Bing, Yahoo and Google SEO in 2023: Why You Can‘t Afford to Ignore It

As an SEO expert, I often hear from clients that they want to focus all their efforts on ranking in Google. It‘s a logical impulse—after all, Google dominates the global search landscape, accounting for over 90% of the market share across desktop and mobile. However, ignoring the "other" search engines is a mistake that could cost your business valuable traffic and revenue.

Bing and Yahoo may play second fiddle to Google, but they still represent a significant portion of the search pie. Bing now powers over 12 billion monthly searches worldwide and has steadily increased its U.S. market share to 7.3% as of January 2023. When you consider that the Bing network also includes Yahoo search, that number jumps to over 10%.

In other words, optimizing your site only for Google means you‘re missing out on a potential 10-12% of your organic search traffic. For a site earning 100,000 monthly visitors from Google, that translates to an additional 10,000-12,000 visitors per month—no small potatoes.

But the Bing/Yahoo opportunity goes beyond sheer numbers. In my experience, traffic from these alternative engines often converts at a higher rate, as the competition is lower and the audience demographics skew older and more affluent. By neglecting Bing and Yahoo, you‘re not just leaving traffic on the table—you‘re leaving money on the table.

The State of Search in 2023

Before we dive into the specifics of optimizing for each search platform, let‘s set the stage with a look at the current search engine landscape:

Search Engine Global Market Share U.S. Market Share
Google 92.1% 87.8%
Bing 3.2% 7.3%
Yahoo 1.5% 3.1%
DuckDuckGo 0.6% 1.3%
Baidu 1.1%

Data Source: StatCounter, January 2023

As you can see, Google still reigns supreme globally and in the U.S., but Bing and Yahoo have carved out a small but substantial foothold, especially in the U.S. market. DuckDuckGo, a privacy-focused search engine, has also gained some traction, while Baidu remains the dominant player in China.

It‘s also worth noting that mobile search has overtaken desktop as the primary search device. As of Q4 2022, 63% of all searches were performed on mobile devices, with Google capturing 95% of that mobile search volume.

SEO Best Practices for All Search Engines

Despite the differences between Google, Bing, and Yahoo (which we‘ll explore in a moment), the core principles of good SEO remain largely the same across all platforms:

  1. Create high-quality, user-focused content that provides real value to searchers. This means writing in-depth, well-researched articles that comprehensively answer user queries and incorporate relevant keywords naturally.

  2. Build a diverse, high-quality backlink profile from authoritative sites in your niche. While the quantity of links still matters, the emphasis has shifted towards quality and relevance.

  3. Optimize your on-page elements, including titles, headings, and image alt text, to help search engines understand and rank your content. However, avoid old-school tactics like keyword stuffing, which can actually hurt your rankings.

  4. Prioritize site speed and mobile-friendliness, as both are now key ranking factors in Google and Bing. Aim for sub 3-second load times and ensure your site displays properly on all devices.

  5. Claim and optimize your local listings on Google My Business, Bing Places, and Yahoo Local to improve your visibility in local search results and maps.

By following these fundamental best practices, you‘ll lay a solid foundation for ranking well across all search engines. However, there are some notable differences in how each platform evaluates and prioritizes certain factors.

How Google‘s Algorithm Has Evolved

Google‘s search algorithm has come a long way from its early days of relying solely on keywords and inbound links. Today, Google uses a complex system of AI and machine learning to understand searcher intent and evaluate content quality.

Some of the key components of Google‘s modern algorithm include:

  • RankBrain: Launched in 2015, RankBrain is a machine learning system that helps Google interpret complex or ambiguous queries and serve the most relevant results. It looks at factors like click-through rates and time on page to determine which results best satisfy user intent.

  • BERT: Short for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, BERT is a deep learning algorithm that enables Google to understand the context and nuance of words in a query. Introduced in 2019, BERT helps Google better handle natural language queries and long-tail keywords.

  • MUM: Announced in 2021, Multitask Unified Model (MUM) is an AI system that can understand and generate language, as well as process images and videos. Google has described MUM as "1,000 times more powerful" than BERT, with the potential to transform how Google answers complex queries.

These AI-powered updates have made Google‘s algorithm more sophisticated than ever, with a strong emphasis on delivering the most relevant, high-quality results for each unique query. As Google continues to evolve, SEO success is less about "optimizing for search engines" and more about creating genuinely valuable content that solves searcher needs.

How Bing and Yahoo Approach SEO

While Bing has adopted some of Google‘s more advanced ranking techniques, like using BERT for natural language processing, the Microsoft search engine still relies more heavily on traditional SEO signals compared to its rival.

Some key differences in how Bing (and by extension, Yahoo) rank content include:

  • Exact match keyword usage: Bing appears to give more weight to pages that use exact match phrases in their titles, headings, and body content. For example, a page optimized for "best running shoes" may rank higher than a semantically relevant page that uses the phrase "top sneakers for runners".

  • Domain age and authority: Bing tends to favor older, established domains over newer sites, as well as domains with a higher number of inbound links from high-authority sources like .edu and .gov sites.

