February 22, 2023

Why Bing Should Be Part of Your SEO Strategy

By: Mary Hiers

The main reason you should care about ranking on the Bing search engine as well as Google can be summed up in two words: artificial intelligence. We all know that AI is changing search, but we don’t yet know exactly how.

Both Microsoft and Google plan to roll out AI-powered answers to everyone. In fact, Google’s announcement of Bard, its AI answer machine, came only one day after Microsoft announced the incorporation of its OpenAI chatbot. 

Here are some of the ways Bing differentiates itself from Google and how you can optimize your content for its peculiarities. 

Bing and the Ascent of ChatGPT

Chat interface ChatGPT, which is powered by AI, reached 100 million users only two months after launch. It is the fastest-growing consumer application in history.

What does this have to do with search? Potentially everything. Some people have already started using ChatGPT instead of a search engine. 

People have raised their expectations of search because of AI power. Search engines not only feel pressure to incorporate AI but also to ensure that AI does not compromise accuracy. It’s a tall order.

Why Optimize Content for Bing?

The good news is that optimizing your website for Bing takes nothing away from the effort you put into optimizing for Google. The optimization you do for Bing should not harm your Google ranking. 

Google still has over 80% of the market share in search. In the United States, Bing and Yahoo come in second. Yahoo’s search is powered by Bing, so when you optimize for Bing, you automatically optimize for Yahoo.

The latest big update — the one incorporating AI — happened on January 18. Bing reports that the addition of AI to search caused the largest increase in relevance in 20 years. It would be hard to overstate the importance of relevance in search. 

Three reasons to optimize for Bing include

  • Its use of social media signals as a ranking factor
  • Bing Places (similar to the Google Business Profile) displays small business information more prominently
  • There’s less competition to rank on Bing compared to Google

Social Media Signals and Bing Ranking

Social media signals such as “likes” and “shares” of your social media content are ranking factors in Bing. They can indirectly boost your ranking in Google, but if you have a thriving social media presence, you can use that to boost your presence on Bing’s search results.

Creating social media content with outstanding imagery can help even more. Bing’s image search is more powerful than Google’s. 

Additionally, if you do not have social media sharing buttons on your website, you should add them ASAP. Call your visitors’ attention to these buttons and encourage them to use them. The more social proof your business has via social media and reviews, the better. 

Bing Places for Business

If you have already put effort into your Google Business Profile (and you should), you may groan at the idea of having to create another business profile. But fear not! It doesn’t mean starting from scratch.

Bing Places for Business is free to use if your business is a small-to-medium sized business or a local business with a storefront, a multi-location business, or a service area business. You will receive instant verification if you have verified your GBP. 

You can import the data from your GBP into Bing Places. You simply allow Bing to access and sync the data you have in Google. Begin by typing in your business name, city, and Zip Code. If it finds your business on Bing Maps, you can claim and edit your profile.

Less Competition

Bing is a smaller pond than Google, so you’re already a bigger fish. Another benefit to Bing being smaller than Google is that its ads cost less. You might consider this when reviewing your digital marketing strategy.

If Bing’s use of AI proves to be better than Google’s, it could become more prominent. And if you already have a strong presence there, your presence will only be stronger as long as you keep up your SEO efforts.

How to Optimize Your Content

Keep doing all the things you already do to optimize your content for Google. They won’t hurt your optimization for Bing. In addition, do the following things.

  • List your business on Bing Places if you haven’t already.
  • Upload an XML sitemap using Bing Webmaster Tools
  • Practice good keyword research and usage
  • Try to obtain high-quality backlinks (because they appear to matter more here than with Google). Do not, however, buy backlinks because doing so will eventually backfire.
  • Keep your social media profiles up to date. Choose popular content to put on social media because Bing rewards social media content that gets plenty of likes and shares.
  • Use high-quality images because of Bing’s exceptional image search capabilities.
  • Keep your web content fresh. Bing appears to prioritize content freshness more heavily than Google does. 
  • Ensure the user experience of your website is excellent.

Bing Has Tools to Help

If you use WordPress, install the Bing URL Submission Plugin. URLs submitted this way will be quickly indexed by Bing’s crawlers. Other tools that may help you include

  • Bing Mobile Friendliness Test Tool
  • Bing Site Scan Tool
  • Bing Keyword Research Tool
  • Bing SEO Reports

The effort required to optimize your content for Bing is marginal once you have already optimized it for Google. And none of the steps you take optimizing for Bing will harm your Google SEO efforts. 

Getting AI “Right”

Neither Microsoft’s nor Google’s unveiling of their upcoming AI-enhanced search capabilities was without problems. Both AI engines spat out incorrect answers. 

It is too early to say which search engine will get AI “right.” And we may not even know what “getting AI right” means yet. 

But whichever search engine successfully incorporates AI will be considered a big winner. This will require overcoming issues like attribution of sources and accuracy of answers. They’re important issues.

Many human content creators don’t like the fact that they have spent years “training” AI tools with the content they put in the effort to write. This is especially true if AI search answers don’t reference sources. 

Additionally, potential problems with error propagation will have to be addressed. How are AI answers fact-checked and corrected? The potential spread of misinformation is a real threat. 

Plus, if humans stop creating content and give this task to AI tools, then the “expansion” of artificial intelligence will become recursive and potentially error-ridden. These are all potential complications that AI developers will have to address before we can rely on the answers that AI-powered search engines deliver.

Doing Nothing Isn’t an Option

In the meantime, it’s important that all small to medium-sized businesses create content of the highest quality and optimize it for search. Until now, optimizing for Google has been enough. But will that be the case next year? Nobody knows, so optimizing for Bing as well can be an excellent hedge against potential changes in the search engine landscape.

As Google and Bing both announce the addition of AI to search, it’s unclear who will come out on top in the battle of the search engines. Optimizing for Bing is a smart move to protect against potential uncertainty, and we can help you with that. 

Schedule a call with our team if you need help with content or SEO. We’re here to help you make the most of your business’s online presence, regardless of the direction technology takes.


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