I previously revised Google’s, Yahoo’s, and Bing’s search engine ranking factors from Canadian SEO guru Stephen Noton’s 2006 findings.
With Bing-Yahoo Search Alliance, targeting the major English-speaking markets through search engine optimization will require to master:
Google’s 200 Ranking Factors
Microsoft’s Bing search engine tried to offer “different” algorithmic search results to Google’s search results, however:
- Bing may still believe Google’s search algorithm is still superior to and produces more relevant search results than Bing’s search algorithm.
- Eric Schmidt once admitted Google’s 200 search engine ranking factors (including Google PageRank) are business secrets.
Danny Sullivan made a list of Google’s ranking factors (incomplete list):
- Presence of search term in HTML title tag
- Presence of search term in HTML body copy
- Use of bold around search term
- Use of header tags around search term
- Presence of search term in anchor text leading to page
- PageRank of a page
- PageRank / authority of an entire domain
- Speed of web site
Google’s ranking factors also contain social signals including click through rates (CTR) and low bounce rates which can be collected through sources from:
Bing Copied Google’s Search Algorithm
Google recently put up an accusation about Microsoft Bing:
- Google discovered in October 2010 that Bing was showing a much greater overlap with Google’s top 10 search results and an increase in the percentage of times listed exactly the same page in the number one spot as Google’s, than in previous months.
- Google set up a bait (i.e. sting operation) by creating 100 “synthetic” searches (i.e. queries that few users would ever enter in Google’s search box).
- Google verified Bing has been indeed copying Google’s search results as within 2 weeks, the “synthetic” search results started showing up on Bing’s search results.
- Google accused Bing for copying Google’s search algorithm when both representatives of Google and Bing showed up in a panel at the ThinkBig Farsight 2011 event.
Bing did not directly deny Google’s accusation and revealed:
- Bing’s search algorithm consists of over 1,000 signals.
- Bing uses clickstream data collected from users who have opt-ed in to share anonymous data when navigate the web.
Danny Sullivan’s provided insights for search engine optimization on both Bing and Google:
Well, as a search marketer, I learned something new – how you rank on Google may have an impact on how you rank on Bing. Probably a tiny impact.
Google said they didn’t use toolbar data for to help sites. But I also pointed out that they do use it for measuring site speed – which is a ranking factor.
Optimize your sites for Bing:
- Be consistent with ranking signals in URL structure, internal linking, canonical tags, XML sitemaps, and robots.txt
- Make it easy for Bing’s crawler, MSNbot, to discover your web pages – e.g. One of Google’s suggestions is to optimize website’s page load time
- Create high quality, original content
- Bing is susceptible to link spam
- Run SEO keyword research through Bing’s keyword tools
- Use information in Bing’s Webmaster Tools
Eye Tracking Study: Google vs Bing Search Results
User Centric conducted eye tracking tests to compare the amount and distribution of attention on Bing’s and Google’s search engine results pages (SERP). The image below was extracted from User Centric eye tracking study:
The test results indicate the users spend more time viewing Google’s organic search results with 14.7 seconds to Bing’s 10.7 seconds. The percentages of users that have viewed the 4 areas of the SERP:
- Sponsored results at the top – Google: 91%, Bing: 90%
- Sponsored results to the right of the organic search results – Google: 28%, Bing: 21%
- Organic search results – Google: 100%, Bing: 100%
- Left pane – Google: 17%, Bing: 18%
About User Centric’s test method on Bing and Google:
- Twenty-four experienced users of both Google and Bing participated in the tests.
- Users’ eye movements were recorded with the Tobii T60 eye tracker.
- The eye tracking study analyzed the percentage of users (i.e. hit rate) who looked at each of the 4 areas and the time (i.e. gaze time) the users spent viewing the 4 areas.
- Each user conducted 4 Google searches (with Google Instant disabled) and 4 Bing searches, in which 2 searches were informational (“healthy food” and “landscaping”) and the other 2 searches were transactional (“engagement ring” and “last minute vacations”).