When SEO comes up in businesses and marketing agencies, Google is what springs to mind for the majority of search engine marketers and enthusiasts. This comes as no surprise since Google is an industry leader with the vast majority of users worldwide. By focusing and optimizing for the most popular search engine, you will likely meet the mark with other search engines and get even more traffic on your website than you initially anticipated. Despite the numerous benefits of focusing solely on Google, the constant updates and changes they role out can leave you plummeting down SERPs with no safety net. Taking the time to actively optimize your site to rank higher on other search engines can prove a viable long term tactic that keeps you on top much longer. If you are looking to incorporate another search engine into your marketing efforts, your best bet is the second biggest search engine in the world – Bing.
What is Bing
Bing is a web search engine that Microsoft owns and operates. While Bing was officially formed in June 2009, while this might sound relatively young compared to Google, Bing has a rich history that can be traced back to Microsoft’s previous search engines. Years of work and experience that Microsoft has been put into MSN Search (1998), Windows Live Search (2006), and Live Search (2007) were used to form the powerful search engine that is now called Bing. It offers a variety of searches, including web, image, video, and map searches. Despite the infamous brand standing behind Bing, the search engine is still not as popular as Google. Despite its less popular status, Bing is currently one of Google’s main competitors.
A Look at Bings Position in The Market
When looking at Bing’s position in the market, it is vital to keep in mind that Bing has a deal with Yahoo, another highly rated search engine. While both of these search engines operate as separate entities, they both use Bing’s search algorithm. The deal dates back to the same year in which Bing was formed (2009). Microsoft and Yahoo struck a deal in which Bing would power all searches made on Yahoo. The companies reached an agreement, and the search officially went live in 2012. The arrangement lasted for three years, after which it was slightly altered in the new terms, which still stand today; Bing powers most searches, not all.
Regardless of Yahoo’s deal, Bing’s numbers still place it as the second most popular search engine. When we look at the global market share, Bing’s (and Yahoo’s) user count is meager compared to Google’s. However, these numbers go up when we focus on Western countries. Countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and even some European countries have a relatively high percentage of Bing and Yahoo users. One of the main reasons why Bing is so popular is because of Microsoft’s strategic approach to increasing the search engine’s users.
Devices That Use Bing as the Default
Bing’s deal with Yahoo is not the only thing that is increasing Bing’s popularity and usage. Microsoft has also done a terrific job by making Bing the default search engine for many devices and services on the market. Bing has found its way onto all of Microsoft devices in the form of Microsoft Edge and Cortana. This means that a whole range of desktops and mobile phones use Bing as the default search engine. Bing also became the default search engine for Microsoft’s Xbox platform. Apart from powering Microsofts devices and services. Bing was also the default for other big names like Amazon and Apple. While it no longer powers Apple’s Siri, it was the first choice. These strategic partnerships kept the brand alive and drew in advertisers that jumped at the chance to use Bing as a platform to reach larger audiences.
Who Uses Bing
We have seen that Bing is the default search engine for many devices and services out there in the market. A specific demographic of Bing users started using the engine because it was already on their device and continued to do so simply because they did not have the knowledge or desire to switch to another search engine. However, this is not the entire market share of Bing. A large portion of the market comprises people with the knowledge and ability to switch to other search engines. These are people that started using Bing and grew accustomed to the search engine. After all, the search results offered are not that different from Google, plus the Bing homepage is a little more aesthetically pleasing.
A look at Bing’s Demographic
When it comes to Bing’s demographic, statistics show that the search engine usually caters to older audiences. A lot of them are parents or grandparents. While there are some younger users on Bing, they are not as prevalent. Unlike Google, which sees almost uniform traffic from various age groups, the typical Bing users over the age of 35. The most common age group comprises individuals from the ages of 54 to 64.
Reasons Businesses Should Optimize for Bing
As with many marketing approaches, there is no right or wrong answer for what a business should do. While many businesses pour all their time and effort into Google (which is not necessarily a wrong approach), Bing still has a lot of potential. These are some of the reasons why businesses invest in Bing.
