All posts in Bing

Magnifying Glass

Ah, you have spent hours upon hours trying to appease the Google gods and suddenly… voila… there is another real contender in the search arena.  Did you know that Bing is now offering big time incentive for those willing to make the switch from Google?  Awarding searchers points for their activity on the Bing site, the company is offering up some pretty substantial prizes for those with enough points to purchase entries into drawings.  The impact that this will have on the search industry is not yet clear, but what is apparent is that Bing is in it to win it and not likely to disappear anytime soon, which means that, as a content creator, you want to be sure that you are appealing to their crawlers as well.

If you think that your efforts to appeal to Google are automatically going to make you a shining star on Bing, think again.  There is a website dedicated to showing the drastic difference in search results between the two search giants.  Don’t believe it?  You can check it out right here.

Back Links Lose Their Influence One of the biggest reasons that there is this discrepancy in results is because Bing doesn’t put so much weight on the back links on other websites.  It doesn’t mean that you should stop your efforts to obtain these links, but simply that, when trying to build you Bing standings, you will need to put more effort elsewhere.  There is some good news about this Bing trend – it prevents the boost in standings for those using immoral link buying practices.  That is certainly a silver lining for those working hard to build their online presences honestly.

Content is Still King There is some debate on this point, but many have come to agree that Bing weighs On-Page SEO even more highly than Google does.  That means that you need to have excellent content, a wealth of relevant keywords, and clean HTML coding.  The good news here is that, if you are having success on Google, then you have likely already been making these efforts.  Just keep it up!

New Sites Rejoice Page Rank is generally something that takes time to build up.  So, new websites automatically get pushed to the back of the search engine standings lineup.  However, with Bing, there is evidence that Page Rank is of less importance and that might just mean that your new website stands a chance of reaching page one in the near future.

Open SignWhile the internet opens up the world to consumers and those seeking information, it also shrinks it. Searchers, particularly mobile ones, depend on online resources to find restaurants, theatres, sporting events, cultural events, services, addresses, and much more in their own backyards or locales they are visiting. Localising your SEO efforts is essential so your target audience can find you easily.

A few tips for local SEO success:

Start with the basics. NAP. Name, address, phone. Include this information on every page within your site, not just the home and contact pages. Secure a URL that includes your business name, and if possible, your location: for example, cafebluemanchester.com

Keyword-optimised descriptions. In your title tag, include your targeted keywords and location in 70 characters or less. Your meta description allows you to show searchers a snippet of your website content in the SERPs. While Google can choose the snippet it wants, it can also use your suggestion. In 165 characters, craft a description that includes your keywords, phone number, and locations served.

Develop a page for each location. If you have multiple locations, you don’t need to go to the expense of creating websites for each. You could, but you might find it easier to create a page for each location within one main website. This way, searchers are directed to the correct page for their needs, and they can always navigate the rest of the site’s relevant information via your internal links. The longer you can keep someone engaged in your site, the better.

Claim your business on Google Places. This is your chance to give Google and potential customers the information they need. All that is required is a Google account (which you should have anyway because it gives you access to a host of helpful tools and features), and you can choose from Free and Premium options. Take the opportunity to add up to 10 photos of your business (no stock photos!) and link to up to five YouTube videos.

Don’t forget Bing and Yahoo Local and Yelp. Sign up with these sites too. All three have free basic services to help you appear more prominently in front of your audience.

Embed a map. Local searchers are often interested in researching a business’s products or services and then visiting the physical location. Be sure to make it easy for them by embedding a map. Go to Google Maps and enter your address. Google will generate an HTML code that you can embed on your website.

These local SEO steps will help you get started. Next time, we’ll talk about local SEO and your social media presence.

 

Old KeysWith the move towards contextual search, SEOs and businesses have to be much more concerned with the intent behind the query. When someone enters “Italian food,” for instance, do they want restaurants? Recipes? Diets? Targeting the intent with long-tail keywords can help websites improve their SEO strategies, increase relevancy, and pull in visitors.

Long-tail keywords are usually 3-4 words in length, as opposed to “head” keywords. In our example, “Italian food” is a head keyword, and completion is fierce. How can you ensure visitors find you because your site is relevant to their needs? By:

  • Using very specific search terms. Italian food restaurants in London, Italian recipes for family dinners, Italian and Mediterranean diets. Someone searching for a good eatery will find you using these targeted terms. Hit Google AdWords Keyword Planner to determine which terms your audience is searching for and plan a strategy.
  • Using keyword search tools, such as Ubersuggest and Google (just enter in your keyword and see what it suggests). Ditto that for Bing. Also try Bing’s Suggester.
  • Using Google to search potential keyword phrases. Ideally, you’ll see that there’s not a lot of competition and that the phrase appears in niche sites, Q&As, and forums. Don’t get too granular, though. You don’t want to narrow down so much that you rank first for your keyword – but no one is searching for it! Think like a searcher.
  • Including the keyword into your title tag. Make sure it is compelling and encourages readers to click through.
  • Using 3-4 long-tail keywords for each new post – and make sure posts are fresh. Publish content regularly. Google likes it; so do searchers. Remember, as with any keyword, never stuff. Place them organically into your content.
  • Optimising existing content with the targeted keywords. Again, natural is the key to keywords.

