Microsoft + Yahoo! Equals One Search Engine
As you are probably aware, Microsoft and Yahoo have partnered up to combine forces against Google. More importantly, Yahoo! will be using the Bing search engine all across Yahoo’s Web Properties, ditching their own engine by selling it to Microsoft. Historically, most SEO’s optimize primarily for Google first, knowing that much of that work will translate to Yahoo! and Bing results as well. After all it doesn’t make sense to spend 80% of your time working for something that may net you only 6% (Bing) or 9% (Yahoo!) return.
Once this new “Mic-Hoo” partnership is fully integrated, Bing will have an immediate market share of at least 15% and perhaps as much as 30% (depending who you speak with) once the full roll out is completed and Bing continues to gain steam. This will undoubtedly force industry folks to stand up, take notice and give Microsoft some due props for being innovative and not laying down to continue being steam-rolled.
Microsoft & Yahoo History
Just an interesting little history lesson in search…
Way back in 1997, Microsoft didn’t have a search index and announced a partnership with Inktomi Corp. (anyone remember them?), who at that time was considered a “search-technology leader”. You can read the full press release here, Microsoft Joins With Inktomi to Provide Comprehensive Search Capabilities for Microsoft Online Properties
Wow, 1997… Back then Inktomi claimed to have indexed 75 million web documents. The next year, in late 1998 Google opened it’s doors and almost exactly one year ago, Google announces it has reached 1 Trillion indexed pages.
In 2002, Yahoo! purchased Inktomi. For Microsoft, what a kick in the teeth to have a major competitor purchase one of their most important vendors. This is what prompted Microsoft/Bing to start work on their own search engine. Now Microsoft buys Yahoo’s search engine!
Optimizing For Bing
ON June 1, Microsoft released the whitepapers for Bing. Of note, is the following that was said in relation to SEO.
What do I need to do for SEO with Bing?
All of the benefits from these enhancements are available to websites that invest in SEO. Webmasters can help their websites get more visitor traffic by helping Bing best represent their content to searchers in our SERPs. Webmasters can easily do this by adding unique titles and meta descriptions to each page. If webmasters don’t provide search engines with good, keyword-oriented, well-written caption source data, the resulting captions created by algorithm, no matter how hard we try, won’t represent your website as well as those websites whose webmasters did provide this unique and important data.
The use of consistent data structures between pages on your website (such as placing similar data between pages using a similar tree structure, similar class names, support standard markup technologies, such as microformats, etc.) will also help improve the effectiveness of our crawler, which puts more of your content into our index.
Best of all, the type of SEO work and tasks webmasters need to perform to be successful in Bing haven’t changed—all of the skills and knowledge that webmasters have invested in previously applies fully today with Bing. Moreover, investments in solid, reputable SEO work made for Bing will bring similar improvements in your website’s page rank in Google and Yahoo! as well.
Ultimately, SEO is still SEO. Bing doesn’t change that. Bing’s new user interface design simply adds new opportunities to searchers to find what the information they want more quickly and easily, and that benefits webmasters who have taken the time to work on the quality of their content and website design.
What Do You Need To Take Out Of This?
The good news is that we don’t have to completely over-haul how we do SEO with regards to Bing.
With Bing being so new, ultimately how we look at SEO’ing for Bing will change however, I’ve had a chance to do some preliminary testing, and you will notice that many of the SEO techniques we use for Google also apply to Bing, so here are some findings.
1. Keywords in URLS
Bing seems to like keywords in the url, whether it’s part of the domain name or a page name
2. Domain Age
How old a domain name is seems to be a factor here. So if you are planning to launch a new website/domain any time soon, you may consider purchasing an existing domain.
3. Titles & Meta Description
The title tag, as well as meta description appear to be a big factor in SERP weighting, so make sure you are crafting unique, relevant title tags and meta descriptions.
4. Linking Inbound & Outbound
Much like Google, inbound links especially with relevant anchor text seems to be well liked. In regards to Outbound links, there are plenty of mind-sets when it comes to Google. Many feel that outbound links should be avoided since it will leak PR (PageRank), however, i have the opposite sentiment, in that if the outbound link supports your web page, and is relevant then you should do it, and Bing agrees. Just don’t over-due the outbound linking.
5. No Love For Blogs?
I am hearing that Bing doesn’t seem to have the same kind of love for blogs, as Google does. More research will be needed before i can quantify this.
Stay tuned for my next Blog, where we explore Bing’s user interface.