Reach a Wider Audience
We have already covered how much of the world, especially the western world, uses Bing. A lot of these users are people that do not alternate between search engines. They exclusively use Bing. Optimizing for Bing allows you to tap into a whole new demographic of internet users, and potentially acquire more customers or fans. Let’s not forget that optimizing for Bing has the added value of reaching Yahoo search engine users as well. Reaching that many people is worth the extra optimization effort.
Bing Traffic is Valuable
While Bing is the second most popular search engine, statistics derived from Bing ads show that conversion rates on Bing are higher. It seems that Bing’s audience has a lot more disposable income and purchase intent. This is big news, given that over a third of Bings converting traffic is people with an annual income of over $100,000 or more. Some SEOs speculate that this might be attributed to the demographic itself. Many older users are not as tech-savvy and do not differentiate between organic search results and paid results, leading them to click on ads that appear.
This can be good news or bad news, depending on the business. If your target audience comprises of younger adults, then Bing might not be the best use of your time and resources. However, companies that cater to the general population and older adults can see a good return on investment.
Many Report Lower Bounce Rates
Certain businesses seem to do worse on Bing than Google. This can easily just be a cause of reaching out to the wrong audience. However, in instances where businesses succeed on Bing, they tend to do exceptionally well. They see benefits such as visitors spending more time spent on the site, a higher click-through rate, more subscribers, and more overall visits. While there is no way of predicting the ROI of investing, it is worth a shot. Focus on producing quality content and a great site, and the rest should take care of itself.
Bing is usually overlooked by businesses working on their digital marketing plans. It seems that they prefer to focus their efforts on optimizing solely for Google. This is because many businesses are unaware of the benefits that Bing has to offer. Businesses that take the time to look at Bing’s ranking factors and integrate them into their optimization efforts get to enjoy the benefits of ranking higher in SERPs, without the fierce competition they face in Google. With so few businesses doing this, focusing on Bing can be the boost your business needs.
Good For Local Businesses
With the introduction of local search and user proximity being automatically taken into consideration (when permitted), search engines are quickly becoming a powerful tool for smaller businesses that want to get more attention in their area. While Google is excellent at marketing businesses with local search, it has a minimal radius. Google will only show users smaller businesses within their immediate surroundings. It will highlight larger businesses that are further away, but that can hurt small business owners. Bing tackles this issue differently. Microsoft’s search engine has a more significant range and will showcase a lot more local businesses to users. This means that smaller businesses have a much larger chance of getting noticed on Bing than on Google.
Huge Potential For Voice Search
There is a lot of hype surrounding the rise of voice search. It seems that the convenience of mobile devices has brought about an increase of on the go searches. Instead of typing, they prefer to speak into the mic and getting simple results. While Google is one of the industry leaders in this field, it is essential to remember that Bing powers a decent amount of voice searches. Currently, services such as Cortana and Alexa are powered by Bing. As voice search continues to grow and expand, businesses that rank higher in Bing could enjoy more traffic from these services.
Can Act as a Safety Net
In the world of online marketing, the landscape tends to shift from time to time. This is especially true for the search engine giant Google. Numerous sites all around the world report drops in SERPs when Google rolls out an update. This can become infuriating, especially when it affects traffic. Branching out onto another search engine means that you are not at the mercy of Google. If rankings on Google are negatively affected, you can still enjoy a steady flow of traffic on the Bing search engine (given you hit important ranking factors).
Bing is Transparent About Ranking Factors
Google is yet to come out and publicly state its ranking factors. While there are areas you can get decent information, it has never been officially confirmed which factors are true and how much they affect ranking. Bing is more upfront about its ranking factors. It offers guidelines on how to optimize sites. While following these guidelines will not automatically secure you a spot at the top of SERPs, it does put you in the position to one day make it to the top (if you provide quality content and great user experience).
Setting Up Your Business on Bing
In order to start experiencing Bing’s benefits, you need to set yourself up on the platform. These are two crucial steps you need to cover when starting out on Bing.
- Claim Your Business on Bing
Similar to the way you need to claim your business on Google, Bing offers a similar setup for anyone that wants to maximize their presence on the search engine, especially in local results. In order to list your business on Bing, you have to visit Bing Places for Business and claim ownership of the business. Once that is done, you can move on to registering your website.
- Crawl and Index Your Website
Once you claim your business on the search engine, it is time to make sure that your site is indexed. Visit Bing’s Webmaster Tools and submit the site for indexing. This is how the process should look like:
- Create a Bing login. You can use Outlook or Microsoft login to get that done.
