The dominance of Google’s search engine over its competitors has few modern equivalents. It’s hard to think of another company which has achieved 90 per cent market share in a sector which also contains billion-pound competitor brands. Few firms achieve proprietary eponym status, that being where their product or service name becomes a verb, like Hoover or Jet Ski. And few businesses have ever achieved the brand recognition Google has managed in just 21 years.
Given this success, it’s easy to forget other search engines exist. DuckDuckGo powers the privacy-oriented Tor Browser, while MSN and Yahoo struggle on in the shadow of their ‘90s’ heyday. However, Google’s biggest rival is Microsoft’s Bing. More popular in its homeland than on this side of the Atlantic, the well-funded Bing was used in 6.76 per cent of UK searches last November, according to data from Statista. That may seem surprising, but Bing is the default Windows search engine. It can also be the default engine in the Opera and Firefox browsers.
Searching for a difference
Like Google, Bing has invested heavily in search engine optimisation, or SEO. The precise composition of these algorithms is carefully guarded to prevent unfair manipulation. Even so, we know there are many minor differences between the algorithms used by Google and Microsoft. As an example, Bing’s page indexing focuses on the first 100KB, meaning content prioritisation is more important for optimal ranking results. Bing also adds extra weight to the presence of page titles, meta descriptions, social signals, and multimedia content. Conversely, Google favours recent page updates, inbound/outbound links, and text content.
Given these differences, there’s clearly a case for focusing on Bing SEO as well as Google. Few companies can afford to ignore almost seven per cent of the general public, especially since optimising a website for Bing is free. The only investment required is time, unless you also aim to invest in some pay-per-click advertising. In this regard, Bing’s prices tend to be lower than Google’s. And since customers only pay when someone clicks through onto a specified web page, setting a modest daily budget represents a fairly safe investment.
More of the same
Despite the differences outlined two paragraphs ago, Bing and Google operate along similar principles as search engines. Both are able to recognise fraudulent activities like keyword stuffing, or inbound links from low-quality link farms. Bing is less enthusiastic about recently-launched web domains than Google, but any of the domain suffixes sold by UK2 will achieve equivalent ranking scores. The effective use of keywords remains pivotal for achieving a high ranking in Bing, while the disproportionate focus afforded to its rival often makes a high ranking position in Bing easier to accomplish.
Finally, Bing has one crucial advantage over its arch-rival: Cortana and Alexa both use Bing to power their virtual assistant interfaces, with only Siri and Google Assistant powered by
Google. Incorporating commonly-asked questions in written form on a website may provide a competitive edge in voice search results – particularly via Alexa’s all-conquering platform.