Google was able to win its recent antitrust victory behind the argument that its search competition was “always a click away”. The decision affirms what the majority of search users have already decided—Google offers reliable search results. By choosing to drop its case against Google, the FTC accepts Google’s claim that its competition, Bing, Blekko, Ask, and an array of additional less-used search engines, is just a click away, the FTC also votes in favor of the results offered by the 30% of the search market. Bing and the rest of the search market may not consider this to be a particularly shiny silver lining, but, just like websites striving for a better position in on a results page, they must now consider their position in the search market alongside the fact that the FTC considers their offerings to be on par with Google and continue to try to chip at Google’s massive market share by offering their search users the most relevant results that they can provide.
As “the field” retools for the next round in its efforts to win users away for the 70%-market-share-holding goliath, it is time to take a look another look at what we can do to optimize for these sites and how it compares to optimizing to be found on Google. Once again, we need to remember the mantra “content is king,” and that search engines succeed by offering useful information to their users. Relevant information means that when a search user uses a search engine to find something, they can find a result that answers their question. So by publishing useful information, a site will be helping the search engine achieve its goal of providing its users with a quality answer. The search engine will recognize this and move the site up in its rankings.
Publishing useful content will help a site improve its rankings across all search engines, so what can be done to optimize for search engines besides Google? One important optimization strategy when dealing with Bing is to make sure you have an .xml sitemap submitted to Bing webmasters tools, just as you should be doing with Google. By submitting a .xml sitemap to Bing with Bing Webmaster Tools, you can be sure that the second largest search engine has a clear path to follow when indexing your site. This will help Bing find all of that great content that you are publishing, and it will ensure that you are not leaving anything behind as you fight for positions on all search results pages. It is important to remember that when you optimize for Bing, you are working to improve your site’s ranking on the Yahoo results page as well. Only time will tell how Bing responds to Google’s recent victory, but the search engine is not going to be disappearing anytime soon and it will almost certainly continue to make aggressive moves to win users from Google. Optimizing for Bing is an essential part of an SEO plan; and you can be sure that Microsoft is not going to let anyone forget that a new search experience is only a click away.
By Andrew Wise