Bing has now garnered a 20-per-cent market share in the search engine world. Although Google still has the lion’s share (64.5 per cent), Bing has moved into runner up position, where Yahoo was in May, 2009. As a small business owner, you need to ensure that your website is optimized for Bing; otherwise you could be losing many potential customers. The following are some tips on getting your website higher on Bing searches.
Older is golden
Unlike Google, which places more importance on newer, more popular websites, Bing says out with the new, in with the old. It will rank a website that is on an older domain higher than one that is newer. The solution? Purchase an older domain name. Think of Bing as Google’s older more nerdy brother – as it also tends to like websites that are more about the facts, rather than being social. .EDU and .GOV websites tend to have higher ranks than your everyday .COM.
Here I am!
Bing will more than likely not know you exist, until you submit your website to its index. As mentioned above, Bing is more about the facts than about being social – the older brother doesn’t want to do your work for you, and wants you to submit your website for indexing yourself. This is a fairly simple process, just go to http://www.bing.com/toolbox/submit-site-url — fill out the short form and off you go. If your website isn’t listed yet, it could be a number of things, including that Bing’s just too busy and hasn’t gotten to your website yet, or that there is something barring it from doing so – check your robots.txt as well as ensure that there are links pointing to your site, and you’ll be fine.
Let’s get technical …
Bing also has some technical requirements before it will rank your website as high as it deserves. How fast is your page load time? The faster it is, the better. Be sure to check your load time on a computer that you haven’t used yet, or clear your cache and/or cookies – that way you’re starting from fresh, and your website won’t load quickly just because you’ve been there before. Other important elements are a properly written robots.txt, as well as that you’re site tech isn’t too rich – remember, Bing’s more about the facts than the fancy stuff.
Gimme that title!
Bing is all about the title. Title tags are the words that show up across the top of your website; they are also what usually shows up as a header in search engines. Your titles need to be relevant to your website, and not generic. For example, rather than “about us” use “About our excellent book store, Books Around the Corner.” The more specific you are, the more Bing will like you.
Who are you linked to?
Our nerdy brother – Bing – thinks the more people who think you know what you’re talking about, the better. Back links are just like references in a resume – if you have a lot of websites pointing toward your site – and those sites themselves are good quality and are ranked high on Bing – the higher you’ll be pulled up as well. Make sure to submit your site to colleagues and people in your industry, and even exchange back links – everyone wins.
Just like Google, Bing wants excellent content as well. Content should be prolific and original, and not stuffed and crammed full with keywords. It shouldn’t be easy to discern what your website’s keywords are just by taking a quick browse through the content. The words on your website should be relevant too – if all of your site components match – keywords, titles, etc., Bing will think you’re an expert in your industry.
Keywords – they’re key
Keywords are especially important – other than limiting the amount of times you use a keyword, you need to ensure that the keywords are simple. Google is looser with matching keywords – Bing is more exact. If your customers are going to be looking for a used bookstore specializing in fantasy novels, that’s what you should include as a keyword.
Love being local
Bing loves local companies, and nine times out of 10 it will serve up a local company over one in the next state. How do you make your website local? Again, it’s the keywords. If you live in Philadelphia, make sure you include that in your content. Don’t forget to use shortened versions of your city as well, and any neighboring cities or towns that are within travelling distance.
Improving your search engine ranking with Bing may seem confusing. By following the above guidelines — using simple, local keywords, including the technical requirements in your website, writing excellent content and submitting your site to Bing, you’ll be “Binging” to the top in no time at all.