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What Bing, Twitter, and Facebook Mean for SEO

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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.

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."

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

You can’t stop bad links coming to your site. "We take the approach that bad inbound links won’t adversely affect your site ranking unless most or all of your inbound links are from bad sites," explains DeJarnette.

But in a nutshell, that’s essentially where Microsoft stands on SEO practices, or at least what they are giving to the public.

Rick Dejarnette tweet

Social media Really Is Important to SEO

Social media definitely enters the SEO equation. "Effective social media management can be a tremendous source for generating buzz, those all-important inbound links and just plain direct referral traffic," says Mike McDonald of WebProNews, as he discusses a recent interview he did with SEOmoz CEO Rand Fishkin.

Facebook

Copyblogger has an interesting article about how Facebook is "killing SEO." I think that’s a bit sensationalist, but the points made by author Mike Wasylik are valid, nonetheless.

Michael Wasylik "The rise of Facebook creates a growing segment of the web that’s completely invisible to search engines – most of which, Facebook blocks – and can be seen only by logged-in Facebook users," he says. "So as Facebook becomes ever larger, and keeps more users inside its walled garden, your web site will need to appear in Facebook’s feeds and searches or you will miss out on an important source of web traffic."

"What’s the best way to keep your links in front of Facebook users?" asks Wasylik. "The ever-more-important linkbait strategy."

The term linkbait sometimes carries a negative connotation, but generally, again, it’s just good solid content that people want to link to.

Twitter

Twitter has gone from a confusing (to many) communication tool/social network, to that plus a way to  find information in real time. This means that it is a good idea to tweet regularly. When someone performs a search on Twitter, they are searching right now. The fresher the tweet, the more likely they are to see it.

Mihaela Lica But Twitter’s search implications are not limited to its own search. "Although Twitter is a social media tool meant to create community and relationships, it does have an SEO value," says Mihaela Lica at Sitepoint. "For example, Twitter can affect positively your Alexa rankings by sending visitors to your pages. Usage data is a sign of quality for Google and all the other search engines. If you can make people come to your site via Twitter, then this is an SEO advantage you cannot afford to miss."

With both Twitter and Facebook, good content that you create will be shared. The links within the social networks may not boost your rankings, but they can lead to more links outside of them. Either way, it is added exposure.

Wrapping Up

The roots of search engine optimization really haven’t changed that much. Creating great and fresh content is still your best bet. That’s what people will share, and that’s what will be considered relevant for searches it pertains to. For some great SEO tips and items of note, check out these recent articles:

What’s the Future of Search?

SEO Checklist with Vanessa Fox

SEO Ranking Factors for 2009

Could Comments Hurt Your Search Engine Rankings?

Google Improves Flash Indexing Capabilities

Google Changes to No-Follow on the Horizon?

Are SEOs the "Bad Guys?"

Google vs. Bing – Side by Side

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.

What Bing, Twitter, and Facebook Mean for SEO
Top Rated White Papers and Resources
  • http://www.havocmarketing.com/ Havoc Marketing

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for this great informative post. To be successful online these days you have to be on top of everything – the search engines, social networking sites, SEO, exchange links etc. I learned a lot from your post.

    Thanks again.

    Mani Raj
    Havoc Marketing

  • Laurent

    Hi,

    You comment that

    “Don’t seek links from sites whose content isn’t worthy of your endorsement.”

    However, when you do article marketing, you get links from a bunch of sites that you cannot control if they are worthy of your endorsement and Article marketing is supposed to be very succesful for SEO.

    Are you telling that we should not do article marketing if we want to get Bing top positions? or how can this be solved?

    Regards,

    Laurent

    • Chris Crum

      “Don’t seek links from sites whose content isn’t worthy of your endorsement” is Bing’s stance on the subject (according to DeJarnette, who is quoted in the article. He also says, “We take the approach that bad inbound links won’t adversely affect your site ranking unless most or all of your inbound links are from bad sites,” explains DeJarnette.

      Basically, as long as you have enough good links coming in, the bad ones shouldn’t hurt you. If you have more bad links than good links, you will probably have a problem.

      I am personally not advising against article marketing, but if you create good content, the good sites are more likely to link to you and offset the bad…in theory anyway.

  • http://www.getplaced.us find a job

    I think the 3 mentioned above are important in a sense that they can increase traffic or viewers to your sites much faster and effective.

  • http://www.jolicosolarpower.com Max Cook

    I am frustrated with Bing. I cannot find my sites (2) there, even by keying in the entire website address! I have submitted my sites to their business listing process, but still no results.

    I’m wondering why my sites come up as listed on directory sites, but they don’t come up in a direct search on Bing even when I use the same search terms that bring up my sites on the first page of Google, Yahoo and (formerly) MSN. Is it just going to take more time for the bots to crawl the web……..or what?

    Anybody else experiencing this?

    • manny

      I’m having the same troubles with google, it’s been about a week or two since our website has dropped. fallbrookhillsideinndotcom

      Any ideas on what it could be or what could have happened?

      Anyone?

      Thanks,
      Manny

      • http://www.jolicosolarpower.com Max Cook

        Manny………..Your site comes up #1 and #2 on my Google search. I don’t see a problem with the search but your date/time stamp link is broken. See top of your home page; broken code is showing. Hope this helps…….

  • Guest

    Nope. Bing is over hyped. The results are fair at best. Nice toys, bells, etc., but an overall fair search engine.

