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When it comes to user choice and overall user experience, many people in the Bing vs. Google discussion would instinctively believe that Google wins out over both consumers and digital marketers. Even if Google still holds an 83.84% market share in the world in 2022, rival search engines like Microsoft’s Bing have been working hard to take market share in recent years.
Microsoft has been refining its search offering and has achieved remarkable success, particularly in paid search, while being in Google’s shadow. Microsoft Advertising, Bing’s version of Google Ads, has advanced significantly; in Q42022, the company’s total revenue rose by 12% to $51.9 billion (consistent with the growth rates observed in prior quarters).
Within the realm of digital marketing, Bing is a crucial area of concentration for practitioners. Bing offers SEOs and paid media managers the chance to improve a website’s overall visibility while attracting new users from various demographics, as we’ll cover throughout this article. It’s crucial that you comprehend the subtle differences between Bing and Google, especially in relation to their PPC options and ranking systems, if you want to take full advantage of this. Continue reading to find out more.
A website named Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web was developed in the early 1990s, as home users began to utilise the Internet. Jerry Yang and David Filo, two Stanford grads, created this website, which later became Yahoo in April 1994. Originally Yahoo was not a searchable index of pages, but rather a database of websites arranged according to a hierarchical structure, as the graphic below illustrates.
The next significant development in search engine history occurred in 1998 with the founding of Google by two Stanford PhD students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Initially, it was a research project called BackRub, named after the rating system it used to assess the relative authority of hyperlinks on websites. This is what set Google apart from its rivals and keeps it that way today.
As a fascinating side note, the origins of Google’s name and the decision that led to them are essential to the company’s history. The term “Googol,” which is the same as ten increased to the power of 100 (10100), is the source of the name Google. At the time, Page and Brin tried to register the domain Googol.com, but when they discovered it was taken, they changed the name to Google.
In contrast, Microsoft’s Bing has a far more recent past. Bing was created as a result of the merger and rebranding of Windows Live Search and MSN Search in July 2009. The first significant update was released by Microsoft in August 2011 along with “Tiger,” a new index-serving engine. Then, in 2015, Bing underwent a total redesign. Updates that improved local search and punished keyword stuffing came next. More recently, “Bing” changed its name to “Microsoft Bing” in October 2020, along with new colours and a new logo.
Google’s algorithm changes are well-documented; they began with two infrequent changes in 2000 and 2002 and have since increased in frequency. Hundreds of search algorithm modifications are made annually in the current environment, ranging from small tweaks to extensive core algorithm changes that cause a stir on search engine results pages (SERPs). In contrast, the SEO industry hardly ever discusses changes to the Bing algorithm.
Even with Google’s continued dominance in the worldwide search market in 2022, Microsoft has made some small but noticeable progress recently. Although it has decreased from 89.95% during the last three years, Google still holds an 83.84% share of the global market; in the same period, Bing’s share has increased from 3.99% to 8.88%.
Presently, Bing and Google hold a combined market share of around 93% for search engines worldwide. Next in line at 2.55% are Yahoo, Yandex, and Baidu, which are, respectively, the most popular search engines in China and Russia. The majority of searches worldwide are conducted through these five search engines, while there are many other smaller competitors, such as Ecosia, DuckDuckGo, and Brave Search.
The fierce rivalry amongst the major search engine firms is both good and essential. Points of difference have arisen between Bing and Google mostly because of their fierce competition, which is motivated by the desire to set themselves apart and so gain market share.
Some would contend that Bing and Google don’t seem to be all that different when taken at face value. It is true that both search engines provide sponsored advertising and adhere to the same general ranking guidelines, which take into account the technical health, backlink profile, and other factors of websites. However, the organic results we see when using the same query in both of these search engines varies significantly. Part of the goal of the following section is to investigate why this is the case.
When we compare Bing and Google results, we can clearly observe that there are considerable discrepancies in the weighting assigned to specific ranking variables, even though the SEO ranking factors examined by Google and Bing share many similarities.
Both Bing and Google’s ranking algorithms take into consideration a wide range of technical variables, such as site performance and mobile friendliness. Although the reasons that each of these search engines considers significant vary, you can achieve positive results for your website by investing in on-page technical SEO and improving your site’s backend structure.
