Microsoft Bing is the current second biggest search engine in the world, first launched by Microsoft in 2009. It replaced the corporation’s previous search engine, Live Search. Microsoft’s initial goal was to overtake Yahoo! as the second most popular search engine. It currently stands in second place, behind Google and before Yandex.
What is Bing?
On Bing, you can search for images, videos, maps, news, and shopping. The search engine was originally marketed as a ‘decision engine’ and promised to provide users with more accurate and relevant search results.
Generally, search results appear much the same as Google’s, with search results listed down the left-hand side and, if relevant, a short profile detailing the topic you’ve searched for. The information in this position is normally pulled from the top-ranking site or Wikipedia.
There are, however, some features that are totally unique to the site. For example, the Sidebar feature incorporates elements of your linked social media accounts, displaying information gathered from, for example, your Facebook that is relevant to the user query. Interestingly, Bing is unique in that it also takes into account a user’s query history when organising the page’s results.
In terms of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), the Bing engine follows the same basic principles as Google, with a greater focus on certain elements. Other engines, such as Yahoo!, DuckDuckGo, AOL, Ecosia, and Lycos also use Bing search technology. If your website is successfully ranked on Bing, it is likely that is will also rank highly on Yahoo!, and so on.
Bing is the current version of the Microsoft search engine, which started as MSN Search in 1998.
This early platform featured a web crawler, index, and search engine, and initially displayed results from the software company Inktomi. Later, MSN Search added a picture search option, which was powered independently by Picsearch.
Windows Live Search
Microsoft replaced MSN Search with Windows Live Search in 2006. This new search tool was notably different due to the multiple search tabs, which included web, news, images, and music. In 2007, this title was shorted to simply Live Search.
Live Search then developed into Bing, which was initially launched on the 3rd of June 2009. The title was Microsoft’s attempt to distance itself completely from previous versions of the search engine and to create a completely new identity. The title was also devised to be easily rememberable, simple to spell, and to emulate a eureka moment.
The search engine’s title was formally changed to Microsoft Bing in October of 2020.
Bing’s relationship with Yahoo!
In July of 2009, Bing announced a 10-year deal with Yahoo!. This deal saw Yahoo drop their search engine in favour of Bing’s. Although Yahoo!’s search engine was powered by Google between 2015 and 2018, it is once again powered by Bing, as are the likes of DuckDuckGo and AOL.
How successful is Bing?
Since its initial launch, it has remained steadily the world’s second most popular search engine. This was partially due to the heavy marketing campaign that Microsoft launched during the early years of the site, as well as the deals the company made with the engine’s competition, such as Yahoo!.
The Importance of Bing
Despite having a much smaller market share than Google, it’s still important to get your site ranking on Bing for several reasons. For one, it remains the second most used search engine and remains the 19th most visited website in the world. It also makes up around a 5th (alongside Yahoo) of the desktop search market. For these reasons, Bing remains important.
There are many other reasons why you should take ranking on Bing seriously, including the following:
It’s a Google back-up
From an SEO perspective, Bing can be viewed as a backup to Google. If your online presence is ever penalised by a new Google algorithm, or your page otherwise fails to rank, ranking on Bing will at least secure you some degree of traffic to tide you over. However, it’s worth noting that Bing has vastly different ranking metrics to Google, and looks at sites in a different way.
You will rank on other websites
As we’ve already mentioned, several other internet search engines are powered by Bing, including DuckDuckGo and Ecosia. If your site ranks in 1st place, it will also take the top spot on these other affiliated search engines. Ranking on Bing, therefore, automatically ranks you elsewhere.
It’s easier to rank
Bing should also play a vital part in your SEO campaign purely because of how easy it is to get your site ranking on the search engine. Most SEO campaigns focus purely on Google, meaning there is far less competition on Bing.
An older demographic
From a business point of view, you may find Bing to be much more valuable to your trade in terms of enquiries and sales. Bing users tend to be older, with the age group of the browser’s core demographic aged between 55 and 64, with an average household income of upwards of £58,000. An older demographic means more disposable income.
Bing’s Worldwide Market Share
Bing’s worldwide market share is currently at 3.3% (according to Statcounter). As aforementioned, it has remained the second most used search engine in the whole world. The engine reached its market share peak in 2014 with 3.63%. This fell slightly in the preceding years, dropping to 2.47% in 2020. As of August 2022, it is back up to 3.3%.
Despite being only in second place, it’s still far behind Google in terms of market share, with the search engine giant currently holding 91.43% of it. Still, it is clearly in front of the 3rd most popular search engine, Yandex, which currently only holds 1.49% of the market share.
