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What I Like About Bing

SEO marketers didn't need The Nielsen Company to tell them that Bing's share of the US search market was rising. It has been apparent, according to those in the trenches. Covario does an extensive study on a quarterly basis on paid search spending market share for customers, says Craig Macdonald, CMO and SVP for Product Management at the company. "We have seen market share for Bing increase markedly since its launch last June - where the MSN network has a market share of 2-3% in the US high tech paid search spending market, we are seeing overall Bing market share for spending go to between 10-12% since Q3'09 until now. Yahoo market share in the US is consistently around 12-14% - making the combined entity have a 25-30% market share, up from 15-17% a year ago."

When the market share of the engine was below 10% for most advertisers – optimizing for the engine was not a high priority, he says. However, as the Yahoo and Bing market shares combine, SEO experts are looking to determine what optimization concepts they need to engender in their programs in order to address particularities around the Bing algorithmic results. "It is worth the effort now - and with the transition to the Bing algorithm happening in the next 60 days - as this is becoming a huge issue for large advertisers."

Need more convincing? Consider the following about Bing: ·

It's lower cost.

Bing's increase in market share means additional exposure at a lower cost due to less advertiser saturation, says CEO Daniel Yomtobian.  "Advertisers not currently buying SEM from Bing should consider moving a portion of their budgets."

Re-allocation of the marketing budget is a smart move right now, agrees Fran Powell, SVP, Managing Director, Wahlstrom.  The competition is narrowing to a playing field of two dominant players, she says. "There is a real benefit to the local marketer, who can realize broader reach for their search engine campaign efforts, and greater performance." Wahlstrom just saw a dramatic increase in Bing campaign traffic coinciding with the Yahoo/Bing alliance and the beta test of displaying Bing ads on the Yahoo interface, she adds.

It is similar to Google.

Optimizing for Bing is very similar to optimizing for Google, says 451 Marketing's Search Engine Marketing Manager, Mary Smucker-Priest - the algorithm takes most of the same things into account. "One of the nice things Bing does is that it allows you to directly import your Google paid campaign into it."

From an SEO perspective, the results are quite similar and those results are driven by both search engines using a similar set of signals for ranking content, says David Saries, Leader, SEO & SEM for D&B. "So if you are following general SEO best practices for Google you will have Bing covered as well."

From an SEM perspective, becoming familiar with the MSN AdCenter system will become more important as MSN will be taking over many of the accounts through its partnership with Yahoo, he adds. Advertisers with less experience with AdCenter should be spending some time getting up-to-speed. "Both Google AdWords and MSN AdCenter have similar account structures with Account-Campaign-Adgroup-Ad entities, the process that used to load, manage and report on your paid search programs are slightly different in each system."

But Not In Every Way

Keywords that perform well on Google might not be the same ones that will perform well for you on Bing, notes Akin Arikan, director of product strategy and web analytics evangelist at Unica and author of Multichannel Marketing: Metrics and Methods for On and Offline Success.

That is primarily due to two reasons, he says:

One, the organic search results that compete with your PPC ad are still surprisingly different between Bing vs. Google.

Two, Bing offers a more interactive search experience through its choice of related search terms. "Therefore, it is more likely that users refine their searches before they settle on a listing that they click on. As a result it has been observed (anecdotally) that click-throughs from bing are lower in volume but are more targeted, i.e. have lower bounce rates and higher conversion rates."


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