Think of SEO and your immediate concern is Google, if you’re like most marketers. It’s a reasonable response, considering that the company is a dominant force in search, internet and communications technology today. But although it’s indisputably enormous, Google isn’t the only player in the SEO world, and it behooves marketers to bear this in mind.
Most of the internet searches that lead web surfers to your law firm will come through Google. That’s a fact, but are you aware that a significant number won’t? That’s right – around a quarter to a third of web searches performed on desktop computers use alternative search engines, which makes it important that you know how to optimize for high page rank on these tools as well. (Note the qualifier: on desktop computers. For phones and other mobile devices Google has virtually no competition, handling about 94% of search traffic.)
Second only to the giant Google, Bing is a highly respected search engine that continues to gain in popularity. A Microsoft product, Bing comes as the default search engine for the Internet Explorer browser and Windows 10 operating system. That probably comes as no surprise, but get this: Firefox and even Siri, the ubiquitous voice assistant installed on Apple products like iPhones, iPads and iMacs, depends on Bing to deliver results for user-requested search information. And since Bing results also drive Yahoo search, knowing how to please Bing’s SEO fairies is a serious matter.
Whether an internet user goes through Google, Yahoo or Bing, the results will be pretty much the same. They won’t be identical, however, and optimizing for the different search tools isn’t exactly the same on all three either, though the biggest difference is between Bing and Google.
Before you panic about having to jump through complicated and mysterious SEO hoops to please yet another set of web crawlers, enjoy this bit of good news: most SEO experts consider satisfying Bing an easier task than ensuring a high rank on Google. Best of all, Bing, unlike Google, sets out clear instructions and tips for maximizing page rank. You can put away the candles and Ouija board – just check Bing’s help & how-to page for all the information you’ll need to make sure your site performs well. Here are a few of the basic SEO tips and webmaster guidelines Bing offers:
- Being indexed is the first step to developing traffic from Bing. The main pathways to being indexed are:
- Links to your content help Bing find it, which can lead us to index your content
- Use of features within Bing Webmaster Tools such as Submit URL and Sitemap Upload are also ways to ensure we are aware of your content
Managing how Bingbot crawls your content can be done using the Crawl Control feature inside Bing Webmaster Tools. This feature allows you to control when, and at what pace, Bingbot crawls your website. Webmasters are encouraged to allow Bingbot to crawl quickly and deeply to ensure we find and index as much content as possible.
- Bing rewards links that have grown organically, that is, that have been added over time by content creators on other trusted, relevant websites made to drive real users from their site to your site.
- Build [content] based on keyword research – shows you what users are actually looking for.
- Social media plays a role in today’s effort to rank well in search results. […] If you are influential socially, this leads to your followers sharing your information widely, which in turn results in Bing seeing these positive signals.
As you’re tweaking, keep in mind that in almost every aspect, optimizing for one search giant’s algorithms will go a long way toward satisfying the others’ as well. To a large degree, good SEO performance in any search engine comes from delivering useful and original content, along with providing a smooth technical interface. Still, knowing the subtle differences in how each one ranks content can help your law firm share your messages with the largest possible audience. That’s a goal worth working for, even if it means a little extra time spent optimizing for Bing.