The launch of Microsoft’s ChatGPT, and the subsequent response by Google with it’s Bard has certainly got the digital world talking … but what’s the subtext that business owners need to be aware of when considering their search engine optimisation?
A (very) brief history of Google and Bing
The internet has been adopted by home users since the early ‘90s, and usage has grown year on year ever since. With around 2 billion websites in the world, navigating the internet has been the conundrum taxing some of the cleverest people, and a marketing challenge for any business wanting to be found online.
The first search engine was structured like a database, but Google shifted the dial when it developed a searchable index technique using algorithms to determine which sites to reveal in response to a search. The original algorithm was backlink based, and whilst there are now over 200 elements to it’s algorithm, backlinks remain an important component.
Recent developments in Artificial Intelligence technology has raised the bar again.
What percentage of searches are made on Google vs Bing?
Whilst Google still dwarfs Bing (it still represents 84% of the market), recent reports demonstrate that Bing is getting bigger , rising from 5% of the mix in 2019, to 9% at the end of 2022 :
Microsoft’s marketing tactic of installing Bing as default on their computers is one of the factors driving the growth … however, some of the growth is of course, consumer choice based.
What’s the difference between Google and Bing?
At face value, the ranking factors are pretty similar, however there are some differences, and the weightings applied can result in some very different search results.
Impression have summarised the key weighting differences from an SEO perspective (To save confusion, X means “low”, not “no” – for example, keywords are an important strategy for Google, but their AI means they are cleverer at understanding synonyms):
They also summarise the differences from a customer experience perspective :
The general consensus is that Bing is more visual and that image and video search is better than Google’s. Bing also incorporates Social Signals more strongly in it’s algorithm, so your Social Media marketing activity has more impact on that platform.
By contrast, Google uses previous search activity and location when generating results, so if you are looking for something specific or local, chances are you’ll get a better result on Google. This does mean that Bing is less intrusive in the way it uses data collected from you.
Voice search on Alexa and Cortana is provided by Microsoft, so it’s no surprise that their default search engine is Bing.
3 steps to optimise for Bing
1. Claim your Bing Places for Business profile (the Bing version of Google my Business)
2. Optimise your website for Bing as well as for Google.
- Bing still loves keywords, so place them naturally throughout your copy (without keyword stuffing). Use target keywords in your metadata and the relevant URL. Google’s natural language advancements means that it is currently better at understanding synonyms
- Like Google, quality and trustworthiness are critical components in search results, so re-enforce your unique selling points in your copy and take opportunities to demonstrate that you are a genuine business who can be trusted.
- Pay particular attention to optimising your images and videos for Bing
- Make sure you are set up and optimised for voice search
3. When it comes to off-site, Bing uses different criteria for backlinks
- Where you have won backlinks, politely ask if the anchor text can reflect your keyword
- Bing prioritises older well maintained sites such as .gov, .edu and .org domains, so seek out backlinks from these kinds of websites
- Bing also considers links from social platforms in its algorithm, so relevant social activity to your business will work harder for you on Bing than on Google.
As Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella said at a recent launch event “The race starts today”. Microsoft have invested $10 billion in the new Open AI technology driving ChatGPT, and clearly have winning market share from Google firmly in their sights.
Of course, you should continue to optimise for Google first. However, don’t miss opportunities to rank more highly on Bing to take advantage of the growth of the Bing user base.
If this article has piqued your interest and you’d like a chat about any of the topics raised, just drop us a note here.