REAL Internet Marketing Advice from REAL People


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Free Internet Marketing Tip 124

The More Things Change...

Google is traditionally the main area of focus when it comes to search engine optimization. With the search engine giant so far ahead of the game in terms of search market share, it's not hard to understand why.

Search is changing though, and there are always new elements coming into play. Since social media has come into its own, more opportunities and questions have come along with it. Now Microsoft is going for Google's throat with a new search engine and an aggressive marketing campaign. What this means for the future of search market share is yet to be determined, but there's no denying Bing is capturing some attention, and that means there are people searching with it. Altered your SEO strategy for Bing? Tell us why.

SEO for Bing

Microsoft's stance on search engine optimization really doesn't appear to be all that different from Google's. You're not going to get the same results on both Google and Bing in many cases, but that is after all why the two can co-exist. The real difference is in how the results are presented, and not as much in how the two determine quality and relevancy.

How To Get More From Your E-Marketing Campaigns

Bing and Google have separate algorithms, but both like quality, relevant links and good content, as opposed to deception and spam. Bing in fact, hasn't really changed much (from Live Search) in terms of crawling.

"There have been no major changes to the MSNBot crawler during the upgrade to Bing," Microsoft says in a Bing white paper for webmasters (pdf). "However, the Bing team is continuously refining and improving our crawling and indexing abilities. Note that the bot name hasn't changed. It will still show up in the web server access logs as MSNBog."

Sidenote: Webmasters will want to acknowledge that Microsoft has increased the size limit of sitemaps from 10,000 URLs to 50,000. Google is also now supporting up to 50,000 "child sitemaps" of sitemaps index files.

Like I was saying, the biggest difference between the two search engines is in the presentation. Bing of course separates (some) results into categories. This has worried some search marketers, but Microsoft says good SEO will work just as well with this set up. Bing also has the explore pane (navigational menu on the left-hand side of search results), which corresponds with the categories in the SERPs. In some ways, this is similar to Google's recent addition of "search options."

Google Search Options

I discussed what Google's search options would mean for SEO here. Basically, I just broke it down section by section, and you could do the same thing with Bing I think. Look at the keyword phrases you want to rank for, and see how Bing breaks it up. Let's say "cell phones" for example. Bing gives you categories like shopping, brands, buying guide, providers, accessories, images, videos, and local.

Cell Phone results on Bing

This tells me that you want to play up the appropriate categories on your site, so that it shows up in the relevant categories on Bing. If you sell accessories, place emphasize that, and you'll probably have a better shot ending up in that category. With Bing, it's not about getting to the top of the SERP. It's about getting to the top of the right part of the SERP. I'll let you in on a little secret. Having quality and relevant (to that part of the SERP) content is the best thing you can do. Incidentally, this will probably help your cause in Google (and other search engines) at the same time.

"Ultimately, SEO is still SEO. Bing doesn't change that. Bing's new user interface design simply adds new opportunities to searchers to find what the information they want more quickly and easily, and that benefits webmasters who have taken the time to work on the quality of their content and website design," says Microsoft.

Curious About What Bing Looks for in Links?

Rick DeJarnette of Bing Webmaster Center recently posted a pair of blog posts looking at what makes some links good and some bad. You may find some of these things familiar:

- "If you don't feel you can endorse the quality of the content at another site, you shouldn't be linking to them."

- Don't seek links from sites whose content isn't worthy of your endorsement.

- Links to and from your site should be relevant to your site (or at least the page you're linking from/to)

- Focus on quality, not quantity. Few highly relevant links are better than a bunch of crap links

- Avoid "bad neighborhoods" like dedicated domains or IP ranges that do nothing but set up meaningless link exchanges.

- Avoid hidden text

What changes have you made to your SEO practices as a result of Bing's release? Twitter? Facebook? Tell us what tweaks you've made.

About the Author:
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003.

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