This is my 1000th post in this forum, and I thought I'd look into SEO for Bing. Now, with Yahoo! Search being provided internally by Bing, Bing effectively approaching 30% of the search market share, which is to be reckoned with. What, if anything, is Bing SEO? Well, it turns out that it is... really not that much (though not quite nothing either).
So I would like to summarize here what is known today about Bing SEO. Due to algorithmic similarities and differences between Bing and Google, the search results the two search engines return, while fundamentally similar, are also substantially different (they can be easily compared with http://www.bing-vs-google.com or with http://www.bingle.nu). Enough people are using Bing for search engine optimizers to care, but another reason to care is that the average clickthrough rate (CTR) on Bing ads is said to be roughly 1.5 times that of Google ads.
Predictably, much will remain unknown about the details of both Bing's search algorithm and of Google's. Until recently, there was a bizarre consensus emerging in the SEO industry about certain features of Bing search. This consensus included the following "facts," which are still regurgitated widely even on reputable SEO sites:
"Backlinks don't carry as much weight in Bing as in Google."
"Backlinks' anchor text matters more in Bing than in Google."
"On-page factors carry more weight in Bing."
"There is no correlation between Bing rankings and Google page rank. "
In fact, all of the above are BS and quite simply false. Indeed, links matter more to Bing than to Google (probably because Bing's treatment of links is somewhat more naοve than Google's). I think the reason for the above notions is that before any real statistical comparison of search results was done (i.e. before the recent tests by the SEOmoz team), no reliable information was available. Since there was a demand for such information, SEO bloggers simply guessed or eyeballed it or even made things up, in an effort to capture relevant search traffic.
The consensus also included a few other ideas, which have a better chance of being true:
Fresh content matters less on Bing (this may have something to do with the fact that Bing's indexation is much slower than Google's).
Bing associates site authority with the age and size of a site.
Still, I have not found any reliable evidence to confirm these two points, so the jury is still out on them.
The consensus also the following two claims, which in fact are true:
Bing is better than Google at making sense of and indexing Flash.
Nofollow links pass no Bing link juice either.
In addition, the only good information about Bing ranking comes from recent studies by SEOmoz. The big caveat here is that the statistical data reveals correlations which are not necessarily ranking factors. A modern search algorithm is a very complex thing, and slight differences in the weight of the same ranking factors may well add up to significant differences in SERPs.
Nevertheless, the correlations are well worth noting:
Bing seems to reward keywords in subdomains more than does Google.
Bing seems to prefer shorter content. Long-winded content has a small negative correlation with Bing rankings (whereas in Google it has a small positive correlation with same).
Bing seems to favor shorter URLs.
Bing favors website home pages more than does Google.
The number of unique linking root domains seems to matter even more to Bing than to Google.
Hyphens in exact match domains seem to weaken Bing rankings somewhat.
Bing SERPs are evolving toward greater similarity with Google SERPs.
These are the correlations that seem to me significant enough to mention. Others noted by SEOmoz are minor by comparison and not worth worrying about. (If I have missed any major ones, please point them out.)
So how should we define SEO for Bing? I would include the following advice under this heading:
Optimize for Google.
If you must use a subdomain, consider including keywords in it.
Don't write too long-windedly (yeah, I know).
Don't use long spammy URLs.
If you are going with an EMD (exact match domain), try to pick one without hyphens for best results.
Be patient: if it's true that Bing is more "conservative" and domain age and site size matter to it more than to Google, then your Bing presence is likely to accrue in time.
Register sites with the Bing Webmaster Center at http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmasters/ and use the tools therein for help with Bing matters.
Do Bing-based keyword research.
Don't sweat Bing too much!
Of some special interest is the preview panel that Bing uses in its SERPs. You should know that it includes
the H1 tag (not the title tag)
first paragraphs of the page
contact info from the page
That's it, folks! Thank you for your attention.