Difference Between Google’s and Bing’s Algorithm

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What’s the difference between Google and Bing?

Search engines may come in different names, shapes, colors, and algorithms, but I always refer to Google’s search algorithm whenever I provide tips and discussions on how to optimize your website and content for search engines. That’s because Google holds a large chunk – more than 67 percent (as of July 2013) – of the market share. Simply put, most people go to Google whenever they want to look something up on the web. Now accepted as a verb in the dictionary, the ubiquitous phrase Google it! is basically synonymous to search it on the Internet! – But I haven’t heard anyone say Bing it! in all my years of existence.

Search Market Share SEO

Nevertheless, Bing is following closely behind Google with around 18 percent of the market share, which is expected to increase since it forged ties with Yahoo in 2010. The merger between the two is expected to heighten the competition among the search market. That being said, here are some of the basic differences between Bing and Google search algorithms.

Multimedia content is far better with Bing

Google’s search algorithms are very dependent on HTML text when it comes to indexing websites. This means that multimedia content such as pictures, video, audio, Flash, and others are not seen by Google unless they’re accompanied with some text or specific markup characteristics. This puts Flash websites at an unfavorable position because they are virtually invisible from Google’s point of view. On the other hand, Bing welcomes Flash websites and content with open arms. Websites and pages that are developed using Flash seem to rank better on Bing than on Google.

Bing: The older, the better

Bing’s search results seem to return older content. Perhaps this can be attributed to its search algorithms’ speed in indexing content on the web. Some reports claim that it takes around three months for Bing to index fresh content. Nevertheless, old content seems to rank higher on Bing than Google, and this can be attributed to the importance that its algorithms put on the age of the domain. Meanwhile, Google’s Caffeine update, which was released in 2010, opts for fresher content on the Web. The update generated search results containing 50 percent fresher content compared to its old search index. The age of domain doesn’t have any affect on Google’s algorithms, although older websites with rich backlinks, an important Google metric, do have an enhanced chance of ranking higher.

Search optimization tips for Google always include a thing or two about building backlinks – that is, having other websites link back to your own website. Apparently, Google uses backlinks to measure the importance, relevance, and the quality of information presented on a website. If the content has a lot of other websites linking back to it, then this establishes the authority and the credibility of the website, since obviously, people share and link to informative content. On Bing, however, backlinks do not really play a part on the ranking of its search results. Testing of mine has indicated that the first ten search results on Bing contain less backlinks compared to Google’s top ten results.

Bing Results on Forums and Top Level Domains

When it comes to showing the top search results, Bing and Google have varying stands on pulling up websites with relevant information. Google’s algorithm indexes forum websites and online discussions, as long as the forums contain quality information and are free of spam. Search results using Google return a number of forums that contain information relevant to the search query. On the other hand, Bing does not present as many links to forums on its search results, with almost 90 percent of forum results seen at the middle to last pages of the search results list.

Websites that have domain extensions such as .edu, .gov, .mil, and others are given more authority and importance on Bing compared to Google. Top-level domains are given page authority on Bing, while these websites appear on Google’s top search results not because of their domain extensions but because of their PageRank, relevance and quality of the information contained within these websites.

Bing has an eye for inbound anchor texts and strict keywords

For the search marketing industry, one of the easy ways to optimize a website for Bing is to emphasize the importance of inbound anchor texts. Bing considers anchor texts from quality websites as a huge factor in ranking its search results. Anchor text links whose linking phrases are used as the title page have more weight as backlinks on Bing than they do on Google. It was in Google’s Panda update when they started shifting the algorithmic weight they put on backlinks. In fact, Google started penalizing websites with low quality or spammy backlinks from autoblogs or other poor quality websites.

When it comes to using keywords for optimization, Bing’s algorithm favors verbatim or spot-on keywords, while Google‘s updated algorithm, being more advanced, is more capable of understanding the use of keywords within a context.

The search algorithms in Bing and Google may vary in the way they rank pages or index data and return results, but great SEO practices, such as creating quality content and building a good web architecture, still apply when it comes to optimizing your website for search engines. Avoiding content duplication, link buying, link spamming, and other bad optimization practices can help move your website up the search results list, whether people search it from Bing or Google. But with Bing’s new and developing search algorithm, here are some of the best SEO practices that you can implement to optimize your website for Bing.

How to optimize your website for Bing

Important stuff goes to the top

Because Bing’s search algorithm is still green, they only cache a limited amount of data on your web pages. Google’s first search bots were also limited to indexing only the first 100K of data on any given page. When writing content for your website, make sure that all the important stuff – keywords, links, etc. – can be found at the first 100k of your page, or else it won’t be cached on Bing’s search database. This is best practices across all search engines, as Google tends to put more weight on keywords above the fold.

Avoid meta refresh at all costs

Another difference between the Bing and Google search algorithms stem from the way they handle 301 and 302 redirects, including meta refreshes. While Google is flexible with either a 301 or a 302 redirect, Bing openly stated that its algorithm does not index pages that utilize a 302 redirect. That being said, it’s important for websites to specifically use the 301 redirect when being optimized for Bing. Additionally, Bing does not handle a meta refresh in the same way that Google does (by treating it like a 301 redirect, however still not recommended to be used), because Bing’s algorithms would automatically dismiss a crawler from indexing a website that uses a meta refresh as part of its design.

Although Bing does not really put an emphasis on back linking, it focuses on checking out the link authority of webpages on its index. It removes webpages on its index that do not have at least one website that links back to the pages. Bing verified that websites need to establish specific backlinks on their pages before these are indexed by the search engine’s crawlers. Make sure to build back links from quality websites. Additionally, Bing also values outbound links compared to other search engines, so it’s good to link back to quality and relevant websites.

Bing’s search algorithms may still be considered the underdog, yet it’s bound to improve and expand in the future. While Bing’s market share still comes in far behind Google, optimizing your website for this specific demographic can add a boost to your traffic.

Both search engines rely heavily on click-through rates (CTR) and bounce rates as ranking signals now. This is the driving reason behind producing high quality content for your site. Websites should be optimized in such a way that users will be drawn to click your link on the search results page, and these users should stay on your page for a considerable amount of time before going back to the results. Optimizing your website for higher CTRs and lower bounce rate can be achieved by putting up quality, informative, and relevant content that users can make use of, designing a web structure that creates a positive user-experience, and working on SEO techniques such as strategic keyword use.

It seems the focused topic in many SEO forms today is how achieve more backlinks to your site, or finesse page-metrics to favor higher rankings. Well, how about creating quality content with your reader in mind, and actually providing them with something beneficial and useful! Incorporate this into your strategy, and watch your website climb the SERPs by itself.


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About Author

Jourdan Rombough is a SEO Expert specializing in Website Visibility & Internet Strategy. He is an SEO Manager at MERKLE | IMPAQT, assisting Fortune 500 Companies with their visibility strategies. More...

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