In the dispute between Bing and Google, many automatically assume that Google will take the crown from both users and marketers when it comes to preferences and overall user experience. While Google continues to dominate the Western market in 2021 with a UK market share of 87.7%, challenger search engines like Microsoft ‘s Bing have been trying to eat away some of that share in recent years. Although Microsoft lives in the shadow of Google, during this time it has improved its search offerings and has achieved great results, in particular in paid search. Bing, equivalent to Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising, has made significant financial strides: while last quarterly revenue growth fell slightly short of expectations, the company’s revenues have grown by an average of 12.07% per quarter over the past three years.
In the world of digital marketing, Bing is an important area for professionals to focus on. As we’ll discuss in this blog, Bing presents an opportunity for SEOs and paid media managers to increase the visibility of sites and reach new users from a different demographic. To take full advantage of this opportunity, it’s important to understand the nuances of Bing and Google, especially regarding their ranking processes and PPC offerings .
- A Brief History of Bing and Google
- A brief history of Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising
- Bing vs Google: Summing Up
A Brief History of Bing and Google
History of the Google search engine
In the early 1990s, when the Internet was just beginning to be explored by home users, a site called Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web was created. The site, the brainchild of Stanford alumni Jerry Yang and David Filo, became Yahoo in April 1994. As you can see from the image below, Yahoo was originally a database of websites organized in a hierarchical system rather than a search index of pages.
The next big step in the history of search engines came in 1998, when two Stanford graduate students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founded Google. It started as a research project known as BackRub, so called because of its ranking method – checking backlinks to a site to determine relative authority. This is what gave Google an edge over its competitors that continues to this day. An interesting addition is that the history of Google is linked to the decision on its name and its etymology. The name Google comes from the word Googol, the number equal to ten raised to the power of one hundred (10100). At one time, Page and Brin tried to get the Googol.com domain , but changed the name to Google when they found that it was unavailable.
What is Bing search engine: history
The history of Microsoft’s Bing, on the other hand, is much more recent. Derived from Windows Live Search and MSN Search, Bing came into existence when those services were merged and rebranded in July 2009. The first major update came in August 2011 when Microsoft introduced a new index maintenance technology known as “Tiger”. In 2015, Bing was completely redesigned, followed by updates that penalize the use of keywords .and improving local search. Most recently, in October 2020, “Bing” was rebranded to “Microsoft Bing”, with a new logo and colors. Google’s algorithm updates are well-documented: at first they occurred sporadically – one in 2000, another in 2002, and then became more and more frequent over the years. In today’s environment, there are hundreds of changes to search algorithms every year, ranging from minor tweaks to far-reaching broad profile algorithm updates that shake up SERP . In contrast, changes to the Bing algorithm are rarely talked about in the SEO community.
Bing vs. Google: the competition
While Google still dominates the UK search market, Microsoft has made some headway over the past few years. According to Statista , Google maintains an 87.7% market share in the UK. The same source reports that Yahoo’s market share has fallen to just 2.25%, but Bing has seen growth over the past few years, rising from 6.85% in 2018 to a current 8.39% share in 2021. Together, Microsoft-owned search engines hold nearly 11% of the UK market share. Such competitionis healthy, encouraging companies to improve their services and think about how to stand out from the crowd; In many ways, competition stimulates innovation and technological progress. For example, it was as a result of the fierce rivalry between Bing and Google that differences emerged between them – in a competitive environment, differentiation allows brands to stand out from the rest of the market and survive.
Differences between Bing and Google
Taken at face value, some might argue that Bing and Google aren’t all that different. Indeed, both search engines offer paid advertising and adhere to the same ranking principles, taking into account backlinks , the technical condition of sites, and so on. However, when searching for the same phrase in both search engines, we get radically different organic results. The purpose of the next section is to partially explain why this is so.
Bing vs. Google: Differences in Ranking Factors
Even though Google and Bing SEO ranking factors are similar in many ways, it is also clear that when comparing Bing and Google results, there are significant differences in the weights applied to certain ranking factors. Of course, you don’t have to redesign your entire site to optimize it for Bing, but there are some changes you can make to ensure it ranks high on both search engines.