It’s considered excellent housekeeping in SEO to utilise 301 redirects rather than 302 temporary redirects when creating permanent redirects. Google indexing problems can occasionally result from the use of 302 redirects; however, Bing’s system interprets a 302 redirect as a 301 automatically once it has been crawled a few times. Therefore, it is unlikely that 302 redirection will result in any issues with Bing. However, when a permanent redirect is needed, it’s crucial to avoid using 302 redirects in order to make sure your website is optimised for both Google and Bing.
Google introduced Core Web Vitals, a new ranking factor for 2021, as a collection of elements that “makes the web more delightful for users across all web browsers and surfaces, and helps sites evolve towards user expectations on mobile.” With an emphasis on page stability, speed, and responsiveness, websites must provide a high level of user experience in order to benefit from this new addition to the ranking algorithm.
This includes technological elements, like slow page loads or obtrusive pop-ups, that affect how well a user experiences or enjoys a website.
Many of the distinctions between Bing and Google’s ranking algorithms can be found at the nexus of technical and content SEO. For instance, the two search engines approach metadata and other on-page signals very differently, which is mostly because of the methods in which they try to comprehend websites on the internet.
Google, on the other hand, is less concerned with these elements because of its superior interpretation of language in context (especially since the release of the RankBrain and BERT updates). Bing, on the other hand, depends more heavily on traditional methods to understand content, such as keywords in the domain, page titles, and metadata. As a result, optimising for Google is more challenging for SEOs than for Bing.
Specifically, Bing gives meta descriptions a lot more weight than Google does when evaluating a page. While these succinct summaries of a page’s content are merely meant to explain pages and entice users to click through in the Google SERPs, they actively influence Bing’s ranking system. In a similar vein, Bing emphasises the importance of target term presence in anchor text more than Google does.
Because none of the factors covered here are exclusive to Bing or Google, and because both search engines are unlikely to punish websites that are also optimised for the other, your SEO strategy should take these search engines’ ranking algorithms into consideration. Although it’s crucial to write for humans and avoid over-optimization due to Google’s sophisticated language understanding, you can utilise keywords in your URLS, titles, and metadata without resorting to keyword stuffing. The secret is to find the ideal balance between the two, much like with material in general.
Bing favours well-known content that has amassed a significant quantity of traffic or has been online for a considerable amount of time. This bias is also seen in Bing’s preference for more official top-level domains like.gov or.edu, while Google places greater weight on PageRank and views commercial or well-known websites as equally significant in many cases. In light of this, one may contend that link-building and digital public relations efforts have a greater impact on Google rankings than Bing rankings.
As we’ve already mentioned, a PhD project named BackRub served as the inspiration for Google’s ranking system, which employed backlinks to calculate relative site authority. Backlink analysis is still the main technique used by search engines to rank websites. The more links pointing to your website, the more authoritative it is and the more it will stand out in the search results. Backlinks are still important, but not as important to Bing when it comes to ranking.
There are several notable similarities in the ways that Google and Bing handle links, even though Google SEO gives greater weight to backlinks. In both situations, authority is determined by the calibre and relevancy of backlinks as well as their quantity. Links from reputable websites that are pertinent to the recipient website transfer more link equity than links from less reputable websites.
Gary Illyes of Google was questioned in 2016 about whether social signals—such as Facebook interactions between consumers and brands—are taken into account by the search engine when determining rankings. “No, we don’t,” was his succinct response. But Bing is far more interested in social media interaction, which is evident in the way it uses social signals as a ranking criterion. More likes, shares, and retweets increase a page’s likelihood of ranking highly on Bing (but this is not a primary ranking element). Your digital marketing plan should already include some sort of social media promotion, but Bing offers you an extra incentive in the form of ranking increases for excellent social media performance.
When considered collectively, the answers from Google and Bing offer several insightful conclusions regarding rich media and SEO:
Second, Bing’s general recommendation should apply to both Google and Bing SEO in this case: “consider implementing a down-level experience which includes the same content elements and links as your rich version does to avoid any potential issues.”
The material that would be displayed on the website without all of the rich media is referred to as the “down-level experience” in this context (i.e. how some crawlers would see the page). Make sure all of the vital material is visible to crawlers by using the SEO Browser tool to examine how your site looks to them.
The consequences of Google’s mobile-first indexing approach will be familiar to most SEOs. To put it briefly, Google uses a website’s mobile version for indexing and ranking, thus it’s critical that all mobile content and metadata be completely optimised and consistent with the desktop version. (In actuality, responsive design makes it ideal to forgo having distinct mobile and desktop websites entirely.)
