It must be 15 degrees below 0 in hell…I’m actually focusing some optimization efforts on a search engine that is NOT Google.
For those of you who don’t know, Yahoo! and Microsoft worked out a deal so that Yahoo!’s organic and paid search engine results will be powered by Microsoft’s search engine, Bing.
The merger will mean that for the first time in many years there is a reason to not focus all of your attention on Google’s algorithm. Now Google will still account for 70% of all searches, but Yahoo/Bing combo will grab 25% of the total market share.
That being said, those numbers, small in percentage, still represent enough users to warrant your attention.
So by the end of October 2010, if you go to Yahoo.com to search for something, you’ll find the same exact thing at Bing.com.
In the end, especially for small businesses, unless the Yahoo-using prospects in your markets are search snobs, they’ll remain loyal to Yahoo. They will keep using their Yahoo! email, fantasy sports leagues (got my draft next Saturday) and Flickr. It’s strange, but it is what it is. As long as the results are giving them what they need, they’ll keep using it.
So…for the first time EVER…you need to think about how Bing ranks websites. Here are some specifics about Bing and how it differs from Google:
- Bing Webmaster Center. Add your site to the Bing index crawler to access data and manage your site at Bing Webmaster Tools. Once submission is completed the Dashboard appears with a top menu bar for analysis of Summary, Profile, Crawl Issues, Backlinks, Outbound Links, Keywords and Site Map. They do not support Chrome so you will need to have Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher or Firefox. Little glitch for Chrome users.
- Bing Local Listing Center. Submit your site to Bing Local Listing Center and wait for a verification letter in the mail as they do not verify via email or telephone. Prolongs the process however this may be the best kept secret for small businesses. The search volume is lower but now with teaming up with Yahoo, there is the chance for small businesses to reach Bing users.
- Domain Age. The age of the domain name is important to Bing. They favor domains that are older. This is not to say that they completely ignore a newer domain name but generally rankings are lower.
- Title Tags. Bing pays close attention to title tags which supports their organization model. Titles with relevant keywords that match the content as is similar with Google.
- Content. Bing likes words. Pages with 300+ words are ranked better. Words that relate to the title and stay on topic without keyword stuffing.
- Flash. Bing is flash friendly and will rank optimized videos with the proper text title tags high. They seem to be much more flash friendly than Google however with more and more videos Google is also ranking them higher.
- Backlinks. It appears that they are not as focused on the quality of the link, but more the anchor text which relates to the content matching. The better your content the more sites that want to link to it and that gives the authority.
Again…this is not a game changer (at least not yet). I personally do not use Bing or the like the way they rank sites…Google is going to be hard to beat in the near future.
But 25% of the market will be using this new Yahoo/Bing combo, so you can’t ignore the facts. At least get set up in Bing Webmaster Central and create your Bing Local Listing.