Bing and Google’s ranking algorithms take into account many technical factors, from mobile friendliness to site speed. Investing in behind-the-scenes structure optimization and technical SEO on your site’s pages can yield positive results at both Google and Bing, although there are some discrepancies between the factors they consider important. When implementing permanent redirects as part of SEO, it is correct to use 301 redirects , not temporary 302 redirects . Using 302 redirects can sometimes cause indexing issueson Google, but Bing’s system works by automatically interpreting a 302 redirect as a 301 after it’s been passed multiple times. Therefore, 302 redirects are unlikely to cause any problems for Bing. However, in order for your site to be optimized for both Bing and Google, it’s important not to use 302 redirects if a permanent redirect is required.
In 2021, Google released a new ranking factor called Core Web Vitals, which Google described as a set of factors that make “the web more enjoyable for users across all browsers and surfaces, and help sites develop in line with user expectations on mobile devices.” With a focus on speed, responsiveness, and page stability, sites must provide a high level of user experience if they are to benefit from this new addition to the ranking algorithm. This includes technical factors that affect the user’s experience or enjoyment of the site, such as slow page speeds or intrusive pop-ups .
Bing Takes a Closer Look at Metadata
Many of the differences between Bing’s and Google’s ranking processes lie at the intersection of the technical and content aspects of SEO. For example, the processing of metadata and other signals on a page differs significantly between the two search engines, mainly due to the different ways in which they try to understand sites on the Internet. Bing relies heavily on traditional content understanding methods such as keywordsin the domain, page titles and metadata; Google, on the other hand, is less interested in these factors due to its excellent interpretation of the language in context (especially since the RankBrain and BERT updates). Overall, this makes optimizing for Google more difficult for SEOs than it is for Bing.
In particular, meta descriptions play a much larger role in Bing’s site evaluation than Google. These short, concise descriptions of the page’s content play an active role in the Bing ranking process, while in Google SERP they are simply used as a short advertisement for the pages. Similarly, Bing puts more emphasis on using anchor text and encourages sites that have anchor text that matches the page title, while Google doesn’t put that much emphasis on this element. Your SEO approach should consider both Bing’s and Google’s ranking processes – none of the elements discussed here are mutually exclusive, and neither search engine will penalize sites that are also optimized for the other. Given Google’s complex language understanding, it’s important to write for people and not over-optimize; at the same time, however, you can use keywords in URLs, titles, and metadata without stuffing them. As with content in general, the trick is to find the perfect balance between the two.
Bing Prefers Official Domain Types
Bing favors already created content that has either been around for a long time or has received a lot of traffic. This preference is also reflected in Bing’s preference for more formal top-level domains such as .gov or .edu, while Google considers commercial or popular sites equally valuable in many situations. While you can’t optimize a site for any search engine based on these preferences, it’s important to compare Bing and Google results because your site may be preferred in one of the search engine ranking processes due to domain type.
We’ve already noted that Google’s ranking process has its origins in a Ph.D. project called BackRub, which used backlinks to determine a site’s relative authority. Even now, the search engine still uses analysis backlinks as the main method of ranking sites: the more links to your site, the higher its authority (and the better it will stand out in search results). While Bing is still a critical ranking factor, it doesn’t place as much importance on backlinks. Even though backlinks are more important to Google SEO, there are some similarities between the two search engines when it comes to linking. In both cases, authority is determined not only by the number of backlinks, but also by their quality and relevance. Links from well-established sites that are relevant to the destination site transfer more link capital than their less established counterparts.
Bing Pays Attention to Social Signals
In 2016, Google’s Gary Illies was asked if the search engine considers social signals (such as consumer engagement with a brand on Facebook ) in its ranking algorithms. His laconic answer: “no, we do not take into account.” However, Bing places much more emphasis on social media engagement, which is reflected in its use of social signals as a ranking factor. Pages that earn more likes, shares, and retweets are more likely to rank highly on Bing. Marketing social media in one form or another should already be integrated into your digital marketing strategy, but Bing gives you the added incentive of ranking higher for high social media performance.
