SEO For Google Vs. Bing: How Different Are They? [SMX Advanced Seattle Tips]

SMX Advanced LogoIs there that much of a difference between ranking factors for Bing versus Google to justify all the efforts in “optimising” for both engines?

The first of a series of awesome panels at SMX advanced features Matt Cutts (Google), Janet Driscoll Miller (Search Mojo), Rand Fishkin (SEOmoz), and Sasi Parthhasrarathy (Program Manager, Bing) to explain exactly that.

Useful stats – Bing Vs Google

When Bing and Yahoo combine, the new engine will have around 30% market share (US), so it’s pretty key to start thinking about your traffic from a two engine world, if you haven’t already. Bing can “outperform” on certain metrics – the quality of the traffic, pages per visit, bounce rate is very high in comparision to Google.

Bing Traffic - Engagement Metrics

Screenshot: Bounce rate, Time on site and Pages per visit metrics from Bing traffic (Photo: Fabio)

Similarities between the engines

Both search engines struggle with JavaScript dependent objects such as flash
XML sitemaps work for both engines, but Bing currently does not accept video or news sitemaps

Geolocation results

Bing “does a very good job” of serving personalised results based on IP location. The example search result “sex and the city 2” will show local cinemas close to your location. Both engines do a good job with Weather based results too.


In Google you can ask to have a sitelink removed, but there’s no way to do this with Bing.

Link building / Value

Bing has a webmaster centre, the first example being the “backlinks” area, There’s also an outbound links – actually that’s quite an awesome tool! For every link your website has, Bing assigns a “page score” to help indicate the value of those links.


How do you get into Bing News? Submit the and create an rss feed of your content – apparently this submission process is slow and you have to keep pinging Bing until they come back to you.

Shopping area

With Google base, submission is free. Bing shopping is paid submission only and Bing are removing the cashback feature ;-(

Social sharing

Bing are helping users share content via image search (example above) although to allow Bing to share via your Facebook, you do have to grant access via Facebook connect. Janet also demonstrated a search result for “swagger wagon” where Bing will “document preview” videos in the search result pages. The preview (video) is Youtube only – but very interesting functionality nonetheless. This is a great piece of functionality for sites with large amounts of video based content.

To control document preview (the “More on this page” section), Bing takes information from your page in this order:

– H1 if it does not match the title tag
– First paragraphs of information
– To add contact information, add your address, phone and email to the page

To disable document preview, use the following meta tag in your page header:

<meta name=“msnbot”, content=“nopreview”>

Rand Fishkin – Google vs Bing

Rand is presenting next. His presentation covers data to bring more science to the SEO process and to provide recommendations and open interpretation based on the data. Awesome.

The data is based on 11,00 search results and only the first page. The correlations are all with lower or higher ranking positions where all (or none) of the results matched the metric. I’m going to document each point, but definitely check out Rand’s full post on the subject.

Query matching in the domain name

An exact match domain has the highest (most powerful) correlation to rankings. Google is slightly higher than Bing – but exact match domains are the way to go, hyphenated versions are less powerful but more frequent (powerful) in Bing. Just having keywords in the domain name has substantial positive correlation for both engines.

Exact match domain names by TLD extension (.com, net etc)

Exact match domains using .coms have a more powerful correlation to rankings in Google and Bing. Bing seems not to mind so much with exact match domains that are .net, org etc.

Keywords in sub-domains

Using all the keywords in the subdomain – seems to be some correlation between keyword use in the subdomain and Google rankings, but much less so with Bing. Bing may be rewarding subdomain keywords a lot less than previously, and generally speaking KW’s in subdomains are not nearly as powerful as the main domain

On Page Keyword Usage

H1 tags and Titles (and in Bings case, keywords in the body) all have “some” correlation, but it is weak. Alt tags have “some” correlation – so a good idea is to include the KW in a relevant page to enhance your rankings. Putting KWs in a URL is likely a best practice, but simplistic on page optimisation generally isn’t a huge factor.


The quantity of different root domains (domain diversity) offers a strong correlation to rankings, particularly in Bing. Domain diversity is key in SEO for both search engines, but slightly more so in Bing. SEOmoz thinks that Bing may be slightly more naive in their use of link data over Google. Bing seems to care about “raw” links in their algorithm.

TLD extensions

.Org TLD’s have very strong correlation to rankings, but that’s surprising data, perhaps .orgs have more links in their data set

URL Length

The longer your URL the worse your rankings could be – shorter URLs are probably a good best practice. Long domains are not ideal but aren’t “awful”. Generally, raw content length is pretty marginal.

Website homepages

Bing has substantial correlation with homepage out performing internal pages in the search results. Google has a slight preference as well, but less so than Bing.

Anchor text link matches

The raw quantity of exact match anchor text links correlates hardly at all with rankings. It’s about linking root domains with exact match anchor text links. In fact this is the highest of all correlative metrics for high rankings. Bing seems more “Google like” now than they were around 10 moths ago.

Features with high correlation to rankings

– Exact match .coms domais
– Exact match anchor text
– Linking RDs
– Quantity of links

Link attributes are still extremely powerful, and more important than on page SEO factors. Google and Bing are remarkably similar in SEO, and more so than they were last year. Cool.

Here’s the post on SEOmoz:

Comments / QA

Was this work done before or after May Day? – The link data was updated on June 4th – 5th. Very fresh.

What’s going to happen to Yahoo Site Explorer – no real answer but the user experience (and the SEO) experience at the end of the merge will be “really good”. The algorithm at Yahoo will be the same as Bing, making for identical search results.

Will it make a difference if I start my domain name with a number? – You can brand but it’s harder to brand starting with numbers. Google tries to figure out how to “break” keywords up in a domain. If you can find a nice, brandable domain, that can be a little bit better

Google seems to be able to index faster than bing. What can be done to help Bing index more pages – Submit a sitemap, Bing would review on a case by case basis. Generally, it’s the most relevant pages that Bing want to return. Sitemaps are a “good” signal, but just because a URL is in the sitemap doesn’t mean that they’ll index the page. Matt says that video sitemaps are something that Google are looking at more closely, especially because of Google TV – if you produce videos and you haven’t created a video sitemap, you definitely should be doing that now.

Are you (Bing) going to support the Ajax specification for indexing? – We’ll get back to you on that

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5 thoughts on “SEO For Google Vs. Bing: How Different Are They? [SMX Advanced Seattle Tips]

  1. Alex says:

    Good stuff. Thanks a lot. Still Google brings more visitors.

  2. mOxby Design says:

    I know this is month’s later, but getting clients to rank well on Bing has been hard, even since the Yahoo Merger (we rank MUCH higher on Yahoo than Bing, which seems a bit counter intuitive now) so any help is apprecaited. Thank you.

    @Alex – visitors != conversions.

  3. Krinal says:

    Is there any option to change the content appearing in “More On This Page” box in Bing Results ? I have a website for which Bing only shows “Popular Links” in the instant preview box. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.


  4. joseph says:

    friend, check traffic on google and check on bing,google is much better in the comparision of bing.

  5. It’s high time SEO folks to get your feet under the water for Bing is spreading it wings far and wide and it doesn’t look like they have any other plan till they beat Google.

    Age of domain tends to be a key factor for ranking on bing though. Not much on Google these days. Especially after the Penguins and the Pandas. Have your site been hit ?

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