Getting Your Bing On: How Bing Ranks Content (and Why You Should Care)
When was the last time you heard someone say, "I want to be number one on Bing"?
While Bing is almost never the focus of a search engine optimization campaign, it isn't something to be wholly ignored either. In fact, every good SEO strategy includes taking the proper steps to ensure quality rankings on the second-largest search network in the U.S.
Bing is now more important than ever. No, the search engine isn't going to displace Google in 2015 (or even come close). However, the recent announcement of Yahoo as the default search engine for Mozilla Firefox does change the game a bit. For the time being, more searches are being conducted on Yahoo. Since Yahoo is powered by Bing, it's important for every website to be optimized for the Microsoft search network. This includes the basic steps like verifying your site in Bing Webmaster Tools and submitting your sitemaps. But it also means you need to be sure your content is set up to rank well on Bing.
Bing's Pillars of Content Quality
So how exactly does Bing rank content? Well, as you can expect, it's not a drastic departure from what Google or any other search engine looks at when ranking content. That doesn't mean you're going to see the same search results in Google and Bing. The search engines process queries differently, and they use different ranking algorithms. While search results will rarely be the same, there will be some overlap. If you are ranking at the top on Google, you should at least be near the top on Bing. If you aren't, then you are probably doing something wrong.
When ranking content, Bing looks at three things:
Bing refers to these components of a website as the "three pillars of Content Quality." Here's a brief overview of what each one means:
Is the content/website/author trustworthy? Bing looks at several factors to determine the authority of a page. These measurements of authority include social signals, citations, and the identity of the author.
It's important to note that authority is not treated equally across all disciplines. For medical/health content, Bing prefers content created by medical/health professionals and posted by well-known sources. In other words, Joe Blow's health blog isn't going to outrank WebMD or the Mayo Clinic. For other topics, authority may depend more on how many social shares a piece of content receives.
Is the content useful? Does it adequately address the topic at hand with sufficient supporting information in a way that is appropriate for the intended audience? A big factor in usefulness is the inclusion of multimedia, including videos, images, and graphs.
In terms of utility, Bing also stresses the uniqueness of the content. A site needs to provide unique value in order for it to rank well. That doesn't mean a listing or syndicate site can't perform well in search, but it needs to provide something that can't be found elsewhere.
Is the content easy to read and accessible? Every piece of content should be designed with the user in mind. A user shouldn't have to battle through a website in order to find the relevant and meaningful material. The design of the page should make the content as easy to digest as possible.
Bing also addresses on-page ads within the context of presentation. The search engine says it will support any websites that show relevant ads, provided those ads do not interfere with the general user experience. If the ads detract from the content on the page, or if it's difficult to distinguish between ads and main content, then Bing will not rank the page highly.
Content Is Still King…On All Search Engines
Although Bing uses its own terminology, these Content Quality factors don't appear much different from what Google looks for in a website. Ultimately, if you are providing useful and relevant content in a well-written and well-presented fashion, then you have a pretty good chance of ranking well in the search results.
For more information regarding how Bing treats Content Quality as a primary ranking factor, visit the Bing blog.