Why Bing matters more than you think for SEO

Bing. When you say the name, it elicits chuckles and occasional sneers from digital marketers, but the Microsoft search engine might matter more than you think. Here’s why: not only is it going to power search results for Siri in iOS 7, it currently powers search results for Facebook today – and that’s where you can’t see its hidden influence.

Take a look quickly at Google Analytics for Bing’s share of our search on an average day in June:

Bing

That’s not all that spectacular, is it? Only 2.69% of our search traffic is from Bing, while Google has the lion’s share at 95.17% of search traffic. Bing doesn’t matter, right? Not so fast. Bing powers the search results for Facebook. I wanted to see how Bing search interacted with Facebook, so I went and did a search for SHIFT:

Dreamweaver

There we are, search results powered by Bing. It would be logical to conclude that if I clicked on this search result, it would show up in Google Analytics as a Bing search result. Logical, but it turns out that conclusion is wrong. I fired up Google Analytics Real-Time and clicked on the Bing search result, and here’s what it was recorded as:

Dreamweaver

Facebook’s web searches via Bing come across as social referrals, not search results.

If you look at the source code for Facebook’s search results, they’re wrapped up in the same link shortener that every Facebook link is wrapped in, making Bing search results indistinguishable from other shared links on Facebook and making them invisible in your analytics. You don’t know how many visits from Facebook are actually searches.

What does this mean for you? At the very least, you need to pay attention to the basics of optimizing your website not just for Google, but for Bing as well. Facebook’s search results are powered by it, Apple’s results will be powered in part by it, and chances are other services will be as well. Make sure you’re registered for their version of Webmaster Tools, get your site verified, and do all of the basic things needed to make sure that you show up reasonably well in their search results. Google isn’t the only game in town, especially in the iOS and Facebook worlds. If you’re adding focus to your PR and marketing efforts in mobile and social, you need to add focus to Bing.

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

Disclosure: Microsoft’s Bing search engine is a past client of SHIFT. SHIFT was not compensated to write this post, however.

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Posted on June 19, 2013 in Marketing, Search, SEO, Technology

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About the Author

Christopher S. Penn is an authority on digital marketing and marketing technology. A recognized thought leader, author, and speaker, he has shaped three key fields in the marketing industry: Google Analytics adoption, data-driven marketing and PR, and email marketing. Known for his high-octane, here’s how to get it done approach, his expertise benefits companies such as Citrix Systems, McDonald’s, GoDaddy, McKesson, and many others. His latest work, Leading Innovation, teaches organizations how to implement and scale innovative practices to direct change.

Christopher is a highly-sought keynote speaker thanks to his energetic, informative talks. In 2015, he delivered insightful, innovative talks on all aspects of marketing and analytics at over 30 events to critical acclaim.

He is a founding member of IBM’s Watson Analytics Predictioneers, co-founder of the groundbreaking PodCamp Conference, and co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee marketing podcast.

Christopher is a Google Analytics Certified Professional and a Google AdWords Certified Professional. He is the author of over two dozen marketing books including bestsellers such as Marketing White Belt: Basics for the Digital Marketer, Marketing Red Belt: Connecting With Your Creative Mind, and Marketing Blue Belt: From Data Zero to Marketing Hero.

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