It’s also worth noting that Bing, just like Google and other search engines, are dependent on local laws to deliver their results. That’s one reason why many local searches are widely different on Bing, even for the same terms.
Different countries also provide different levels of access to search results, meaning you could experience different platforms, websites and more through Bing and other search engines.
Bing’s market share in the U.K.
Bing has a slightly stronger market share statistically when examining the U.K. specifically. According to Statcounter, as of July 2022, it holds 5.18% of the search engine market share. Google is still well in front, with 91.7%, while Yahoo! takes third place, with 1.64%.
The Bing Company
Since launching in 2009, the Microsoft Bing brand has expanded to include several other services and resources. Other features include:
Bing Mobile is a search engine phone app that’s available for iOS and Android. It functions the same as the browser based engine, with such additional features as predictive text, location directions, and speech recognition.
This is a pay-per-click service that allows businesses to display ads in Bing’s search results. This ad platform is set up in a similar way to Google Ads, in that you can advertise using pictures (display advertising) and more traditional text content.
This Webmaster Tool allows you to analyse how well your online presence is performing, in terms of traffic, clicks and other essential data. This tool also allows you to set up geo-targeting for your business and upload your sitemap to increase crawl speed.
This analytics platform is particularly powerful when it comes to reviewing specific aspects of your online operation.
How it Works
The search engine follows a similar SEO structure to that of Google, except it places more emphasis on certain factors. For example, while Google will punish any websites it deems to be keyword stuffing, Bing will not punish such sites as severely. Additionally, backlinking is not as vital on Bing as it is on Google.
Bing’s main ranking factors, when it comes to delivering relevant search results, include:
Click distance is how far away a page is from the home page. For example, if it takes four clicks to reach a particular page on your website, this is known as a page with a high click distance. The higher the click distance, the less likely Bing will rank the page in search results.
Bing determines click distance based on the URL of each webpage it comes across. In URLs, clicks are signified by backslashes, so the longer the URL the further away it is from the homepage. Generally, if your webpage has four backslashes or more, it will not be ranked – even if there’s a shortcut link posted on your website’s homepage.
Microsoft Bing’s algorithm ranks landing pages highly that clearly show relevancy to the topic at hand. Upon initially scanning your landing page’s content, it will determine the number of times you use a certain keyword, which includes variations and synonyms, within the titles, text, anchor text etc. Bing then gives the page an ID number and hash value reflecting these findings.
From these findings, the browser will be able to determine how relevant your website’s content is when compared to common search terms. The more relevancy identified, the higher your website will rank.
While Google doesn’t consider click-through rate when ranking websites, Bing does. The click-through rate is simply the number of times that users click on your website. Google does not consider click-through rate as a valid reflection of user engagement, as it can easily be faked or manipulated by the site’s owner.
Other user engagement factors that determine where your page shows on Bing search results include how much the user adjusts their query as well as page dwell time.
Social media is well integrated into Bing’s user experience, and search results are often determined based on how well an article performs on the likes of Facebook and Twitter. If, for example, an article receives a lot of retweets it will help with its ranking.
Additionally, Bing will analyse how your social media friends interact with a particular product or service. If a friend has endorsed a company on Facebook, you will be able to see this in the search results. This is one way that Bing differs hugely from Google, as the latter does not integrate social media in its search results at all.
Other factors influencing Bing search results
Bing also ranks websites based on several other factors, including the following:
- The page load time (how quickly users can access the site)
- The quality of the writing in content (spelling, grammar, readability of content, etc)
- The location (what language is used, what country the information is relevant to)
- Freshness (how up-to-date a sites’ content and data is)
- Links (how many links the site has from valuable, relevant sources. Links are a major ranking factor for websites on Bing, just like Google)
Making your site rank on Google should definitely be the primary goal of your SEO campaign, but working to make your web pages Bing-friendly is also a good idea. It remains the second biggest search engine in the world, and ranking highly on it will definitely guarantee you a steady flow of clicks.
However, the algorithm works slightly different on Bing than it does on Google. Click distance, relevancy, video embedding, engagement, social media, page load time, location, and freshness are the main factors considered when it comes to delivering results for your searches.
Here at Gorilla Marketing, we can provide a complete range of search engine optimisation services, with long-term strategies which will benefit Google, Bing and other search platforms. Whether you’re looking for a review of your current strategy, SEO support, or a completely fresh look at your business’ web presence, we are here to help.