How much effort should I spend optimizing for Bing?

The online search arena has been dominated by Google for a long time now. If you’ve got a limited amount of time to spend on your SEO efforts, you may fall back into focusing solely on tailoring for Google’s algorithms.

The prudence of doing this may be shifting, courtesy of Bing. Google’s not going to be taken down overnight, even by a software juggernaut like Microsoft. But over the past year, Bing’s share of online search has steadily increased. Even while Yahoo!’s share of search declined (Bing powers Yahoo! search), Bing’s standalone metrics rose over the year.

And this will likely continue, owing in no small part to the recently released Windows 10 operating system. Windows 10 includes both the classic Internet Explorer web browser, and the new lightweight Edge browser. Both use Bing as the default search engine, and Windows 10 is a free upgrade for most Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users.

Another contributing factor is Bing’s recent partnership with AOL, adding another percent of web share to the Bing pile.

Bing’s share of search crested the 20% mark in April 2015 (hitting 20.1%). Bing-powered Yahoo! had around 12.7% at that time, and AOL around 1.1%. If these numbers were in place today, Bing-powered SERPs are being viewed for just over a third of all web searches.

This leaves two-thirds of the pie for Google, but we can take away a couple of things from Bing’s recent successes:

  • Bing’s trajectory is positive, and Google has likely taken notice. This is good news for searchers, as Google will likely look for new ways to improve user experience to preserve or increase their search share.
  • Bing-powered search is around half the share of Google search. Which means that it’s probably useful to consider Bing-specific SEO tactics. The overlap between Google’s and Bing’s metrics for quality will be significant, but any Bing-specific improvements will net you, on average, half the return of a Google-specific improvements.

The return on your Bing efforts will vary between industry, geographical area, and the SEO specialists against whom you’re competing. But on the whole, Bing is looking like more and more a factor for an optimal SEO strategy.

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