A prior announcement said that all websites would implement mobile-first indexing by the end of 2020; however, this date has since been pushed back to March 2021. For additional details, see our guidance on mobile-first indexing. Any websites that still utilise a mobile version should optimise it properly and try to enhance the mobile user experience (UX).
Bing’s policy for content indexing differs greatly from Google’s. In spite of this, you should still use Google’s mobile-first indexing policy to direct your SEO and UX efforts (as detailed in our mobile-first indexing guide) as doing so will not negatively impact your performance with Bing. Christi Olson of Bing has confirmed that Bing has no plans to implement any equivalent mobile-first indexing policy, saying that “we maintain a single index that is optimised for both mobile and desktop to ensure our users continue to receive the most relevant, fresh, and consistent results no matter where they are.”
We’ve discussed a number of ways that Bing’s ranking algorithm differs from Google’s. Beyond just the algorithms that the two search engines employ, there are a tonne of other distinctions between them. Specifically, there are differences between Bing and Google with regard to sponsored advertising, maps, voice search, local search, and SERP features.
This comparison chart summarises the primary differences between Bing and Google, which are then discussed in more detail in the sections that follow.
Citing research suggesting that highlighted snippets and people also ask (PAA) boxes in Google’s SERPs reduce click-through rates (CTRs) for all sites on the first page, several SEOs protest against the overabundance of these features. In fact, this opinion has gained popularity ever since Google deleted featured snippets from websites that had them from the organic listings beneath them. In the e-commerce industry, in particular, some sites are choosing not to have featured snippets in preference of a listing that uses the max-snippet or no-snippet meta tags.
Some in the digital marketing world are more than willing to compete for SERP real estate by working to get featured snippets and similar recognition. Granted, in many cases users will choose to click through for more information; therefore, obtaining featured snippets for long-tail keywords can enable sites to target users with niche questions and drive increases in relevant traffic. Still, it is true that in situations where a satisfactory answer is supplied within the snippet itself, featured snippets can reduce CTRs.
The excerpt that is currently highlighted for the keyword “ppc management agencies”
Bing Offers A Richer Visual Experience
Microsoft Bing stated that their goal is to provide “search results that seamlessly combine information with visually rich imagery in a single beautiful view” and announced several changes to its search functions in March 2021. Similar to Google, users may no longer have to leave the SERPs in order to get the answer to their inquiry, which will be especially appreciated by those who prefer not to read lengthy passages of text in order to locate the information they need.
An infographic related to the term “tiger” appeared in Bing.
An informative search for “tiger” in the example above displays an infographic-style search function. The content is easily readable and presents accurate, concise information in an aesthetically beautiful manner. It’s important to note that every information in the infographic comes from and links to a distinct source website, providing search engines with a new element to target with SEO. The websites that are part of the infographic search function are still displayed normally in the SERP, in contrast to Google.
Additional search options including extended carousel search and user-friendly information highlighting lessen the necessity for a user to leave the results page. When a user hovers over an image inside a carousel, expanded carousel search expands to provide information in bite-sized chunks. Complete recipes and “how to” information may be easily extracted from websites and added to the results page in a side panel with easy information highlighting.
Overall, this means that the customer may obtain crucial information straight from Microsoft Bing through visually appealing design, saving them the trouble of having to visit a website and wade through copious quantities of text. Bing is far more visually engaging than Google in that regard.
When it comes to responding to local search inquiries like “restaurants near me,” Bing handles things differently than Google. For the same localised terms, it presents a whole other set of results.
Both search engines show a local area map with pins representing the locations of establishments and locations related to the query. But by default, Google tends to focus on the user’s local surroundings, whereas Bing offers a more expansive perspective of the surrounding area.
Examine and contrast the following two search engine results (SERPs), one from Bing and the other from Google, for “restaurants near me”:
Results from Google for “restaurants near me” featuring a closer-up map
The top pages that Bing and Google display for local searches follow the same hyper-local vs. local pattern: Bing displays the most relevant listing from a larger radius, whereas Google often displays top listings that are quite close to the user. In the aforementioned example, Google’s top restaurant is located closer to the user’s actual location than Bing’s. This is hardly surprising, as Google changed its local search ranking algorithm in 2019 to give user proximity priority.
