The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your SEO for Bing

Published Jul 23, 2014 by Mitchell Wright in SEO
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As of April 2014, comScore reports that Bing pulls in a full 18.7 percent of all United States search traffic. That’s 3.5 billion web search queries. How many of those would be relevant to your site? Yes, Google tops that number by billions, but Bing search is on the rise. Sooner or later the Microsoft platform will have enough market share to be a legitimate competitor to Google, and webmasters will have to adapt. Why not learn about Bing SEO now rather than later, while you still have time to experiment largely consequence-free?

The Dominance of Google

A lot of what you read in the SEO industry is geared towards Google ranking, and with good reason. With 9 billion more monthly searches than Bing, it’s clearly the winner. Yet Bing is sizable in its own right, and in a highly competitive niche, appealing to Bing as well as Google may be the difference between success and failure.

Think about SEO advice and how much of it specifically applies to Google. Authorship, for example, is a Google invention. It has no bearing on Bing search results and there’s no Bing equivalent.

Behind the Times

Google is always pushing the envelope with new SEO developments, which is its right as the SEO industry leader. Bing lacks the sheer sophistication and power of the Google algorithm, but it’s trying very hard to compete.

For example, both Google and Bing put a strong emphasis on the quality of the content they serve up. Google is just a little more sophisticated at identifying that content and putting it on top of the rankings. Bing, meanwhile, puts a bit more emphasis on keywords and meta descriptions. In fact, Bing will cheerfully tell you that a page lacking a meta description is a page with an SEO error.

Speaking of errors, Bing has its own SEO analysis tool, which can be found here if you have a unified Microsoft account.

Bing likes quality content, but it identifies the quality of its content with a few less detailed factors than what Google may consider. Bing likes longer content, because length tends to indicate depth. Bing likes content with plenty of images and videos, because images and videos are typically valuable content themselves. Bing also puts emphasis on user interaction. For example, a blog post with a large number of comments will rank higher than one without, all else being equal.

Bing loves social signals and user engagement. Posts that bring in comments and social shares will perform better than posts that don’t. Google decided not to factor in social signals, but Bing has decided to keep them in consideration. However, number isn’t the strongest factor; they also consider the authority of the person sharing the content. Consumer Reports sharing your content is much better than one of your non-influential customers sharing.


TechnicalitiesBing loves it when you use HTML properly. That means an appropriate use of heading tags and paragraph tags, as well as using the appropriate tags for formatting; <strong> instead of <b> for bold, for example.

The biggest difference between Google and Bing is that Bing loves putting emphasis on meta descriptions. Make sure to fill out all meta descriptions with unique content, distinct from your page title and the opening lines of your post.

Meta keywords are another difference between the search engines. As they were easily abused, Google more or less ignores them. Bing still adds some value to a post with appropriate meta keywords, but will penalize you if you go overboard.

Your page title should avoid using bracket-type characters. This includes <>, [], {}, and (). Google has no issue with these characters, but Bing doesn’t like them.


With Google, you have a number of ways to submit your site to the index. You can submit a sitemap to their webmaster tools. You can link to your content from a different indexed page. You can share it on Google+ or in a Feedburner RSS feed. These are all Google properties and methods of discovery, save for the natural link method, so they don’t apply to Bing.

Thankfully, Bing has a few similar tools. In the Bing Webmaster Tools, you can submit a sitemap the same way you can with Google. You can also create a recent posts widget on your site, which Bing will use to keep track of new content when you post it.

Bing doesn’t like to go digging for pages. It will follow links from your homepage, and from the pages it finds, and from the pages it finds from those. Beyond 4-5 jumps, however, it starts to struggle to index those pages. Anything with value you want indexed should be closely linked to your homepage.

Google has been de-emphasizing anchor text in recent years, but Bing still pays attention to them. You don’t want to go all exact-match for Bing – and doing so would penalize you in Google, so it wouldn’t be worth it anyway – but using relevant anchor text for your links is still valuable.

Robots.txt files work the same way with Google and with Bing, though sometimes Bing is a little slow to follow directives Google creates. Anything important, particularly noindex and nofollow, is parsed by the Bingbot perfectly well, however. Canonical has some issues, however, so make sure you go into the webmaster tools to set up the ignore URL parameters dialogue to make sure Bing is properly ignoring your unavoidable duplicate content.

Webmaster Tools


Bing has a few interesting options that Google lacks, and a few features Google has that operate in a different way. One such feature is the ignore URL parameters section, which Bing uses to help you help them ignore your duplicate content.

Bing also has some detailed Bingbot controls, which allow you to set when and how often the Bingbot crawls your page. If you tend to post frequently between the hours of 3pm and 5pm, for example, you can set the Bingbot to crawl frequently during those hours to catch your new posts, and then set it to back off the rest of the day because there won’t be much new to see.

Bing has a disavow links tool to help you recover from a negative SEO attack, the same way Google does. Bing’s tool isn’t quite as robust, however, and requires more manual submission for each link you want to disavow. It’s highly recommended that you disavow at the domain level to save yourself a lot of time and energy.

Bing Penalties

While a Bing penalty won’t hurt your traffic nearly as much as a Google penalty, it can still be destructive. You want to avoid a few things with Bing optimization.

• Reciprocal links. Link exchanges don’t work on either search engine and can earn you a penalty.

• Outbound links to spam sites. Google will recognize if you use nofollow on a spam link, that you’re probably including it as illustration and not as a vote of confidence. Bing has no such filter, and will happily penalize you for linking to spam pages.

• Spun, scraped and copied content. All of the same content flags that earn you a slap from Google will earn you the same from Bing.

• Purchased social signals. Google, since they don’t give a lot of relevance to social signals, doesn’t penalize you all that much for buying followers. Bing puts more emphasis on the signals, however, and will penalize you for buying them.

Beyond that, most anything that earns you a penalty in Google will act the same way with Bing. The search engines are really more similar than either company would like to admit.

Written by Mitchell Wright

Mitchell Wright

Mitchell loves all aspects of Internet marketing and have been involved with everything from ORM to SEO to video and affiliate marketing. He currently works with bloggers to increase their ad revenue.

Join the Discussion

  • Thanks Mitchell, Thanks for the information. You made it clear cut.

  • Mastegar

    Is this worth it nowadays, or should I just stick to Google>

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