We occasionally get asked by our clients, “Is Bing relevant?” What they’re really asking is, “Should I be using Bing for my business?” The answer to the first question is, yes. The answer to the latter is, it depends.
The reality is it’s rare to hear someone say, “I Binged it,” or “You should Bing that topic.” Whereas “Googling” has become a ubiquitous part of our lexicon. Everyone does it and knows what it means. That, in addition to the resources and unique algorithmic formulas that they’ve applied to their search engine, has allowed Google to secure over 60 percent of search engine market share.
With that said, Bing is not inconsequential. Bing is consistently applauded for the quality of their search results, on-page content, user-friendly guidelines, strong performance on engagement metrics, low bounce rates, and high conversions.
And as Google continues to dispense more algorithmic updates more frequently— and penalize sites that don’t comply with them—Bing will likely become the search engine of choice for more people.
Here are some other reasons you might find Bing more relevant and useful for your business:
Bing – Their webmaster guidelines are less technical than Google, more focused on on-page content, and less strict. For example, Google requires that meta titles be between 55 and 58 characters long. Bing just requires that they be below 65. Compared to Google, it’s much easier to adhere to Bing’s best practices.
Google – While some feel that Google’s guidelines are laid out more clearly, they tend to be more involved with a lot of technical SEO requirements. They are also frequently updated so it can be challenging to stay on top of them to avoid Google’s wrath (e.g. removing your site from their search, lowering your search rank, etc.)
Because it’s a hot topic right now, I searched for “Star Wars Trailer.” Here’s what the two search engines gave me:
Bing – 48,000,000 Results
Bing provides much better use of the right side of the screen, displaying more interesting, in-depth information about the upcoming movie, different sources covering the movie and showing the trailer, and a video image that I can easily click on. Overall, it’s just more attractive and content-rich.
Google – 132,000,000 Results
Google provided lots of search results, but not necessarily better quality results. Like Bing, they included video links that I could easily click on, but not as great a variety of sources. And there’s a lot less contextual content.
Bing – Bing is the second most used search engine. When you take Bing’s 14% market share and add it Yahoo!’s 16% (which Bing runs), Bing makes up about 30% of searches in the U.S. And 85% of Bing’s searches come from people in the U.S.
Google – Google holds the majority of search market share in all countries except Russia, China, South Korea, and Japan, which means a huge target audience.
Bing – Shows more ads at the top of the search engine page when compared to Google, but is similar to Google in the type of text ads you can design. Bing’s AdCenter also serves ads for Yahoo, generating a Yahoo Bing Network which represents both engines combined. Therefore, with Bing ads, you are reaching two different audiences.
Google – AdWords system is considered to be more user-friendly and intuitive than Bing (easier to optimize campaigns, etc.). Google’s Display Network of websites (which users can serve banner ads through) is much larger than Bing’s.
Bing – Bing is less popular than Google, which can mean less competition for keywords and lower bidding price (but not always).
Google – Since Google is a crowded search engine, it can be costly to compete for ad positions and keywords.
Bing – Bing allows for a 40 character title, which can help give you more targeted ad text and keyword specificity.
Google – Google has a 25 character limit.
Bing – Some tracking tools, but less robust than Google’s.
Google – Built-in tracking and analytics tools that allow you to see which exact keywords are converting and which are not.
There are many other attributes we could compare between Google and Bing, but what it really comes down to is what your business needs and goals are. It’s also important to look at your analytics to see how much traffic is coming from non-Google search engines. Google is still deemed the number one search engine in terms of popularity, but that can always change. Businesses would be wise to optimize their websites for Bing as well.
Chances are, if you’re optimized for Google, you’re likely in good shape for Bing. However, there are three areas where you should be sure to optimize for Bing:
- On-Page Content – Research Bing’s best practices related to this, but essentially, it’s important to have a keyword-rich site, with compelling, concise content.
- Canonical Tags – With a canonical URL tag you’re essentially telling search engines that multiple pages should be considered as one, without actually redirecting visitors to the new URL. Bing has actually put a lot of emphasis on users not linking their canonical tag to the same page. Bing’s position is, “The rel=canonical is that it was never intended to appear across large numbers of pages… It’s best to leave them [canonical tags] blank rather than point them at themselves.”
- Internal Linking – Bing recommends that you audit your site to ensure that you are maximizing your internal linking opportunities.
Ultimately, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on Bing’s guidelines. It probably won’t include much SEO work in addition to what you’re already putting in for Google. Keep a close eye on how much organic traffic you get from Bing. If it’s a sizable number of customers, Bing ads could bring a good return.
For more information about what search engines and channels could be profitable for your business, request a digital marketing strategy audit.