Optimizing for Bing


MSN is calling it “the sound of found.” I call it the sound of Web site owners and online marketers scrambling to figure out what this means for their search strategies. Does the emergence of this new engine mean you have to adapt your SEO (define) strategies? Are there certain things you should keep in mind when optimizing specifically for Bing?

I was curious to find this answer, so I did some investigation, leveraging both MSN/Bing content as well as observations and findings from fellow search professionals, and here’s what I came up with.

Summary of Overall Findings

  • Content is king. If you want to rank well on Bing, just like with other search engines, you must have great content. In fact, rich content seems even more important on Bing, given the way that it organizes and presents information in the SERPs (define).
  • Keyword placement is important. Making sure you have your keywords in all the right places is imperative with this engine, especially page titles, H1 tags, and link text.
  • Authoritative inbound links are essential. Although this is agreed to be important for any engine, Bing appears to act even more favorably toward inbound links, particularly those that are from sites that also have a high number of links.
  • A technically sound, well-built site is valued. Though likely valued by other engines, validating your code, checking for broken links, and employing appropriate redirects are explicitly recommended by MSN. It also recommends static URLs over dynamic URLs, suggesting HTML content is preferable.

From the Horse’s Mouth

It must be said that MSN maintains that you cannot manipulate your rankings in the organic search results:

    Bing website ranking is completely automated. The Bing ranking algorithm analyzes factors such as webpage content, the number and quality of websites that link to your webpages, and the relevance of your website’s content to keywords. The algorithm is complex and is never human-mediated. You can’t pay to boost your website’s relevance ranking. However, Bing does offer advertising options for website owners.

That said, MSN offers quite a few Web sites and tools to help site owners ensure their sites are well positioned for indexing within the engine. Bing Webmaster Center provides lots of helpful documentation and tools, including technical and content guidelines similar to Google’s Webmaster Tools.

The Webmaster Center Tools offer some unique features that I haven’t seen elsewhere, including Product Upload, which allows site owners to upload and publish their products and offers for free so that they appear in the product search.

There’s also a Webmaster blog, which contains a useful section on search marketing. In particular the following posts are helpful:

As part of the Webmaster Center, Bing offers “Guidelines to Successful Indexing” to help Web site owners ensure that the MSNBot can index all of their content.

Technical suggestions:

  • Validate your HTML code.
  • Avoid broken links.
  • Set up redirects from old pages to new ones.
  • Ensure that you have allowed the MSNBot to crawl your site and employ Robots.txt.
  • Use static URLs wherever possible rather than dynamic URLs with multiple extensions.

Content suggestions:

  • Create valuable content.
  • With visible on-page text, include keywords.
  • Keep pages down to a reasonable file size.
  • Try not to cover more than one topic per page.
  • Use static text links.
  • Put keywords in text rather than in images.
  • Add a site map, particularly for image- or Flash-based navigation.
  • Use a flat Web site hierarchy.

Big no-nos:

  • Keyword stuffing
  • Hidden text or links
  • Link farms

None of these suggestions are really new per se, but it does give us a sense of Bing’s key areas of interest.

Ultimately, successful SEO with Bing isn’t going to be much different than with any other SEO strategies. That said, hopefully these tips have made you aware of Bing resources that you can use to help increase your visibility in Bing.

For more information, check out:

Happy Bing-ing!

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