There’s no question about who the leader is in the web search space. Google currently wears the crown – and probably always will. Not only is Google’s search engine effective, it’s mature, which means Google has been optimizing the platform for years. With so much focus on Google, however, it’s easy to forget some of the other platforms out there like Bing or Yahoo. Believe it or not, these two companies now hold 25% of the market share in the search landscape, especially since they recently joined forces to share search functions.
That means Bing is now more important than ever. If you haven’t already, you should optimize your website for Bing as well, not just for Google. The best way to begin optimizing a website for multiple search engines is to understand what they look for when ranking a site, and what they penalize. Here are some simple guidelines to help you become more familiar with them.
Bing Caches Less
Like Google did when it was young, Bing only caches the first 100K words or so of each web page. That means you want to keep the most important content within that target area. Otherwise, it won’t be included in the Bing cache – or more importantly, it won’t show up in search results.
Over time, Google matured and no longer caches just the first portion of each page. It’s likely that Bing will eventually advance to that stage, but this is an important strategy to follow in the meantime.
Primary Search Elements
When a search engine crawls through a domain – whether it’s Google, Bing, Yahoo or another –it looks for a very specific set of elements. Of course, search engines look for other things as well, but we’ll get to that later. What you should be absolutely sure to optimize on your site is the following:
- Content: search engines want to deliver engaging and relevant content to the user. They do this by finding keywords in the page text, headers and descriptions. As search engines mature, they find more effective ways to identify relevant content. Your main focus should be delivering the best content to your readers and visitors, instead of just utilizing keywords.
- Performance: how fast your site loads, and whether there are any backend coding issues. If a search engine runs into a problem, it ranks the affected site lower.
- Authority: whether your website links to other high ranked sites, and uses those links as an appropriate resource or citation. It’s worth noting that excessive linking can harm your ranking.
- User Experience: does your website have a high bounce rate? Is the layout good? Is it difficult to navigate your website? All of these things will affect a site’s overall ranking. Crawlers are generally pretty efficient, so it’s not easy to trick them in this regard. If your website is a pain to navigate, you will take a hit.
Negative Search Elements
In addition to the fundamental details mentioned above, there are several elements that will actually harm your ranking:
- Keyword Stuffing: if you saturate your website with keywords and use them too much, you will be penalized. Crawlers are pretty good at spotting dirty tactics.
- Affiliate or purchase links: these have little to no authority when it comes to search ranking. Just be aware that using such links won’t improve your chances.
Don’t Forget Your Metadata
Just because some search engines like Google tend to ignore Meta information, you shouldn’t forget about them. It’s still a good idea to optimize your Metadata, regardless. Here are some tips for doing that:
- Meta Keywords: make sure you only use keywords that pertain to each page individually. Don’t include cross-page keywords, and don’t overuse your keywords.
- Meta Description: don’t use the same generic description across your entire site; write a description for each page.
- Meta Title: ensure your title tags are also unique to each page. These are used to engage potential readers, so be as descriptive as possible with less than ten words!
By considering and employing these tips, you can better optimize your site for our various crucial search engines!