- Secondly, the general advice provided by Bing on this applies to both Google and Bing SEO: “To avoid any potential issues, consider implementing a lower level experience that includes the same content elements and links as yours.” rich version.
- Here, the term “low-level experience” refers to the content that will be displayed on the site without all the rich media (i.e. how some crawlers will see the page). Use the SEO Browser tool to check how your site is performing for crawlers and make sure all important content is visible.
Google’s First Mobile Indexing
Most SEOs are aware of Google’s mobile-first indexing policy and its implications. In short, Google uses the mobile version of the site for indexing and ranking, so it’s important that all mobile content and metadata is fully optimized and consistent with the desktop version’s data. (In practice, it’s best not to have separate mobile and desktop sites at all, by adopting responsive design ). According to the previous statement, mobile-first indexing was supposed to be applied to all sites by the end of 2020, but then this deadline was postponed to March 2021. Any sites that are still using the mobile version should optimize it accordingly and improve where possible User Experience (UX) – For more on this, read our first mobile indexing guide.
Bing has a very different policy than Google when it comes to content indexing. Bing’s Christy Olson confirmed that Bing has no plans to implement an equivalent indexing policy for mobile, stating that “we maintain a single index optimized for both mobile and desktop to ensure our users continue to get the most relevant, fresh, and consistent results.” no matter where they are.” Despite this, you should still use Google’s mobile indexing guidelines in your SEO and UX efforts (as outlined in our guide) as it won’t affect your results on Bing.
Bing vs. Google: Beyond Ranking Factors
We looked at a number of areas where Bing’s ranking process differs from Google’s ranking process. However, there are many other differences between these two search engines besides the algorithms they use. Specifically, Bing and Google differ in terms of SERP features, local search, maps, voice search, and paid advertising.
Google has more SERP features
Over the past few years, Bing has kept pace with Google in terms of SERP feature updates. While many of the following SERP features were first created by Google (with the exception of the Twitter SERP feature), both search engines now use them:
- Knowledge Cards/Panels/Carousels
- Maps (local packages)
- News (top news)
- In-depth articles
- Genuine snippets (text/list/table)
- Related searches
However, there are several examples where Bing has chosen not to follow the path of its main competitor in this area. The Accelerated Mobile Pages ( AMP ) SERP features that Google offers to mobile users are conspicuously absent from Bing search results, as is non-fiction (Google Scholar). Depending on your point of view, the wider adoption of SERP features across both search engines can be considered a blessing or a curse. Some SEOs have argued against increasing the number of “featured snippets” and “people also ask” (PAA) snippets in Google’s SERPs , citing research showing they reduce click-through rates ( CTRs ).) for all sites on the first page. Indeed, ever since Google removed snippet-hosted pages from organic ads below them, this view has become increasingly popular – especially in the e-commerce space, some sites are ditching snippet snippets in favor of ads using max meta tags . -snippet or no-snippet.
Others in the digital marketing community are happy to vie for SERPs , looking for snippets and the like. It’s true that topic snippets can lower CTR in situations where a satisfactory answer is provided in the snippet itself (why would you click to a page if is your question already answered in SERPS ?) However, getting themed snippets for certain long-tail keywords can allow sites to target users with niche questions and increase related traffic .
Bing has become more visually immersive
In March 2021, Microsoft Bing released a series of updates to its search functionality with the goal of moving towards “search results that seamlessly combine information with visually rich images in one beautiful way,” as Bing describes. This will especially appeal to users who don’t want to read large amounts of text to find the information they need – this means that, like with Google, users will no longer have to leave SICKLES to get an answer to their query .. In the example below, an informational search for the word “tigers” results in an infographic-style search feature. The information is visually pleasing and displays clear, factual information that can be gathered quickly. It is worth noting that each fact in the infographic is taken from a specific source site and contains a link to it, which offers a new opportunity for SEO optimization. Unlike Google, sites included in the infographic search feature still show up in the SERP normally.
