Bing has been in the news a lot, recently, and this time it's for the study that Searchmetrics released about Bing's search engine ranking factors. Like Moz's search engine ranking factors study, this study looks at the many characteristics that are correlated with high page rankings for search queries. Watch today's Daily Brown Bag to learn more about Searchmetrics' search engine ranking factors study on Bing, and if it makes any difference in your SEO strategy.


Hello, and welcome to our video where we’re going to be talking about Bing search engine ranking factors. I’m Chad Hill, and I’m joined by Adam Stetzer.

Good morning, Chad. We’re talking about Bing, and it’s been a busy week for Bing. It’s kind of fun to be covering Bing here-- we don’t usually do that. We usually cover conversation that’s dominated by Google, but Bing’s in the news here. Of course they had their “Bing It On Challenge” controversy which we covered in a previous video, so we won’t dwell on that. We talked about that a few weeks ago.

There’s also been a release of a search engine ranking factors study put out by Searchmetrics, so I want to dive into that, and also notable and in the news for Bing is the rollout of their authorship-like feature, so they’re chasing Google on that, and probably chasing Facebook a little bit, too. So, let’s dive into the ranking study. Last Friday, just one business day ago, Searchmetrics put out their study for search engine ranking factors for Bing. This is a similar study to the one that they do for Google, and it’s nice to see them covering Bing because we don’t generally see a lot of discussion about that. But, they’re really trying to tease out some of the differences between search engines and help us all think about whether it would be good to have diversity of search engines out there.

Here are a couple of the high-level stats for you, Chad. About 25% of the page one results in Bing also appear in Google’s page one, and about 37% of the domains on Bing’s page one are also on Google’s page one. Those numbers actually are lower that I would have expected. I would have thought that they overlapped a little bit higher, which probably fuels this controversy a little bit about which one is actually better. I know there’s all sorts of claims out there. I think with all these studies, though, we always caution that correlation is not causation. But, these are some interesting top-line numbers for our internet marketing community.

Yeah, absolutely. To dive a little bit deeper into some of the factors that they came out with, there are really five things that they said drive Bing’s search engine rankings. The first one is the number of backlinks, which is no big surprise, but what they appear to have is a less elaborate method for filtering out good links from bad links than Google does. We know Google obviously has been rolling out a lot of anti-spam things like Penguin and Panda to counteract that.

Another one is that social signals seem to play a part. As you mentioned, though, there’s probably more of a correlation than a causation there. Again, good content tends to probably both get good backlinks and get mentioned in social media.

Another one is that content matters. A really interesting fact here is that, on average, Bing page one results tended to have about 100 words more than the results that Google showed on page one. So, Bing likes a little bit more content than Google, which is interesting.

Finally, top brands definitely seem to be weighted, and again, we know this from domain authority with Google that bigger brands tend to have a better presence in the search engines. It seems like with Bing, it’s even more so. To a certain extent, again, I think that comes back to Google having a more sophisticated ability to look at backlinks. The final one is that because of a little more reliance on onsite factors, there is more importance on getting your metadata, keyword density, and all the other things right in Bing compared to Google.

Cool. So, a couple takeaways from where I sit are:

1. It’s probably time for people to try the Bing It On challenge if they haven’t. I know a lot of perceptions out there were shaped several years ago from when Bing relaunched from the previous iteration of Microsoft Search, and I think a lot of people had a fairly negative perception. They tried it at that launch and didn’t feel that the results were all that they wanted. But, it’s now several years later and it’s probably time to give this another go. I know at least from sitting in the internet marketing community, I think we’d have a healthier industry if there was better competition and not such a clear leader that it could almost be considered monopolistic.

2. I think the second point here is kudos for Bing for stirring up the pot here. This marketing event, if you can call it that, this Bing It On Challenge and what they’ve done with their PR around it has definitely caused a lot of controversy. But, I guess it comes back to the statement that no press is bad press, because even if people are throwing rocks at some of the numbers they put out, it’s got us all talking about it and it results in more people using the search engine and actually doing these types of comparison studies, which is probably a good thing for the industry.

Yeah, absolutely, and I think you mentioned that they actually rolled out their Bing It On challenge, and again, they claim and we just talked about a search engine study for done here that refuted some of the U.S. results, but similar results in the U.K. where 50% of people surveyed in a blind search test preferred Bing results over Google, 34% preferred Google, and 13% said they were equal. So, pretty interesting that that’s where we are at this point.

Yeah, and maybe they’ll make some headway. Maybe by hitting these different markets, they’ll prolong the controversy and maybe they’ll actually pick up some audience. We’d be really interested in your views. We’d like to know if you tried the Bing It On challenge. Put a comment in and let us know. Share your thoughts on how good the search results are, and if you’ve enjoyed the video, we sure would like it if you would subscribe to our YouTube channel.