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Optimizing for Bing in 2010 - Part II: Content Optimization
Sunday, September 19, 2010
On August 24, 2010, it was announced that Bing search results would now be fully powering Yahoo search results in the US and Canada.  If we combine the search engine market share of this transaction Bing now has just over 28% market share in the US.  That is just under half of what Google`s market domination currently is.  That is somewhat significant and the need to optimize for Bing has become more important.  Having said that, it does not mean that drastic changes are required.  As we pointed out in part one of Optimizing for Bing in 2010, typically what works for Google should work in Bing.

Optimizing efforts for Bing should mean that you are applying SEO best practices that start with:

Site Architecture
Link Authority

If you do not believe me take the word from the folks at Bing when they suggest:
The most basic advice we can give for achieving optimum rank for your site in Bing is to do the following:
  • Develop great, original content (including well-implemented keywords) directed toward your intended audience
  • Use well-architected code in your webpages (including images and Sitemaps) so that users’ web browsers and search engine crawlers can read the content you want indexed)
  • Earn several, high-quality, authoritative inbound links
For part two of our Optimizing for Bing in 2010, the focus is on the first piece of the equation; content and on-page optimization.

Optimizing for Bing:  Content & On-Page Optimization

The tips that you will see here are, if anything else, great reminders about how well written content proper on-page optimization can assist you with being found in the Bing search results.
  1. Title Tags are Important - not unlike other search engines, the ability to provide data about data through meta data can help instruct msnbot as to what your web page is about.  In fact, via Bing`s Webmaster community they have come out and stated that Webmasters can easily do this by adding unique titles and meta descriptions to each page. If webmasters don’t provide search engines with good, keyword-oriented, well-written caption source data, the resulting captions created by algorithm, no matter how hard we try, won’t represent your website as well as those websites whose webmasters did provide this unique and important data.

    The title tag also known as your page title is a critical element for helping the search engines identify the contents of your page.  Placing relevant keywords (without spamming) near the beginning of your titles can help instruct Bing as to what your page is actually about.  They won`t place you in their search results for "Red Widgets" if your page does not make mention of "red widgets".  Specific tips from Bing with regards to the title tag include:

    • The closer the word is to the start, the more heavily weighted it is as a keyword. This is true for the bot as well as the reader.
    • Keep the title text between 5 and 65 characters in length
    • For greatest efficiency and consistency, write titles using this syntax: keyword phrase, category, website title (or brand)
    • Make the title text unique on every page
    • Don’t use any of the following special characters in title text: '"<>{}[]()

  2. Meta Descriptions - while search engines reserve the right to use a variety of inputs for filling out site description snippets in their SERPs, webmasters who provide unique, concise, compelling, and keyword-laden descriptions in their tag’s description attribute help guide what will be seen with their websites’ result within the Bing results.  Specific tips from Bing with regards to the meta description tag include:

    • Create unique descriptions for each page, using keywords specific to that page
    • Keep the description text between 25 and 150 characters in length
    • Do not copy title tag text content as a description; this is a wasted opportunity to develop more keywords and adds no value
    • Make the description text unique on every page
    • Don’t use any of the following special characters in description text: '"< >{}[]()
    • Additional details can be found here.

  3. Keyword Placement is Important - without overdoing it, where you place the keywords within your content can have an impact on your SEO efforts.  This should be nothing new to you, but according to the Bing Webmaster team, keywords should be used in the following areas of your pages:
    • Page title (inside the title tags)
    • Body text headers (as used within tags such as <h1> </h1>, <h2> </h2>, and so on).  According to the Bing team: Lastly, don’t mistakenly think using keywords in body text is a waste of time. Your body text content is indexed just like everything else, and in the effort to determine the site’s theme and the relevance of your content to keywords, your body text is definitely considered within that process. Including your keywords and key phrases in your body text simply reinforces your use of those terms used in the higher priority parts of the page. But without their use in those aforementioned areas, they won’t stand out as easily as definitive keywords for your site’s pages.
    • Links to other pages (the link text between the <a> </a> tags)
    • Meta tags (specifically when used with the name="description".  It is still a best practice to include your main key phrase in the name="keyword" tag as well)

  4. Content should be unique and speak to the needs of your audience - from what we can tell, Bing`s algorithm does not decipher duplicate content as well as say Google.  Therefore in order to gain visibility within Bing, try to ensure that your content is not written for the search engines but written for your audience.  Avoid using industry jargon, and present content that your visitors will find useful.  If that means including testimonials, well include testimonials.  If that means have pricing on your site, well that might be a good idea as well.  Frankly writing unique, informative content can also act as linkbait and help you generate links and build link authority to your site.

  5. Bing likes content that has been around - it appears that the Bing search algorithm places more value on domain age, so you might want to think twice before you get rid of some of that older content on your site.  You just might be performing well in the decision engine of Bing.
In order to optimize for Bing, your initial focus should be around your content and while this type of optimization is not specific to Bing, there are areas that are more or less important to Bing than to say Google.  Regardless publishing fresh and informative content can help you improve your presence in Bing.

In Optimizing for Bing in 2010 Part III, we will focus on the site architecture aspect.

Optimizing for Bing in 2010 - Part I

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