief history shows that was not always the case.
Back in the 90s, it was just an idea of two Stanford Ph.D. students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who were working on a research project called BackRub. The focus of the project was to rank websites by checking backlinks. The more links a site had, the higher it would rank in SERPs. The idea worked, and Google was officially formed in 1998. Its innovative approach put it on the path to overtaking its competition – Yahoo.
Over the years, Google’s embrace of innovation has been well documented. It looked for ways to push boundaries to offer valid search results for users, as well as create a great environment for business owners interested in digital advertising. With time, it brought about essential updates, such as Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Pigeon, Mobilegeddon, RankBrain, Fred, BERT, and many smaller updates that affected the way this powerful search engine found and ranked its content. Google’s focus on user activity and innovative approaches to enhancing searches have helped it evolve to technological advancements and stay on top of the market. They even have the Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) to help people ensure their sites meet the webmaster guidelines and have the potential to show up in organic search results.
A Look Into Bing
The search engine Bing was formed in May of 2009 by merging MSN search and Windows Live Search. That same year, July to be exact, Bing started powering 100% of Yahoo searches. This lasted until 2015, in which the deal changed, and it was agreed that Bing just had to power the majority of Yahoo searches. This means that Yahoo and Bing are a two for one deal when it comes to optimization. Since the search engines beginning in 2009, Bing has updated, evolved, and expanded into what it is today. It has become a reliable service that aims to mirror the progress that Google is making and provide value for people looking for information.
While it is clear that Google is the leading web search engine, Bing is the next most popular, with 5.53% percent of the global search market. However, it is important to note that Bing powers the majority of Yahoo searches (1.79% of worldwide traffic), which means that optimizing for Bing can help one rank in Yahoo searches as well. While this might not seem like much, we need to take into account that this is on a global level in which Google has secured the coveted first spot for its international search engine acclaim. Countries all over the world use Google as their go-to search engine. Even Russia which has its own search engine, Yandex, uses Google as a primary search engine (52.24% to 44.38%, with 0.54% going to Bing).
Bing’s second-place in the search engine market becomes evident when we look at the Western world. It accounts for 11.2% of the market share in the U.S., 10.34% of the market share in the United Kingdom, and 4.72% share in Canada. While these might seem like small percentages, they still represent millions of people.
Some Important Differences Between Bing and Google
While these are both search engines that aim to offer people the best results for their searches, their algorithms differ and put more weight on different ranking factors. In order to get a better understanding of the difference between Google and Bing, we are going to take a closer look at these two search engines, and some of the important differences between them.
Google Ranking Factors
- All Pages Can Rank, If They Are Good Enough
One of the biggest differences between the two most popular search engines is in indexing and ranking between the search engines. Google aims to get a clear picture of all the content on a website, which means that it will go through and index everything it can. Google is all about quality and encourages sites to create internal pages that provide relevant and engaging content to visitors. If any of those pages follow the best Google SEO practices and focus on quality content that is relevant and engaging enough to draw in visitors, then it has a chance to rank highly in SERPs.
- Advanced Content Interpretation
One of Google’s best features is that they always look for ways to improve their services. Over the years, they have always looked for ways to utilize technology and better understand the websites they index and rank. Thanks to innovative updates that aim to understand content and user intent, Google’s algorithm can interpret context through headers, titles, and even the content itself. This is a key difference when it comes to Google vs Bing optimization. Google has surpassed the days of solely relying on the presence and frequency of keywords to interpret content. However, do not make the mistake of thinking that keywords are not necessary on Google. They still play a part, and Google will reward those that integrate relevant keywords into high-quality content.
- Google Favours Updated Content
Google is aware that the world is constantly changing. Because of this, it’s algorithms tend to favor sites that consistently produce authoritative, accurate, and new content. This can take the form of creating brand new pages or updating older pages to give them a much-needed boost. With so many people looking for information, it makes sense that Google aims to identify, handle, prioritize, and rank fresher content.
- Mobile Optimization
While optimizing for mobile is important for both search engines, it carries a lot more weight on Google. The search engine giant has adapted to the market and made mobile-first indexing the norm. It assesses the mobile version of a website to determine both ranking and indexing. Google has seen that the majority of users access the web from a mobile device, and aims to reward sites that optimize for the majority of users. If you are looking to stay relevant on Google, you must take the time to improve your website’s mobile experience.
When it comes to Bing, they have a different approach. They recognize the importance of mobile but have no intention (at least in the near future) of implementing a mobile-first policy. They maintain a single index that is optimized for both desktop and mobile. Despite this, it is always a good idea to fully optimize web design and functionality for mobile-first indexing since it won’t hurt your Bing ranking and will help boost you on Google. This ensures you meet the mark with search engine optimization (SEO) and user experience (UX) for the majority of users that access your site.
Bing Ranking Factors
- Bing Favors Homepages
Unlike Google that has made it possible for any page in a website to rank, Bing’s SERPs are much more likely to rank homepages over internal pages. This is because Bing adheres to the traditional assumptions of site structure. If you are looking to get higher rankings on Bing, make sure you have a strong and well-optimized (technical and content) homepage.
- Prefers Older and Official domains
Bing prefers what are considered “tried and tested” domains. This includes pages that have been live for quite some time and have seen a lot of traffic, as well as top-level domains such as government and educational websites (gov. and edu.) While it is impossible to optimize for either Bing or Google when it comes to these preferences, it is vital to compare the search engine results to see which one’s search rankings favor your domain.
- Get the Keywords Right
While Google has made a lot of progress in the way it analyses content to interpret user intent, Bing seems to be behind in the field. The second most popular internet search engine still focuses on exact keywords to get an idea of content. Those looking to rank on Bing need to be intentional and direct when inserting keywords. This goes for titles, meta descriptions, headers (h1, h2, h3, etc.) and the copy on the page.
- Takes Social Signals Into Account
Social media plays a key role in ranking on Bing. They are keen on social media engagement and have made social signals a critical ranking factor. Bing allows users to see if friends have recommended a location on their social media channels. This translates to pages with more engagement having a better chance of ranking higher on SERPs.
- Entity Understanding
Bing puts a lot of emphasis on multimedia as a ranking factor. It has something that is called entity understanding, which is designed to get a clear idea of what types of media are located on a page. Adding pictures, videos, and audio to pages can positively affect chances of ranking higher on Bing.
Shared Ranking Factors
There are a lot of distinct ranking factors for both search engines, and some shared ranking factors will help you rank higher on both search engines. These are some of those shared factors:
- Technical SEO – Working on the technical aspects will ensure that it ranks on both search engines. This covers a broad range of technical SEO rules and metrics that help sites rank higher. Some of the most important ones are site speed and mobile-friendliness.
- Quality Content – Google and Bing have drastically different algorithms when it comes to content. Google aims to use technology to get a better understanding of language and leave behind the keyword-focused page analysis that it relied on before. Bing, on the other hand, looks at exact keywords to get an idea of content. The approach here should be to try and hit the mark for both Google and Bing’s algorithms. This means finding the balance of writing for people and not over-optimizing. Looking for ways to creatively add relevant keywords while avoiding keyword stuffing.
At the end of it all, the main difference between these two search engines is the algorithm they use to rank content. This brings about a challenging dilemma for businesses and SEOs that are interested in optimizing for both search engines. Focusing on one can hinder your progress in the other. The best option for getting the best results is to focus on similarities, and then make a strategic decision on which search engine to focus. If you prefer to avoid the intricacies and nuances of SEO optimization and enjoy the benefits of ranking, consider working with professionals that can handle the process for you.