- Go to the Bing Website Submission page and fill in the necessary information.
- Get a URL for your XML sitemap.
- Verify ownership. This is done by copying and pasting the code you receive.
The process is pretty straightforward and should not take you too long. If you need more information, feel free to visit Microsoft’s instructions on how to set everything up. Once you g to the process, your site should be indexed, and you will probably begin noticing traffic over the next couple of months.
Reaching People Through Bing
In order to spread your message, you must advertise on the platform. Advertising on Bing has the additional benefit of spreading your word to partner platforms like AOL and Yahoo. Here are two ways of going about reaching a broader audience on Bing. You can either go the paid route or the organic rout
Bing PPC – Paid Advertising on Bing
Pay per click (PPC) ads on Bing are very similar to Google. They rank at the top of the page, above the organic search results, and are distinguished from organic results by a small white “ad” symbol in front of the meta description. Securing ads on Bing functions the same way Google Adwords does, by bidding on keywords that show up for certain search terms. The more sought after a term is, the more it will cost per click. The great news is that the lower competition on Bing paid search allows you to run ads at a more affordable cost.
Importing Campaigns from Google
Bing is aware that the majority of marketers are already targeting on Google. To make things simpler, they have enabled campaign importing from Google Ads. If you already have search campaigns on Google, the process is of creating a Bing ad campaign involves a couple of clicks. Just make sure to look at the minimum bid and budget requirements and the location and time targeting options. They differ from Google Ads. Apart from that, you will need to get familiar with Bing’s quality score system. It determines how relevant an ad is, its cost, and its positioning in SERPs. Bing explains this scoring system in a detailed guide.
Starting From Scratch on Bing
If you are not importing an ads campaign from Google, you will have to start from scratch and set everything up in Microsoft Advertising. Follow these steps to set everything up:
- Create a Microsoft Advertising account – Visit the Microsoft site and create a new Bing ads account if you do not already have an account. If you have an account, you can simply sign in with your email.
- Set things up – Once you are logged in, you will be asked to import Google Ads settings, which you require you to sign in to a Google Ads account. If you do not have a Google Ads account or do not want to import the same setting into Bing, click on “create a new campaign.”
- Select targeting options – In the next step of the process, you will need to choose a name and language for your campaign. Once that is done, you will be prompted to select a location where the ads will be run. It is best to pick specific areas so that you can better control your ads and budget.
- Adding keywords – Bing will then ask you to add keywords to the campaign. If you have already conducted keyword research, or have existing keywords for previous campaigns, you can simply add them to this campaign. If not, the platform will generate some ideas based on the keywords you entered into the website. It will showcase metrics like monthly search volume of your targeted area, the average cost per click, and the competitiveness of the selected keywords.
- Pick a match type – Once keywords are selected, you get to choose how to target them. You will have the choices of a broad match, phrase match, or exact match.
- Creating an ad – Microsoft Ads allows for 140 characters in their ads. In order to get the most value, make sure to use your targeted keywords. Also, add details like location, sales, free delivery, and a strong CTA (call to action).
- Set A Budget – The last part of the process is setting up the budget. This enables you to limit spending and get an idea of expenses and positioning your budget enables.
Organic Advertising on Bing
Organic advertising is all about getting results through the power of your content. While it might not cost anything upfront, organic marketing will require you to put in some time, effort, and money in order to rank well. If done right, you will secure yourself high SERP rankings, and get a decent amount of organic traffic. These are some of the important Bing ranking factors you need to focus on if you want to rank organically:
- High-quality content
- Researched and well-placed keywords
- Technical optimization
- Quality backlinks
- Use of multimedia on pages
- Social signals
- Great user experience
It is clear that marketing has greatly shifted to the virtual world. Spreading a message involves investing time, energy, and resources into establishing a good online presence. While doing so in the world’s most popular search engine is a must, you can also get a lot of ROIs if you put in the extra effort and expand to Bing. This is one of the reasons why innovative marketers are including Bing in their marketing and SEO strategies. We hope that this guide helped shed some light on how you can get started on Bing. If you want the best results for your marketing efforts, consider working with a digital marketing agency that can bring results on every search engine.