Fine, 90% of your organic traffic comes from Google search and not from Microsoft bing, Yahoo or other entities. But it wouldn’t hurt if you can get a little more search traffic on top of what you already receive, right? Here are some bing SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tips as documented by the official bing blog.
(Before applying these tips, check if your blog is already getting 6% to 8% of the overall search traffic from bing. If so, there is not much room for optimization as it almost already reflect the bing market share)
Factors that affect (any) SEO
Regardless of whether you are optimizing for Google, Yahoo or bing, there are these following parameters that finally dictate where your pages rank:
- Content quality & uniqueness
- The domain age
- Backlinks and authority of the page
- Neighborhood pages
- Title, meta keyword, content relevancy
Prerequisites to get considered by bing
Even before you start optimizing your content check if your blog satisfies the following prerequisites to help the bing bot crawl and index your site.
1. Submit your blog/site to bing: Use the following URL to submit your blog to bing. If you had already submitted your website to MSN earlier, chances are you are automatically indexed by bing as well. Anyhow, it doesn’t harm if you submit again.
Submit your site to bing
2. Verify at bing webmaster central: Use the bing webmaster central to add your blog and its sitemap there in. Do not forget to verify your site using the XML verification process mentioned there in.
3. Upgrade your Google XML Sitemap plugin: If you are using an old Google XML sitemap plugin on your blog, your post updates may not be alerting the bing search bot to crawl your blog. Hence you need to update the plugin and make sure that ‘Notify bing’ option is checked.
4. Robot.txt: Make sure that you are not blocking the bing/MSN bots via any robot.txt entries.
Bing SEO tips
Now, let me summarize the optimization tips that I got to read on the bing official blog.
#1 Construct good HTML
bing seems to give more weightage to the critical HTML parts such as the page title, meta keywords (much more weightage than Google) and H1 tags. It is a must to have relevant keywords in those three areas to get the bing bot understand the importance of your pages.
#2 User’s language in keywords
For bing, it is important to use those key phrases that people actually use to search than the hyped ones such as ‘Make Money Online‘.
#3 Create location aware content
Unlike Google, the geo-targeting is not something that can be forced on bing via some settings alone. Bing uses on page information to geographically categorize content. Hence if your business is located in a particular town, make sure to use the name of that town (and address on relevant pages) on your pages and meta keywords tag.
#4 Backlinks from authority sites
Just like Google, the backlinks play a role in deciding the authority of your site. Hence you have to have quality backlinks coming in from authority sites and the relevancy of the anchor text is given more importance than the page rank of the originating sites.
#5 Have good number of outbound links
Due to the monetization models around links, Google degrades pages that have dofollow (ie. without rel=nofollow) outbound links. However, as long as the content linked to are relevant with respect to the anchor text, bing loves pages that are linked to relevant content. No dofollow or nofollow worries in this case! In this particular case it’s a toss up between bing and Google. There is more weightage when you are linking to older and established domains (neighborhood matters).
#6 Simplify your site or blog
#7 Remove trailing ‘/’ from domain name
While internally linking as well as doing offsite SEO, make sure that you simplify your home URL as much as possible by removing the trailing ‘/’. Sometimes, the url with slash and the one without slash (e..g. http://www.dollarshower.com/ and http://www.dollarshower.com) are considered two entities and hence causing dilution of your backlink equity.
#8 Convert all URLs to lowercase
Due to much the same reason as mentioned above, you may convert all your URLs to lowercase for all reference and link building purposes (e.g. http://mysite.com/About to http://mysite.com/about).
#9 Simple and easy to read URLs
Use your permalink structure to keep all your links as human and bot readable ones. URLs containing too many numbers, port number, non-alphabetical characters are not very readable by bots in order to obtain valuable indexing information and relate to their contents.
Also, absolute linking (http://www.dollarshower.com/about) rather than relative path linking (./about) seems to be of help to the bots.
#10 Domain age and landing page content
Older the domain, the more authority you have in the eyes of bing (also true with Yahoo) where as it is fairly easy to tweak your site to high authority when you are trying to achieve Google SEO. Bing also value unique content on landing pages.
At the end it is boiling down to older domain, unique content, good neighborhood and relevant text in key HTML tags.