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Optimizing for Bing Part I: Why Bing Might Matter

If you’re a typical American business owner, it might not even be on your radar that Microsoft 10 launched just recently — it’s certainly not the massive event that Windows 7 was. In fact, the list of programs that will run on Windows 10 that won’t run on Windows 7 is so small as to be completely negligible. But if you’re a typical American SEO guy (or gal, no hatin’), Microsoft 10 might just matter quite a bit more to you, because everyone upgrading to it is going to find a Bing search bar native to their desktop. Microsoft anticipates that this move alone is going to increase Bing’s query volume by 10-15% by the end of September.

What Does That Mean? (Warning: Very Rough Maths)
Now, query volume isn’t market share; right now, the basic breakdown is that Google owns about 66% of the search engine market share, Bing owns about 20% but also ‘owns’ the 15% that go through Yahoo!, because Yahoo Search is ‘powered by’ the Bing algorithm, with the remaining few percentage points mostly going to Ask.com and AOL. (Yeah, there’s like 105% there…I said the maths were very rough, didn’t I?)

A 10-15% increase in query volume for Bing means that Microsoft expects Bing’s current 20% of the market to go up by 10-15% of that 20% — so we’re talking about a rise to 22% or 23% of the total search market…except for two things. First, some of that increase in query volume is going to come from people who would not otherwise have searched at all — so it’s not going to decrease Google’s market share, because it instead increases the size of the total pie. Second, some of those searchers that use the Bing bar are going to come from Yahoo (or Ask or whatever), so they’re not going to impact Google’s market share, either. All things considered, it’s optimistic to assume that Bing’s market share is going to exceed 22%, and statistically speaking Google’s share is going to drop by maybe 1.5% because of Bing’s rise.

So, Should We Be Worrying About SEO for Bing Now?
Short answer: If you didn’t care about optimizing for 1/3rd of the marketplace before, shame on you. But seriously, if you didn’t do it before and you’re satisfied with your results, don’t worry about it now, either. If you did do it before, keep doing it. Unless this desktop search bar turns out to be way more valuable than expected (and/or Windows 10 turns out to get a lot more widespread of an user base than expected), it’s not going to be a huge deal.

Optimizing for Bing: Myths and Truths
There’s a lot less pressure to optimize the everliving hell out of Bing than there is Google, and for that reason alone, the SEO community doesn’t know as much about Bing. This is exacerbated by the fact that, around 2012, some jerk wrote an entire manual about optimizing for Bing and it was full of lies. Complete fiction, sold to gullible SEO startups for $59.99 — and it was consumed en masse, and is still being promulgated today.

So next week, I’ll put together a guide to SEOing a website for Bing without accidentally de-optimizing it for Google. Because that’s a surprisingly easy thing to do.

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