Bing: a new search engine gateway to your target audience

Date
6 February 2024

Google is the unequivocal search engine market leader (and probably will be for a while). However, when it comes to search queries, there’s a challenger to that monopoly: Bing by Microsoft. In the last few months, Bing made some significant strides, moving from 1 in 20 search queries to almost 1 in 5. That growing influence and Bing’s market share are some aspects you should leverage in your digital strategies. You can ignore 5% of your potential visitors, but ignoring 18% of the queries that lead to your business would probably have a significant impact on your business – and not in a good way.

Bing header

Where does Bing’s sudden success come from?

It may seem out of the blue that Bing is taking up space in the search engine market. And yet, Microsoft has been bringing the heat to Google’s virtual doorstep for some time now.

Early 2000s, Microsoft attempted to beat Google with products such as MSN Search and Live Search. And failed. In 2008, Microsoft took over the search engine Yahoo to increase its search capabilities. Bing, Microsoft’s own search engine has turned into a stable player in the search engine arena since its launch on 28 May 2009. Thanks to improved search algorithms and integrations with Windows devices, but also strategic partnerships, integration and innovation, the search engine reached a stable (but insignificant) market share.

The AI-first vision of CEO Satya Nadella is mainly responsible for the transformation within Microsoft. With a strong focus on the integration of artificial intelligence in every product and service. Just think of the launch of BingChat, a ChatGPT-like chatbot that handles recent information well and, in that sense, combines the best of Google and ChatGPT. That focus on AI is what turned Bing into a more powerful, personal and integrated search engine. More importantly, the search engine focuses heavily on local relevance and user privacy. Bing’s sudden growth in the Belgian market is therefore not entirely surprising.

StatCounter-search_engine-BE-monthly

Your Bing strategy

Now that Bing can finally compete with Google, you can use it to your advantage (and maybe even to get ahead). While Bing is still largely ignored or even mocked in the SEO world, there are definitely new opportunities to take advantage of on this platform. By integrating Bing into your SEO and advertising strategies, your company can increase its visibility in a search engine that is increasingly at the top of the list for a considerable portion of the internet population.

But isn’t Bing optimisation the same thing as Google optimisation? Doesn’t Bing just want to serve its visitors the best and most relevant information, taking content, technical aspects and authority in mind – just like Google does? There are plenty of ways in which both search engines are different to warrant a change in strategy.

Local SEO

One example is local SEO. By adjusting your strategy with Bing Maps in mind, you can increase your visibility in specific markets. Just like Google, Bing shows you a map when you enter a local search query. But Bing’s company index is more limited than Google’s. More importantly, Bing business profiles often lack essential data, such as opening hours, photos or contact details. A local SEO strategy should, therefore, take Bing Maps results in mind to complement the Google Maps strategy.

Screenshot Bing

A smaller index

Although Bing has indexed a decent number of web pages, the index is smaller than Google’s. GoogleBot is the most active crawler – partially because of Google’s dominant position in the search engine market. The tech giant has invested considerably in developing advanced crawlers that can search the web efficiently and thoroughly. The frequency of GoogleBot’s visits can vary depending on the popularity of the website, content changes, the technical setup of the website and the PageRank.

The BingBot generally works the same way as the GoogleBot but it doesn’t always get the same frequency or coverage. So, don’t assume that Bing has indexed your entire website. Indexation may present a few challenges for Bing. Luckily, Bing Webmaster Center offers the option to send in thousands of URLs for high-priority crawling by the BingBot in bulk.

Additionally, developers can use the “IndexNow”-API to pass on new and updated pages to have them (re-)indexed with high priority. In a perfect scenario, every website would tell Bing when there are new or updated pages available, so the crawler doesn’t waste time randomly crawling numerous web pages.

Keywords and visitors

Keyword positions and traffic can also differ between Google and Bing. Use the Bing Webmaster Center to analyse which keywords push traffic towards your site. These results may differ from your Google Search Console data. Figure out how Bing brings unique traffic to your site. That can indicate less competitive but valuable niches. Or maybe you’ll find keywords that already bring your site traffic through Bing, which you can now use for Google as well.

The visitors are also different, by the way. Bing users are often a touch older than Google users. Many Bing users may use the search engine simply because it comes with their Windows control system.

Advertising strategy

Bing Ads grants you access to a specific demographic segment at (often) lower costs because the competition is less fierce. Bing Advertising and Google Advertising are both powerful online marketing platforms but serve different audiences and offer unique benefits.

Bing is often overlooked, but it offers you cost-efficient access to a new demographic segment that’s characterised by higher incomes and a desktop preference. Google Advertising, on the other hand, offers advanced targeting options and it helps you reach a huge group of users. Advertisers should consider using both platforms for a balanced and extensive digital marketing strategy.

Take advantage of the increase in search traffic on Bing

Search engines evolve constantly, which is why our SEO approach cannot stagnate. Google will undoubtedly remain one of the leaders in search engine marketing, but the rise of Bing does show that deploying our SEO and SEA strategies across different channels is more important than ever. If you take advantage of the unique opportunities Bing offers, you can increase your range and strengthen your brand in a competitive digital landscape.

To summarise: 

  • Optimise your strategy with Bing’s unique ranking factors in mind. Focus on high-quality content, social cues, and local SEO with Bing Places for Business. And use the Bing Webmaster Center to gain insights and optimise your approach. 

  • Find out how many of your pages are available in the Bing index and have your pages added to the Bing Webmaster Center or use the IndexNow API. 

  • Experiment with Bing Ads to address a different audience than the one you reach through Google Ads (often with lower costs per click).

  • Monitor your performance on Bing regularly and adjust your strategies based on what works best.

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