Bing SEO ranking factors
Bing and its SEO ranking factors are often overlooked by webmasters but shouldn’t be. However recent research shows there’s less of a correlation than you might think between the top results on Bing and Google. If you compare the first page of results you might find only about 35% of domains are the same and the figure lower for individual urls.
Information on the ranking factors for Bing are less well documented but information is available if you care to spend time looking. Searchmetrics reports top brands rank highly on Bing as they do on Google. While this isn’t something Bing itself has said is important, established brands convey trust so it’s not hard to see why this might be the case. And just as for Google it’s important for me to mention this doesn’t mean you must be a big brand to rank.
Searchmetrics say On Page factors are a ‘must have’ for Bing. This certainly seems to be mirrored in a list Bing’s Duane Forrester published. On the list Title Tags, Meta Descriptions and Clean urls are the 3 most important factors for ranking on Bing. My feeling is that these are factors which, if you get wrong, will disqualify you from ranking but they won’t by themselves get you on the first page of Bing. The same is increasingly true of Google. So they are best viewed as a necessary but not sufficient condition for ranking on Bing.
The next part is where it gets more interesting. Searchmetrics found backlinks to be very important for a first page ranking on Bing. This isn’t something Bing itself lists as a possible measure of influence – perhaps for fear of encouraging webmasters to manipulate links. In that regard Bing has learnt from Google’s mistakes.
Searchmetrics also say social signals are important for ranking on the first page of Bing. According to Forrester, Bing looks for social share options on a site but social signals per se don’t appear on the list. On the other hand, images and ALT descriptions, H1 tags and Rel=Canonical, do. Quite far down Forrester’s list come Unique Content and Depth of Content which was also features on Searchmetrics list.
This I think is a significant point of differentiation at the current time. Google if anything is becoming less focused on things that don’t matter to searchers. Rather with the advent of Hummingbird content seems to be the key thing broadly speaking. However, both regard social signals as important. They go hand in hand with great content and likeable branding.
Bing will probably evolve in the same direction as Google, but for now, backlinks, social shares and on page SEO really matter.