Search queries are increasingly specific, many times even in full question form. Capitalise on what people are actually searching for by including long-tail keywords. You’ll be able to show searchers that you’re relevant and can answer their questions.

Blue Website Buttons 3

In 2011, Google, Yahoo, Bing, and, later, Yandex (the largest search engine in Russia) teamed up to create Schema.org, a common vocabulary that webmasters and SEOs can use to markup their data. Structured data is becoming much more important as we move further into the “entity search” world. Using the schemas, users can essentially describe their content in a way that makes it more visible and relevant to search engines. Following are a few helpful tips for working with Schema.org.

Get some help. You do not necessarily need to know how to code to use Schema, but it helps. While it would take years to learn coding, you can get a crash course and at least learn the common terms and constructions to make marking up your text easier. CodeAcademy is one free, interactive resource that you can check out.

Know your <div> from your <span>. These are two very common elements that you’ll need. <div> can group sections of code and format them with CSS. <span>s are used to group inline elements.  Here is an example of each:

 

<div id=”content” style=”background-color:#0000FFheight:225px;width:450px;float:right;”>
Content goes here</div>

<span itemprop=”author”>Jack Smith</span>

Get familiar with Schema.org. Look at the types, properties, and hierarchies. Let’s say you have a men’s clothing shop. Your hierarchy looks like this:

Thing>Organization>LocalBusiness>FoodEstablishment>Bakery.

You would then open a text editor or HTML editor to markup your pages. Here’s how we would tell the search engines our business type and pertinent information:

<div itemscope itemtype=“http://schema.org/Bakery”>
<h1> Bakery </h1>
<p>Intro Text</p>
<p>Address: <span itemprop=”address”>555 Bakery Avenue, London, UK  E4454</span></p>
<p>Phone: <span itemprop=”telephone”> 444-555-3333</span></p>
</div>

Use the schemas to markup other areas of content. If you have a recipe on your bakery website, for instance,

<div itemscope itemtype=”http://www.xys.uk/Recipe”><h1 itemprop=”name”>zucchini bread</h1>

By <span itemprop=”author”<Bill Smith</span>

Published: <time itemprop=”published” datetime=”2013-09-25”>September 25, 2013</time>

<span itemprop=”summary”>A wonderful, moist zucchini bread recipe, perfect for cold fall days.</span>

<span itempropr=”rating”>4.8</span> stars based on

<span itemprop=”count”>210</span> reviews

Marking up your text ensures that search engines have detailed information about your website. It takes some time to complete, but once you have the basics, the rest is easy!

Bing and Suri: What About SEO?

Ipad And Iphone

The general public was introduced to iOS 7 recently, to much anticipation and a touch of nausea. It seems there are a few bugs to work out yet, including that one that makes you feel as though you have a bug, an unpleasant stomach one. This probably wasn’t the reaction Bing was hoping for when they partnered with Apple! Nausea and only very occasional vomiting aside, Apple, in an effort to keep a step ahead of Google, has joined with Bing. When you use Siri, you will likely be using Bing. What does this mean for users, and for SEOs?

Apple is leveraging Bing’s search capabilities. When you query Siri, your results will appear within that screen without the need to navigate to an external browser. Bing, of course, will be the default search engine. Users will be able to:

  • See 7 trending searches.
  • View maps of local businesses near your location.
  • Get current weather conditions in your area.
  • Take advantage of streamlined sharing for social media.
  • Use Bing Desktop app to synch bookmarks from your PC to your iPad and Android devices.
  • Use Page Zero. It combines autosuggest, Snapshot information (the quick question-answering results on the right side of Bing’s results), and action buttons.

This last feature, Page Zero, is of interest to webmasters and SEOs. Instead of vying to top page one, you want to be on Page Zero. In other words, you want to appear before the search engine results are even generated. With autosuggestion, Bing returns suggestions in milliseconds. But doesn’t Google do this too, with its autosuggestions?

Yes. But, say fans of Bing’s search technology Satori, Bing does it better.  It can make an educated guess and show rich snippets in the suggest box. In the time it takes you to blink, you could have the answer to whatever question you are asking.

Unfortunately, UK users will have to wait a while for this technology, but it’s worth it. If we search for Big Ben, for instance, a small arrow appears before we’re done typing (or talking). Hovering over, we can see a thumbnail of Big Ben, a rich snippet, and quick links for images, videos, maps, and news.  How do you rank well on Page Zero? A Microsoft spokesperson says, “Bing selects content which consumers have proved to find trusted and engaging, and the best way for brands to be found by Bing and connect with consumers is to provide good, relevant content.”

Bing is expanding not only its capabilities and features but its reach. Apple’s iOS 7 is one step  more they have taken. Now might be a great time to consider optimising for Bing.