The vast majority of SEO discussions focus on how to rank well in Google (http://www.google.com), and with good reason. Google is unquestionably the king of search, and there is a good chance things will stay that way for quite some time. That said, Bing (http://www.bing.com) is having a strong impact on the industry, and it can no longer be ignored by anybody who takes SEO seriously.
Now that Bing controls the Yahoo! search results as well, it means that they control at least 30 percent of the search market. In other words, nearly a third of people are now looking at Bing’s search results, not Google’s. Therefore, if you properly optimize your site to deal with both Google and Bing, you could see almost a 50 percent increase in your traffic over focusing just on Google.
Fortunately, you don’t have to completely overhaul your SEO efforts in order to rank well in Bing. Most of the factors that improve a site’s rankings are the same in both search engines. That said, there are some important differences that you can’t ignore if you want to capture as much search traffic as possible.
The first important difference is the relevance of editorial links. An editorial link is a link from within the content of an article. Many SEO experts have already pointed out that Google now places a stronger emphasis on these types of links than other types of links such as Blogrolls, comments, link directories, and similar links. But Bing places an even stronger emphasis on these types of links.
This doesn’t mean that other links don’t matter, but it does mean that if you want to rank well in Bing, you better have a strategy for getting contextual links. This isn’t going to happen by spamming the Internet with comment links or buying links in the sidebar. You’ll need to write guest posts, use link baiting techniques, and find other ways to attract links from the content of articles.
One easy way you can increase your number of editorial links is to start an article marketing campaign. This can be as simple as writing some short (300-500 words) articles and including your links within the body. Be careful though – you won’t improve your ranking with Bing if you just throw your link in the article over and over again. Your article needs to make sense, and your links should be worked in naturally in a way that doesn’t interrupt the flow of the article or make it sound contrived.
Press releases are another great way to get editorial links. If your company or website is doing something newsworthy (like launching a new product, donating to a charity, or hosting an event), then write about it in a press release and include a link back to your website. If you have the budget available, there are a number of good press release distribution services out there (like PRWeb.com) that will send out your release for you. You can also distribute your press release manually if money is an issue. A good press release can get picked up by thousands of other websites and news sources, which can result in a ton of good editorial links pointing back to your website.
Do Not Buy Links
Whatever you do, though, do not buy links from link brokers or other websites that sell links in bulk. Bing (and other search engines) frowns upon this practice and will actually punish you for purchasing links with a worse ranking. The best kinds of links to get are organic links that you acquire naturally using effective link-building strategies like the ones we just talked about. If you suddenly acquire 100 new links overnight, Bing will get suspicious and could penalize you.
Another factor that seems to have relevance is the domain name. While having the keyword in your domain matters a lot for Google, it matters even more for Bing. There is some debate about whether an exact match domain is more important than a good brand name, and this will depend as much on your own business strategy as anything else. Nevertheless, realizing that this factor is even more important for results in Bing is an important thing to keep in mind while you make this decision.
Finally, Bing seems to have a stronger emphasis on content. A page can rank well in Google even if there is almost no content on the page. This doesn’t appear to be the case with Bing. The search engine prefers to rank pages that have a lot of content on them. Even if a page has a large number of high quality links pointing toward it, Bing may refuse to rank it well if it doesn’t have very much content on it.
It’s a good idea to add fresh, unique content to your website on a regular basis anyway, in order to attract visitors and give them a reason to keep coming back to your website, and if this will help your Bing rankings too then that’s just icing on the cake. If you find that you have trouble creating your own content, you can find ghostwriters and freelance bloggers on job auction sites like Guru.com and Elance.com that will create content for you at an affordable rate.
As with Google, the most important ranking factor for Google is links. While the domain name and the amount of content on the page are both important, the difference in links is the most important factor that will improve your rankings in Microsoft’s search engine.