As anyone who watches prime time TV knows by now, Microsoft recently launched a new search engine called Bing. The site is still relatively small, but the official numbers vary. I’ve heard it’s in third place behind Google and Yahoo (according to Microsoft), but I’ve also heard it’s in 17th place according to Pew research.
Regardless, Microsoft is putting serious muscle behind the engine so some clients are asking if it’s worth worrying about SEO for Bing. The answer is “sort of.” After analyzing traffic data for client’s sites and my own, I can tell you that we’re all getting about a 5% referral rate from Bing. Not bad for a startup, but pretty lousy for a major project backed by the biggest company in the world with a $100 million ad campaign.
The reality is for the time being we really don’t have to worry about Bing-specific SEO. Microsoft loves to tout all its new features, and even put up an SEO guide for web developers. You can download it here. But if you’re even remotely prone to falling asleep at the computer, I’d avoid reading past page two. It’s pretty dry. The gist is this: most of Bing is carried over from MSN Search. The main differences are in the way it categorizes results with tabs and the fact that it learns from repeated searches.
The same basic rules that apply to SEO for Google and Yahoo apply here: use page titles and tags to explain the contents of each page, caption and tag photos whenever possible, include as much useful and relevant information in HTML copy as possible, etc. One thing I have heard about Bing is that it tends to favor new and/or freshly updated sites over older static ones, so keep that in mind.
In the meantime, relax and keep pushing forward with a Google-centric SEO campaign, because unless Larry and Sergey make some radical missteps, Google will still be the 900 lb gorilla for many years to come.