Other advanced search features reduce the need for the user to navigate away from the results page, such as advanced carousel search and intuitive highlighting. Advanced Carousel Search allows users to hover over an image posted in the carousel and it will expand, offering information in chunks. With intuitive highlighting, complete recipes and “how to” information can be intuitively retrieved from the website and placed in the sidebar right on the results page. Basically, the user doesn’t have to visit the website and sift through large amounts of text, instead they can get important information directly from Microsoft Bing thanks to the attractive design. In that sense, Bing is far more visually captivating than Google.
Local Search and User Proximity
The number of local searches on Google has increased significantly over the past five years. According to Hubspot, 46% of all Google searches in 2019 were for local information, and 72% of consumers who search locally visit a store within a five-mile radius. The growth of hyperlocal search is also evidenced by Google Trends data on “near me” searches over the past five years:
The slight drop in “near me” queries in the second half of 2019 can be explained by the fact that with Google location tracking turned on, search queries already take into account the user’s location. Indeed, the use of location-based search modifiers is redundant in the case of many queries. We’ve seen that location based searches are becoming more and more popular, but how do Bing and Google compare to each other in terms of local searches? The most significant difference is in the types of results that these search engines display.
In response to local searches, both Bing and Google display a map of the local area with pins indicating the location of businesses or organizations relevant to the search. The key difference here is that Google focuses on the immediate vicinity of the user by default, while Bing provides a wider view of the area.
This “hyperlocal and local” scheme also applies to the top pages that Bing and Google provide for local searches: Google tends to rank for the top ads that are very close to the user, while Bing provides the most relevant ads from slightly larger radius. In the example above, Google’s top restaurant is closer to the user’s actual location than the one provided by Bing. In 2019, Google updated its local search ranking process to prioritize proximity to the user, so this is not surprising.
Looking ahead, in March 2021, Bing announced an update to local search that will display aggregated information from various sources. In other words, instead of plain text or an image carousel for local searches, Bing will show Bing Maps, images, testimonials , and other features to provide as many details about the location as possible. First launched in the US, this is another move by Bing to provide design-driven information retrieval that can provide a more complete overview than what Google is currently seeking.
Bing and Google Maps side by side
Bing Maps and Google Maps are integral components of their respective search engines—these mapping features have become widespread and are now central to Bing and Google’s offerings. We briefly touched on the differences between them in the context of local search, but it’s worth delving into this topic. At first glance, there aren’t many visual differences between the user interfaces (UI) of Bing Maps and Google Maps, as seen in these screenshots:
Both maps provide the user with a knowledge panel containing area or business information, as well as referral, share, and save functions. The main section of both user interfaces is occupied by the map itself – in both cases, the map allows the user to zoom in and navigate around it. The most significant differences between Bing Maps and Google Maps lie in the directions they provide and the data that comes with them. Estimated travel time and associated route information differ between the two web mapping services.
Google seems to give slightly longer estimates: when looking for a route between Impression’s Fothergill House in Nottingham and St Pancras station in London by car, Bing estimates a travel time of 2 hours 39 minutes, while Google suggests 2 hours 45 minutes. Other trips show a similar spread, with Google adding about 3-5% of Bing’s estimated travel time in each case. While not important for SEO, it’s interesting that Google Maps provides the user with additional information about the fastest route between destinations. For example, when searching for the Impression-St Pancras route, Google Maps highlights the fact that the chosen route avoids the closure of a major bridge along the way, while Bing Maps makes no mention of this potentially significant closure.
Bing impresses with visual and image search
Recent research shows that 62% of Generation Z and Millennials want visual search capabilities. With the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the demand for image search is constantly growing – but who is currently ahead of Google and Bing? While Google offers users a wider choice of images and an advanced search feature for useful filtering, Bing offers better images with more detailed information than Google.
Bing also offers visual search capabilities right from the search engine, giving users the ability to perform a wide range of immersive functions (called specialized skills) such as buying furniture or clothing, identifying celebrities, exploring landmarks, and searching for similar images.. The search engine is especially good at displaying information next to images, such as prices. Another benefit of Bing Visual Search is that it allows developers to tell Bing which actions to take directly from an image, such as taking the user to a sale on a product page. Given this, as well as better image quality and more detailed information, Bing may currently have an advantage over Google in its image search capabilities. This isn’t surprising when you consider that Bing is aiming for more visually immersive search.
