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Don’t forget about Bing and Yahoo with SEO

It seems the majority of articles written about search engine optimization focus on how to set up a strategy around Google’s search algorithm. That’s an extremely wise decision because over two trillion searches were conducted in 2013 on Google, which breaks down to about six billion people searching every day on Google.

But what about the other search engines of the world? With the popularity of Google, many people wonder whether or not they should spend their time optimizing for Bing and Yahoo! as well. Anyone who has optimized their keywords for the Google algorithm knows that it requires them to invest significant time and effort. So should marketers spend the same amount of time and effort optimizing for alternative search engines? In one word, YES!

But why? Google has become synonymous with Internet searches in the same way that Kleenex, Xerox and Rollerblade became the accepted generic term in their markets. How often has someone asked you to Bing or Yahoo! something? It’s never happened to me. Google received 67 percent of the search engine market share in 2013, leaving Yahoo! and Bing with just a little under 29 percent combined. 29 percent of the two trillion done every year may not seem like much when compared to Google, but that’s still a lot of potential traffic.

Optimizing for other Search Engines

Now that you’ve decided to dedicate some of your time to optimize your website and keywords for Yahoo! and Bing, I am going to let you in on a little secret. A few years ago, Yahoo! and Microsoft teamed up to power Yahoo’s search engine with Bing. So by optimizing for Bing, you’re doing the proverbial “killing two birds with one stone,” and simultaneously optimizing for Yahoo! as well.

Furthermore, the algorithms used by Bing and Google are very similar to each other. So all of the effort you put into creating good content with relevant keywords, optimizing URLs and having high-quality backlinks will help improve the rankings on all three of the search engines. Unfortunately, that is where the similarities stop. There are some pretty significant differences between Google and Bing that should be pointed out.

• Bing is much more in tune with social media. It is quick to return search results from your connections on social media sites. Google still lags behind (unless you’re on Google+) in this area.

• Google search is better when it comes to keyword rankings and is much more intuitive about the context of a page; Bing still relies heavily on the keywords, meta tags and title tags of the page.

• With the increased emphasis on local results, Google results tend to be more focused on pages from large enterprises and established companies because it looks for the most credible name – which often includes larger businesses. Bing, however, focuses more on the proximity of your search results to the searcher, which may include small businesses and might not always be the larger chains.

• Bing also likes to favor more official domain named websites like .gov or .edu while Google focuses on newer, commercial or the more popular websites with its results. This is why Google wants websites to carry updated and unique content. Google searches typically come back with more socially relevant sites while Bing sites tend to provide more factual information.

At the end of the day, taking the time to optimize a website for Google should lead to a significant volume of search traffic. And the good news is that most of the efforts you put in for Google optimization should carry over to search engine result pages from Bing and Yahoo!. Therefore, it is especially important to tweak a few pieces of the SEO puzzle, which you may have previously ignored, to help boost traffic from search engines not named Google.

Have you optimized for Bing and Yahoo!? What have your experiences been? Let us know in the comments section below.

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