5 Reasons Why Bing Still Matters
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by Brett Snyder
June 01, 2012
Brett Snyder is a Senior SEO Specialist at Nebo Agency
A lover of all things digital, his passion has always been to drive increased revenue to clients from organic channels and harness the true interconnected power of the web. When he's not behind his laptop he can be found wrestling with his dog (and losing) or tossing a Frisbee around with friends.
| Brett Snyder
has written 3 articles for PromotionWorld.
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Within the digital arena, the word “Google” has become practically synonymous with “search engine,” often used interchangeably in both casual and professional conversations. Digital marketers structure their campaign strategies around Google and evaluate the success or failure of these strategies by the same comparison.
Admittedly, Google is the Goliath of search. But this isn’t to say that we as digital marketers can afford to disregard other search engines as part of our holistic approach. Despite early criticisms, Microsoft’s Bing search engine has substantial merit that justifies our attention and consideration when building digital marketing campaigns.
Don’t forget…Bing powers Yahoo!
In July 2009, Microsoft and Yahoo! announced that Bing would power the search results on Yahoo!’s platform, essentially combining their efforts in their losing battle against Google. Now almost three years since their merger, Bing and Yahoo!’s combined organic market share has grown to over 30% in the United States, while Google has slipped to just under 65% of all U.S. searches.
To put it simply, for every two searches in the U.S. that are conducted on Google there is 1 search conducted on a Bing-powered search engine. Bing’s reach in the organic marketplace has quietly become a force to be reckoned with and we as digital marketers have a responsibility to our clients to capitalize on this growth opportunity.
Know your audience
Demographic research has always been a foundational element of any successful marketing campaign even before we all flocked to the Web. Furthermore, despite what Ray Kinsella may have led you to believe, just because you “build it” doesn’t mean “they will come.” Marketers must identify their audience, go where the users are, and engage with them on their terms and their turf.
Bing’s user demographics differ from Google’s and understanding these differences helps prioritize marketing efforts. We know from evaluating Alexa data that Bing users tend to be older, particularly the 55-64 age bracket, and are more likely to have children. This stands to reason knowing that Bing is the default search engine on the popular Internet Explorer browser which also caters to this particular demographic.
Bing becomes especially relevant if your product or service appeals to this particular demographic. Additionally, if your website receives a significant number of visits from Internet Explorer you definitely want to evaluate whether or not you are maximizing your visibility in Bing to capitalize on these users. Lastly, even if your product or service isn’t exclusive to this demographic, user behavior such as search query selection may differ from that of Google users. A qualitative analysis of how different users seek out your business online may show increased opportunity in Bing.
Keyword selection is king
The balance of content and Link Building resources is one that is essential to any search marketing campaign. However, the truly crucial step to an effective campaign is the research and appropriate selection of keyword phrases in which to structure these strategies.
Bing offers a robust set of filters and other tools to expand your keyword focus and identify opportunities for increased traffic and conversions. For example, Bing shopping results can be used to find new keyword ideas for a business in the luggage space:
Take advantage of related searches on Bing, which are often much more helpful than the corresponding related searches on Google:
Even Bing’s video search can provide a greater opportunity for discovering new keyword phrases compared to its ultra-popular competitor:
Don’t limit your keyword research by concentrating only on those search phrases highlighted by the Google AdWords tool or other popular Google products. Take advantage of the tools and filters provided by Bing to identify new keyword phrases to drive traffic and ultimately conversions.
Social search is the future
I recently debated with Nebo’s President Adam Harrell over the future of Google+, and despite our differing opinions on the social media platform, we both agreed that harnessing social is the future of organic search success. While Google is pushing its own platform as a means to drive personalization and social engagement, Bing has been able to secure agreements with some of the largest social networks and has developed a vastly improved “Social Pane” to aggregate social data from these outlets.
By pulling in data from Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, Bing is able to provide more personalized and social results while still maintaining the diversity and variability that users look for in a search engine. Bing’s social results transform the search engine into more of a “search dashboard,” providing social results that set it apart from its competitors. While I firmly believe social media is still very much in the early stages of its evolution, especially in regards to how it influences organic search, expect Bing to leverage its sizeable advantage here in the coming years.
The value of an untapped resource
With all the attention on Google (not altogether undeserved, mind you), Bing remains a relatively untapped resource for organic optimization. To clarify, I’m not suggesting you abandon your efforts to improve visibility on Google or even compromise those efforts in favor of Bing. However, while your competitors have Google tunnel vision, it means there is far less competition to rank in Bing results and therefore an increased opportunity to capture that traffic.
Use what you know about your business, such as the implications of social media on your buying cycle or the tendencies of your demographics, to evaluate how much to invest in Bing optimization. Recognize that you need to balance your organic marketing across the various search engine platforms according to market share and the expected return, just like any other marketing initiative. Take advantage of the variety of keyword research tools to develop a comprehensive list that will ultimately help you focus your on- and off-page strategies. And most importantly, never lose sight of the overall goals of search engine (not just Google!) optimization and the value of improving your digital visibility across the board.