Voice search – comparing Bing and Google
According to an Adobe study from July 2019, 48% of consumers use voice search for “general web searches” and 39% use virtual personal assistants (VPAs) through their smart speakers. Obviously, voice search represents a huge opportunity for SEOs and digital marketers in general, but what are the key differences between the features provided by Bing and Google?
Previous commentators have suggested that the two search engines offer different benefits to voice search users. Clark Boyd, writing for Search Engine Watch, argues that Microsoft’s digital assistant, Cortana, has better speech recognition capabilities but less accurate contextual understanding than Google Assistant. The point of view regarding understanding the context makes sense when we consider recent developments by Google, such as the update of the BERT algorithm.
As mentioned above, many voice requests are made using physical smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo. Given that these devices are one of the primary means by which voice searches are carried out, we could find out which of the two major search engine results are used most often to answer queries.
There are no published statistics regarding the number of smart speaker WPA requests that Bing responds to compared to Google. However, three out of four VPAs — Apple ‘s Siri , Microsoft’s Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa — use Bing for this purpose, and only Google Assistant provides answers from Google. Thus, it can be assumed that most smart speaker users get answers to their questions from Bing, and not from Google. Regardless of the source of the results provided to users, the process of optimizing a site for voice search remains the same. Luckily for SEOs, this means that the same optimization techniques help ensure that your content appears in both Bing and Google voice search results. For more information on optimizing your site for voice search, read our dedicated guide.
Bing vs Google: Paid Advertising
We’ve already discussed the vast majority of the differences between the two search engine giants when comparing them in terms of organic search. All that remains in this Bing vs. Google comparison is to explore how these two search engines differ in terms of their paid advertising services: Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords ) and Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads ). We at Impression believe in the value of both platforms by offering Microsoft Ads Management and Google Ads Management.
A brief history of Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising
Microsoft Advertising is a much younger paid advertising offering than Google Ads, which started life as MSN adCenter in 2006. Prior to this, all PPC advertising on MSN Search was provided by Overture and later by Yahoo. Compared to other major search engine vendors, Microsoft was definitely late to the party, but soon realized there was a growing market to enter. By the time MSN adCenter was launched, Google Adwords was in its prime and had been running for 6 years, putting the new challenger at a disadvantage from the start. Let’s start with the fact that his business-The model was different from current offerings: using a subscription-based model, Google created and managed campaigns on behalf of companies. Everything changed in 2005 with the release of the self-service portal Adwords, which became the basis for the modern Google Ads service.
Differences between Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising
When starting to work with PPC advertising, many companies first of all want to know which platform has the most reach . Given Google’s dominance of the search market from the start, it’s no surprise that Google Ads allows sites to reach far more users than Microsoft Advertising. However, Microsoft has taken several strategic steps over the years in an attempt to win back Google’s share of the paid search market: After launching Facebook ads in 2006, Microsoft teamed up with the social from its adCenter began to be published on the site (although Facebook replaced this idea by launching its own advertising service a year later). With the launch of Bing in 2010, Microsoft entered into a partnership with Yahoo. This partnership enabled the syndication of Bing ads on the Yahoo network. Currently, Microsoft ads are the single source of ads across the Yahoo and AOL networks.
In 2021, Bing announced a new responsive ad format called Multimedia Ads, following its focus on visually immersive search that uses machine learning to combine images, titles, and descriptions. It is important to note that only one rich media ad will be displayed per page, which will give it a prominent position in the SERP. Currently, Google Ads does not offer a similar ad format with this kind of exclusivity. Despite Microsoft’s best efforts, Google Ads remains the dominant force in PPC. But with this position comes a lot of competition between companies for a place in the Google SERP, which can scare off small companies and newcomers to the paid search market. Reach top paid positions Google is much more difficult than Bing, requiring high-quality metrics and significant investment.
