Google’s ubiquity in search is such that many clients feel that a website that is optimized for Google is good to go. Today’s announcement of a search deal between Yahoo and Microsoft ought to put a decisive fork in that thinking. Consider this – the combined share of the market that Microsoft’s Bing search engine will have is nearly 30%. Assuming this holds, businesses simply can’t afford not to optimize towards Bing’s algorithm when it will be powering results for both Bing and Yahoo.
So how different is Bing from Google when it comes to SEO?
The biggest difference is the weight given to what goes on offsite in the forms of links, something of a Google specialty that Bing gives much less weight to. On the other hand Bing does give much more weight to the domain name within a site’s URL to determine search rankings. There are a host of other differences that can add up to noticeable disparities in how a site is organically ranked on Google and Bing search results.
What will be interesting to see is how much of Bing’s most innovative aspect – how results are displayed and organized – comes to Yahoo. Right now, the layout and organization of results pages in Bing can give clues to what content needs to be created or altered on unoptimized websites. As an example, the related categories tool can give businesses the opportunity to optimize for several placements on the same results page.
Bing also pulls additional content into the preview pane on its organic search results, which means proper optimization should take into account the increased scope of information pulled from site and page description data to determine the best placement of key terms.
Yahoo would be foolish not to incorporate these features into results, but will they also incorporate Bing’s unique Travel and Shopping results, presumably as an enhancement or replacement for their own Travel and Shopping channels? The answer is still unclear but travel sites and retailers should be taking a close look at Bing and optimizing for it now so that when the Microsoft/Yahoo deal kicks in next year, they have a head start on ranking for the 30% chunk of the market the combined duo is likely to represent.