In March 2021, Bing declared that they would be updating their local search results to show combined data from multiple sources. Put another way, for a local search, Bing now displays Bing Maps, photos, reviews, and other features in addition to a text or image carousel to provide as much information as possible about the location. This move, which was first seen in the US, was an indication of Bing’s ongoing efforts to offer more of an overview than Google currently does, along with design-focused informational searches.
According to recent polls, 62% of Millennials and Gen Z desire visual search capabilities. The need for picture search is always increasing due to the development of AI and machine learning, but Google or Bing is now winning the race.
Bing provides customers with better quality photographs with more comprehensive information than Google, but Google gives a larger collection of images and an Advanced Search feature for useful filtering.
In addition, Bing provides visual search features directly from the search engine, enabling users to perform a variety of immersive tasks (also known as specialist skills), like looking up similar photos online, exploring landmarks, identifying celebrities, and shopping for furniture or clothes. When it comes to showing details like price next to the photos, the search engine excels.
Bing Visual Search also gives developers the ability to instruct Bing on what actions, such directing users to a product page for a sale, should be presented to a user straight from the image. This, along with better-quality photos and more thorough information, suggests that Bing may presently outperform Google when it comes to image search capabilities.
But because to its Multitask Unified Model (MUM), which powers an ever-improving image search service, Google is closing the gap on its primary opponent.
48% of customers use voice search for “general web searches,” and 39% utilise virtual personal assistants (VPAs) through smart speaker devices, according to data from an Adobe poll. It’s obvious that voice search offers SEOs and digital marketers in general a tonne of opportunities, but what are the main distinctions between Bing and Google’s features?
It has been proposed by earlier analysts that voice search users can derive various benefits from the two search engines. Clark Boyd, in a piece for Search Engine Watch, argues that while Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, is better at recognising speech, it is less accurate at recognising context than Google Assistant. The notion about context comprehension makes sense when we look at recent innovations from Google, including MUM and its predecessor BERT.
As was already noted, a physical smart speaker device like an Amazon Echo is used for many voice queries. We might wish to know which of the two major search engines’ results are more frequently utilised to answer inquiries, as an additional point of comparison, given that these devices are among the principal means by which voice searches are conducted.
The percentage of VPA searches for smart speakers that Bing answers as opposed to Google is not publicly available. But only the Google Assistant offers responses from Google; the other three VPAs—Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa—use Bing for this function. Therefore, we can presume that most users of smart speakers are getting their responses from Bing instead of Google.
The procedure for making your website voice search-friendly is the same, regardless of where consumers get the results. Thankfully for search engine optimisers, this means that using the same optimisation strategies can help guarantee that your content appears in voice search results powered by Google and Bing. For additional details on how to optimise your website for voice search, see our dedicated guide.
Google tends to attract more attention from book enthusiasts and university students than Bing because of its helpful research tools, such as Scholarly Articles and Google Books. They function similarly to Google Images, with distinct tabs inside the user interface that users may go to find books or scholarly articles on a particular subject.
These features have a plethora of beneficial uses. Scholarly Articles can assist students focus their search for that one crucial reference to bolster their argument without requiring them to read through many volumes in a physical library. Additionally, with many titles having previews accessible, Google Books can assist you in trying before you buy a new book by your favourite author.
Google has invented two more useful features: Flights and Finance. Like Skyscanner, Google Flights does exactly what it says on the tin: users can search and book flights through third-party operators from a single website. You can also select flights based on how much of an impact they have on the environment, such as carbon emissions. While Bing has produced a Flights version of its own, Google Finance is still distinct. With this interface, you may read a selection of pertinent news pieces combined with market trends and current share values without ever leaving Google.
Now that we have compared the two search engine behemoths from the standpoint of organic search, we have covered the great majority of their distinctions. The only thing left to do in this comparison of Bing and Google is to look at the differences between the two search engines’ paid advertising offerings, which are Microsoft Advertising (previously Bing Ads) and Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords).
Compared to Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising is a far more recent paid ad service, having started as MSN adCenter in 2006. Before before, Yahoo and Overture provided all of the PPC advertising on MSN Search. Compared to the other big search engine providers, Microsoft was undoubtedly a latecomer to the party, but it didn’t take long for them to understand there was a growing market to pursue.
Google Adwords was at the height of its popularity and had been operational for six years when MSN adCenter launched, giving the new competitor an early advantage. Initially, its business model was different from what is offered now: Google would create and oversee ads for companies using a subscription-based model. With the introduction of the Adwords self-service portal in 2005—which served as the model for the current Google Ads service—all of this was altered.
