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Embracing Bing Search & Giving It the Attention It Deserves


Microsoft Bing gets fairly little credit.

Most users shun it, in favor of the Google search experience.

At the same time, search experts and online marketers disregard Bing search while pointing out its relatively insignificant market share percentage.

This situation has persisted for over two decades.

Several of Microsoft’s rebranding and relaunch efforts initiated over the years thus far failed to substantially grow their market share or popular perception.

Unjustifiably so, because Microsoft Bing does much more than merely providing a second-best search experience for users.

This is a testimonial for Microsoft Bing coming from a declared, lifelong Google enthusiast.

Given my professional career trajectory and an extended stint in Google employment, I am an unlikely advocate for any alternative search, least of all Bing search.

In fact, I’ve spent almost all of my professional life working either directly on improving Google search for Google users or, subsequently after tending my resignation to Google and establishing an SEO consulting agency, on helping websites to improve their rankings in Google search results.

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It is this humble experience that leads me to believe that we all owe Bing search a little more appreciation.

Users

In our everyday lives we’re all compulsive search users.

A query looking for a nearby restaurant, book review, or any other topic of interest at that moment comes effortlessly.

Few people but the representatives of a special interest group with a vested interest in search – mostly SEO consultants, marketers, and the like – waste any thought on the tremendous effort and incredibly sophisticated technology that ultimately provides answers to all our imminent questions in the blink of the eye.

The technology behind the four main steps – crawling, indexing, ranking & serving – is both complex and constantly evolving.

The pace and trajectory of the evolution of search are propelled by competition.

Critics may point out that a single competitor with a mere one digit market share does not seem to provide much leverage in persuading Google to maintain its focus on user satisfaction.

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Yet that point of view fails to recognize the unique power users wield over any search engine.

If their expectation isn’t met, they are just one click away from an alternative search of their choosing.

Users – not a particular search engine provider – are the actual market-dominating force in organic search.

Bing search in that sense isn’t just an alternative for users if they need one. It is also a powerful driver for innovation in the search industry at large by virtue of its existence.

Search Industry

SEO is all about identifying relevant, fresh data.

While there are a number of paid tools which offer great insights into website signals, including Botify, DeepCrawl, Screaming Frog, RYTE, and a few others; there is, for many marketers, but one go-to tool when it comes to understanding and improving rankings: Google Search Console.

GSC prominence is well deserved.

After all, it provides unique insights with regard to signal interpretation as well as a recent and rich data source to tap into.

But there is yet another alternative: Bing Webmaster Tools.

While both services suffer from limited resource allocation in the eyes of their primary users, they remain freely available to website publishers. They, however, are not mutually exclusive but best used side by side, supplementing each other.

Signals, especially the sort of ones that raise a red flag, may be independently verified when both GSC and BWT are used at the same time.

Also, exportable data volumes, capped by both tools, can be increased if not doubled.

It is fair to say that Bing Webmaster Tools is an indispensable data source for a skilled SEO expert.

At the same time the development of BWT and GSC, no matter how anemic on both Google and Microsoft side, can be stimulated as long as both tools remain in popular demand.

This is another instance where Bing Search presence is beneficial to all stakeholders, including Google.

Website Publishers

Individuals and organizations operating an online business are in the position to benefit from all the points raised and more.

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Yet many fail to do so, and in the process put their entire business at risk.

It’s of course a failure in relying exclusively on organic Google Search visibility and a constant stream of relevant traffic-driving conversion and sales.

Neglecting alternative traffic sources is a cardinal sin and can, in extreme cases, cause a catastrophic downfall.

No website operator should assume their rankings will remain stable, simply because all of search is in a constant state of flux. Google algorithms evolve, while Google policies change.

Optimization methods merely frowned upon yesterday may become punishable offenses tomorrow.

Competitors further enhance their websites, while new market participants elbow their way into the game.

In such an environment ranking fluctuations are to be expected. Which is why website publishers are well-advised to count on alternative traffic sources, including direct type-in traffic from loyal, returning users.

Next to it however is the traffic that can be scooped up from Bing.

Detractors will once again cite the market share argument, yet as any publisher knows about 5% traffic in the time of falling revenues can make the difference between continuous operations and insolvency.

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If a website is penalized by Google and loses all rankings overnight, converting Bing traffic may, in fact, be all that keeps the lights on for a while (or until) the penalty is resolved.

The really good news, however, is that from a technical SEO point of view Google and Bing search do not differ all that much from each other.

This means that optimizing a website’s technical signals primarily for Google search at the same time helps to improve signals for Bing search at no additional cost.

Google

Lastly, it’s Google search that owes their only serious, global adversary respect.

As anyone who ever had the chance to compete in anything at all knows, it is only a worthwhile effort if there’s someone to compete against.

It isn’t so much the legal argument that Google was not the only search engine, although here Bing’s presence certainly does Alphabet a service, too.

It is much more than that.

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Effortlessly cornering the market without any opposition is the first step to a giant downfall.

When there’s no one to compete against, that’s when people and organizations slow down, slack off, and lose their edge.

It’s our competitors, our adversaries, our enemies that motivate and lastly propel us to step up our game. They are what keeps us motivated to give everything and maintain focus.

In modern society business competitors truly are frenemies who battle each other yet who at the same time desperately need each other.

It is for all these reasons that I encourage you, dear reader, to do as I do.

Indulge in your professional curiosity, embrace Bing Search, and give it some of your love which it well deserves.

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