This brings us to another key difference between Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising: cost. Cost per click ( CPC) for individual keywords in Microsoft Advertising tends to be lower than paid search competitors, which cumulatively affects the cost of overall campaigns. (While costs are generally lower at Microsoft, there is a trade-off between price and audience size—the costs may be higher with Google Ads, but you will reach a much larger audience. Bing’s audience composition is also different from Google’s. more educated than the average Google user, so partnering with the UK’s second most popular search engine can bring real benefits to companies that target this particular demographic. Even for brands that have adopted a mass-market strategy,
Because of this, there are also differences between the targeting options offered by the two paid advertising services. Both platforms allow sites to target specific user segments based on characteristics such as demographics, which improves ad spend efficiency . Google Ads offers a wide range of targeting options, from remarketing to dynamic search ads; Microsoft Advertising provides several targeting options, but is generally considered less advanced than its main competitor in this regard. In 2021, Bing announced the expansion of the Microsoft Audience Network as well as the release of Similar Audiences targeting, although it is currently limited to the US market.
However, a recent targeting update in Microsoft Advertising allows you to use data from LinkedIn user profiles to create targeted segments. This information can be really useful for certain types of businesses that want to target users who work in certain industries (for example, recruitment firms can benefit from this). On a more subtle level, this feature can also be used as a tool to target employees of certain companies. The LinkedIn targeting feature is unique to Microsoft Advertising and LinkedIn Ads. For companies trying to decide which PPC platform to choose, we recommend using both platforms as part of an integrated strategy digital marketing. As we’ve seen, each search engine has its own unique weaknesses, strengths, and audiences, so sites often perform best when they combine both platforms and advertise for both groups of users.
Bing vs Google: Summing Up
In short, both search engines offer unique benefits. While Google still dominates the market with additional search features and a mobile-first approach to indexing, Microsoft Bing has greatly improved its offerings to stand out from the competition by moving towards more visually immersive search. Starting with the history of the two companies and their competitive rivalry, we moved on to look at the main differences in their organic ranking processes. This section has provided a number of practical recommendations for optimizing sites for Bing and Google, including:
- Never use a 302 redirect if you want a permanent redirect.
- Optimize your URLs and metadata – but make sure your content is also engaging to people!
- Focus your off-page efforts on getting high-quality links from relevant, authoritative sites.
- Encourage users to engage with your brand through social media (Bing considers social media metrics in its organic ranking process).
- For pages that contain a lot of multimedia content, make sure crawlers can read all the important information. To do this, create a lower level page with the same elements as the rich version, expressing the important details with HTML (you can check how the sliders see your page using the SEO Browser tool).
- If your site still has separate desktop and mobile versions, make sure they are optimized the same and that the mobile UX is seamless.
This blog also compares Bing and Google ranking factors, looking at SERP features, local search, map functionality, and voice search. Several important conclusions can be drawn from this section:
- Google offers additional SERP features such as AMP elements and Google scholar.
- Bing local search covers a larger radius by default, while Google focuses on ads that are in close proximity to the user.
- Google Maps estimates travel times longer than Bing Maps, but provides more important information about the route taken.
- Bing is moving towards more visually immersive search by offering unique search features not currently used by Google.
- Google offers a wider selection of images, however, Bing images are higher quality and offer more detailed information.
In terms of voice search, Google Assistant understands linguistic context better, but is less accurate in speech recognition than Microsoft’s Cortana ( tips on optimizing voice search in both search engines, see our blog on the subject). Only Google smart speakers and Google Assistant-enabled devices use Google results for VPA responses, while Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa use Bing results. The third section of this guide compared the paid advertising services of two search engines (Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising). It’s worth remembering in this section that Google’s offering predates Bings by six years than Google AdWords in 2000. Another key point to consider is that over the years Microsoft has made several attempts to gain market share in PPC, but Google remains the dominant force in this area.
Finally, we assessed the pros and cons of Google Ads versus Microsoft Advertising: the former is more expensive, has more reach, and offers more advanced targeting options, but we would advise businesses to adopt an integrated PPC strategy that combines both services. This way, your campaigns will benefit from the unique features of both platforms and reach a much wider audience overall.