What many businesses want to know when they first start using PPC advertising is which platform offers the widest audience. It should come as no surprise that Google Ads allows websites to reach a significantly higher volume of users than Microsoft Advertising, considering Google’s early dominance in the search business.
Nevertheless, Microsoft has attempted to reduce Google’s market share for sponsored searches by a number of calculated strategic actions over the years:
After Facebook started accepting ads in 2006, Microsoft partnered with the social network to run ads from its adCenter on the platform (though Facebook replaced this by developing its own ad service the following year).
In 2010, Microsoft and Yahoo teamed to launch Bing. The collaboration made it possible for Yahoo to syndicate Bing advertisements. Currently, Microsoft Advertising is the only provider of advertising on the networks of Yahoo and AOL.
Microsoft may try its hardest, but Google Ads continues to rule PPC. However, this position also brings intense competition among companies for Google’s SERP real estate, which may turn off smaller businesses and those just entering the paid search field. It is significantly harder to get into the top paid spots on Google than it is on Bing; you need to pay a lot of money and have high-quality scores.
This takes us to yet another important distinction between Microsoft Advertising and Google Ads: price. When comparing Microsoft Advertising to its competition in paid search, the cost per click (CPC) on individual terms is typically lower, which has an overall impact on the cost of campaigns. (Remember that this isn’t always the case in certain industries.) whereas expenses are often lower with Microsoft, there is a trade-off between cost and audience volume; whereas Google Ads may have greater expenditures, you’ll reach a far larger audience.
Moreover, Bing’s audience is not the same as Google’s. Working with the UK’s second-favorite search engine can be quite advantageous for companies that explicitly target older, more educated consumers who tend to utilise rival search engines rather than Google’s average user base. You can guarantee even coverage by distributing your paid search advertising across both channels, even for firms that have opted for a mass-market targeting approach.
Regarding this, the targeting choices provided by the two paid ad services differ as well. Both technologies increase the effectiveness of ad expenditure by allowing sites to target particular user segments based on attributes like demographics. Microsoft Advertising has a number of targeting possibilities as well, but is typically regarded as less sophisticated than its primary rival in this regard. Google Ads offers a wide range of targeting options, from retargeting to dynamic search ads. Although Similar Audiences targeting is still limited to the US market, Bing announced in 2021 that it would be expanding the Microsoft Audience Network.
However, you can now leverage information from users’ LinkedIn profiles to construct target segments in Microsoft Advertising thanks to a recent enhancement to the targeting feature. Certain businesses that wish to target consumers in particular industries—recruitment firms, for instance—may find this information to be quite helpful. It can also be utilised as a technique to target employees of specific companies with advertisements at a more detailed level. Only LinkedIn Ads and Microsoft Advertising offer the LinkedIn targeting feature.
We would advise using both PPC platforms as part of an integrated digital marketing plan for firms that are having trouble deciding which one to use. Since each search engine has distinct advantages, disadvantages, and user bases, websites frequently see the best overall results when they combine the two and serve their ads to both sets of users.
To put it briefly, each search engine has a special benefit. Google continues to lead the industry in terms of search functionality and indexing strategy, but Microsoft Bing has significantly enhanced its offering to set itself apart from rivals and is moving in the direction of a more visually engaging search experience.
We began by discussing the two companies’ histories and their intense competition before moving on to discuss the key distinctions between their organic ranking systems. Several practical suggestions for optimising websites for both Google and Bing were presented in this section, including:
Beyond ranking parameters, this site has also compared Bing vs Google by examining SERP features, local search, map functionality, and voice search. There are several key lessons to be learned from this section:
This guide’s third section examined the paid advertising offerings of Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising, the two search engines. This section serves as a helpful reminder that Google’s product, known as Google AdWords, was introduced six years before Bings. Another important thing to remember is that, despite Microsoft’s repeated attempts over the years to gain a piece of the PPC industry, Google continues to be the dominating player in this space.
Lastly, we weighed the advantages and disadvantages of Google Ads versus Microsoft Advertising. The former is more costly, has a wider audience, and has more sophisticated targeting capabilities, but we still recommend that companies use an integrated PPC strategy that integrates both platforms. By doing this, your campaigns will take advantage of the special qualities of both platforms and ultimately reach a far larger audience.
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