As we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, it seems pretty certain that Bing is “borrowing” from Google by using the Bing toolbar to record the way searchers interact with Google’s search results.
But that doesn’t mean that Bing and Google return identical results – far from it.
So what are the differences between Bing and Google? How do they arrive at their results? And how do those differences impact HVAC and plumbing companies that use the web to generate leads?
The answer is that we don’t really know exactly how the search engines compute their results, because they keep their secret formulas under lock and key. But we can at least make some educated guesses.
In broad strokes, here are three of the most important differences we’ve found between Bing and Google:
- For Bing, content is king. For Google, context is. Both Bing and Google evaluate your website on a range of factors, including the actual words that appear on your site, the keywords that are incorporated into your site’s programming, and the way your website links with others. But they use this information differently to come up with their results. Bing seems to be more concerned with “on page factors” than Google is – that is, with the parts of a website that the user actually reads. Google, on the other hand, puts more emphasis on “Page Rank”, which is a complicated algorithm that essentially determines how popular your website is compared to other, similar websites.
- Google wants to know how many people link to you; Bing wants to know why they link to you. “Backlinks”, or “incoming links”, are links from other websites to yours. Links are extremely important for calculating search results, because they offer insight into what other people think of your website. (The thinking is that if people link to your site, you must be offering something worthwhile.) Both search engines look at two factors when they evaluate incoming links: 1) how many links there are from other sites to yours; and 2) what those links say (i.e. if they contain relevant keywords). The difference is that Google seems to prioritize the quantity of links, while Bing seems to focus more on the quality of links.
- Google likes new content; Bing likes established content. Bing pays more attention to the “authority” of a website – that is, it gives precedence to websites that have been around for a while or belong to authoritative organizations. Google, on the other hand, seems to value fresh content and is much more likely to list recent blog posts than Bing is.
For more detailed technical information on the differences between Bing and Google, check out webconfs.com.
What do the differences between the search engines mean for HVAC and plumbing companies that want to make sure that their websites get to the top of the search results and stay there?
Well, first of all, it’s important to realize that optimizing for both search engines is not a zero-sum game – that is, if you do well in one, you won’t do worse in the other (particularly since Bing seems to be borrowing Google’s results).
In fact, if your website is programmed and managed according to the best practices that we use here at iMarket, you’ll be well-positioned for strong performance in both search engines.
To make sure that our clients’ sites perform well in both Bing and Google, we start out with the fundamental element of all effective search engine optimization: great content. Of course, our SEO service includes lots of high-tech extras along the way, but content is at the heart of everything we do.
- Well-written content that truly describes your company and the products and services you offer will naturally contain good keywords. Both search engines (especially Bing) love strong on-page content with relevant keywords.
- Well-written, useful content encourages other people to link to you. The more people link to you, the happier Google will be.
- Adding fresh content regularly keepings those links coming, and keeps Google interested.
- If you keep maintaining your website and adding content regularly, over time it will become an established, authoritative site, which will earn it the respect of Bing’s more conservative algorithm.
Next week, we’ll talk about how we think newcomer Bing might fare in the long term against industry giant Google.