  • http://seo.propertyinwisconsin.com McCormick Web Marketing

    Bing is really, at least to me, nothing more than a somewhat smarter MSN search. I mean what can they seriously do to impact google and yahoo at this point? My answer is… Not much. A couple of sites that I manage do quite well and I am not bragging but if your content is good, links are there, and can create a decent amount of BUZZ or DIGG ;), hint… you will have similar results no matter what engine you are targeting. I think that good SEO is what it is and no engines can deny good content.

    Nice post and I am sure glad to be part of the e-mail list!!
    Rudy McCormick – OWNER
    McCormick WEB Marketing

    • http://www.EngineEd.com Engine Ed’s Colorful Train

      I have to agree here. If you keep your content relevant, your site user friendly and your links relevant, you’ll do well on both.

  • http://www.pioutsource.com/ PI Outsource

    Timely, relevant content.

  • http://www.NationalShowTickets.com NationalShowTickets

    I am very fond of Microsoft so I think Bing is going to be a big splash in the search engine field. Google and Yahoo, Bing and Altavista, Youtube and Facebook as well as Twitter will all play a part in getting traffic to our sites.

    Mary

  • http://www.silver-artz.co.uk Lesley

    Speaking as a searcher or user I find Bing a refreshing change.

    I like the style and layout of Bing.
    I like the fact that when I search it appears to bring more relevant pages on what I am looking for.

    I think Google is getting too greedy with Adsense, Adwords etc. All it does is through up results that ultimately make them money and not what the public is looking for!!

    I have never in the past used live search or msn but I shall definitely be using Bing for my future searches. It is time that Google had some healthy competition.

  • http://socialmediaguerilla.com Leonardo Saraceni

    Creating traffic through social media is all about content syndication. Once you have high-quality, unique content, and you expose that to social platforms, people will replicate it and promote it.

    SEO will come as a side-effect, as people link to your content because they will benefit from doing so.

    So focus on creating high-quality content.

    Leo

  • http://fakoon.com/ fakoon

    Fakoon.com got top search result on Bing.com with keyword “ao thun” mean T-shirt, the selling product

  • http://www.oceanofweb.com Atul

    I dont know why but I am not getting even a single user from Bing. Can anyone help me out

  • http://www.writtenbysumer.com Spencer Spellman

    Great post. I know traffic is probably high now for Bing, but I think the real test will come months from now. I’m just curious how long the momentum will last. One thing that’s frustrating at times about social media is how invisible it is to search engine spiders. It would be nice to be able to bypass some of this, but then again you have the problem with spammers, which will never go away.

  • http://www.patrickmcmurray.com Patrick McMurray

    Try and sing Bing – Twitter – Facebook – yahoo! it could almost be the title of a rock song, or a good chorus.

    Bing Twitter Facebook, yahoo

    Look closer, our generation of geeks is writing a new English language, Google, Yahoo, Bing, Twitter.

    Its like hey man my dood I gone get yo twitter, its sure nough mo better than yo bing, dood, my man, you know I sayin yo my man.

    Bing is good, I have noticed a dramatic increase in traffic from this source, twitter, well not so sure, facebook, perhaps another flash in the pan. Content is king.

  • http://www.jetairtickets.in Jetairtickets

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for this great informative post

  • http://www.holisticwebworks.com Doug

    It looks like the old advice about good, relevant content still holds. But, now it is more important than ever to have a variety of means by which that content is provided.

  • http://www.backboneitgroup.com seo

    Businesses shouldn’t underestimate the value of social media sites like facebook, they are powerful and free ways to advertise that can reach millions of people.

  • http://ripsychotherapy.com Mike A

    I recently helped a friend put up the website for his business. Bing indexed and cached it very quickly. We’re still waiting for Google to do the same. Yahoo also was fast on the draw. It’s ranking high on both Bing and Yahoo. Gotta say that I am having more respect as time passes for Bing.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/theclickbankprofitsystemreview Clickbank Profit System

    Learning about Twitter and how to market with it.

  • http://www.gardeningabc.net/ Gardening

    I’m using the 3. After a few months, i think twitter is the best for bringing some related traffic. Facebook it’s far from perfect for many niches, bringing almost zero. Bing, well…Bing it’s MSN Live, social media links play an important part of Bing rankings.

  • http://www.blindacre.com BlindAcreMedia

    With search engine optimization, I have never had any trouble with Yahoo or Google. It seems like Bing is taking a long time to index and cache the sites I am working on.

  • http://www.hairresources.com Hairstyles Guru

    I like the secret: Having quality and relevant (to that part of the SERP) content is the best thing you can do.

    Many webmasters scramble around for backlinks, social media, article marketing, etc and totally forget the big picture–Content.

    Build a quality content website and people will come one way or another.

  • http://www.ethnobotanicals.com/Kratom.html Buy Kratom

    Will both MSN Adcenter and Yahoo Search Marketing continue to operate independently??

  • http://www.internethomebusinessopportunities.net Internet Business Opportunity

    While focusing on social media, providing good content to share will automatically act as a viral promotion and avoid the impression of self promotion.

  • http://www.bialko.info.pl/czym-wlasciwie-jest-bialko/ proteiny

    certainly like your web-site but you have to check the spelling on several of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very troublesome to tell the truth nevertheless I’ll surely come back again.

  • http://www.thesocialfirm.com Scott

    With SEO, I haven’t occurred any trouble with Yahoo or Google. It seems like Bing takes a long time to index and cache sites. Is anyone else having this problem?

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