  • On-page optimization: While Google has devalued certain on-page factors like meta keywords, Bing still takes them into account. Bing also places more emphasis on HTML header tags (H1, H2, etc.) and anchor text in internal links.

  • Social signals: Bing has explicitly stated that social signals like Facebook shares and Twitter followers impact rankings, as they indicate real-world popularity and influence. While Google has downplayed the importance of social signals, they appear to carry more weight in the Bing algorithm.

  • Multimedia content: Bing tends to favor pages that contain multimedia elements like images and videos, as long as they are properly optimized with descriptive file names and alt tags. Pages with relevant multimedia may have an edge over text-only pages in Bing search results.

To be clear, none of these factors are unimportant to Google—they just seem to be weighted more heavily in Bing‘s ranking calculations. By understanding these nuances, you can fine-tune your SEO strategy to perform well in both search engines without sacrificing your Google rankings.

The Mobile SEO Imperative

I can‘t overstate the importance of mobile SEO in today‘s search landscape. With over 60% of searches now occurring on mobile devices, having a fast, mobile-friendly site is non-negotiable—not just for ranking well, but for providing a positive user experience.

Google has been at the forefront of mobile-first indexing, meaning they predominantly use the mobile version of your site for indexing and ranking. As of July 2019, mobile-first indexing became the default for all new websites, with older sites gradually being moved over as well.

Bing has also made mobile-friendliness a key priority in recent years. In 2015, Bing announced that mobile friendliness would be a ranking factor and began displaying "mobile-friendly" labels in mobile search results. As of 2020, Bing has started moving certain domains to mobile-first indexing, although they haven‘t yet made it the default.

To optimize your site for mobile search:

  • Implement a responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes
  • Compress images and minify code to speed up load times
  • Avoid intrusive interstitials and pop-ups that disrupt the mobile experience
  • Make sure buttons and links are large enough to tap easily on a touch screen
  • Consider using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to create lightning-fast mobile content

By prioritizing mobile SEO, you‘ll not only improve your rankings in Google and Bing, but also provide a better experience for the growing majority of users who rely on their smartphones to search and browse the web.

8 Tips for Boosting Your Bing and Yahoo Rankings

Now that we‘ve covered the key similarities and differences between Google, Bing, and Yahoo, let‘s dive into some specific tactics you can use to improve your visibility on the latter two search engines:

  1. Submit your sitemap to Bing Webmaster Tools to ensure all your important pages are indexed. Bing‘s crawlers are less frequent and comprehensive than Google‘s, so a manual sitemap submission can help speed up discovery and indexing.

  2. Use exact match keywords in your page titles and content where appropriate. While you don‘t want to stuff your pages with keywords, using precise phrases can help you rank higher in Bing and Yahoo for those specific terms.

  3. Optimize your click-through rates (CTR) from search results. Bing has indicated that they use click data as a ranking signal, so higher CTRs can lead to better rankings over time. Write compelling title tags and meta descriptions to entice more searchers to click on your links.

  4. Build high-quality inbound links from authoritative sources, especially .edu and .gov domains. Focus on earning editorial links from relevant sites in your industry through tactics like guest blogging, broken link building, and digital PR.

  5. Leverage social media marketing to drive engagement signals. Share your content on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to earn likes, shares, and comments, which can positively impact your Bing rankings.

  6. Optimize your local business listings on Bing Places and Yahoo Local. Make sure your name, address, and phone number (NAP) are accurate and consistent across all listings, and include relevant categories, photos, and customer reviews.

  7. Use schema markup to provide additional context about your content. While both Google and Bing use schema, Bing relies more heavily on markup for understanding page content and displaying rich snippets. Use vocabulary to annotate your content and make it more easily digestible for search engines.

  8. Monitor your site‘s performance in Bing Webmaster Tools. Like Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools provides valuable insights into your site‘s search performance, including keyword rankings, click-through rates, and crawl errors. Use this data to identify opportunities for improvement and track your progress over time.

By implementing these Bing and Yahoo-specific optimizations alongside general SEO best practices, you can create a well-rounded strategy that improves your visibility across all three major search engines.

The Business Case for a Diversified SEO Strategy

At this point, you may be thinking: "This all sounds great, but is it really worth the extra effort to optimize for Bing and Yahoo when Google is still the clear market leader?"

As an SEO consultant, my answer is a resounding yes—for several important reasons:

  1. Incremental traffic and revenue: Even a small increase in rankings on Bing and Yahoo can translate into meaningful incremental traffic and revenue for your business. For example, let‘s say your site currently earns 50,000 monthly visitors from Google and 5,000 from Bing/Yahoo. If you could increase your Bing/Yahoo traffic by just 20% through targeted optimizations, that‘s an extra 1,000 visitors per month—which could equate to thousands of dollars in additional sales or leads.

  2. Lower competition: Because the vast majority of websites are laser-focused on Google, the competition for rankings on Bing and Yahoo is often significantly lower. This means you may be able to achieve higher rankings and click-through rates on these alternative engines with less effort and investment compared to Google.

  3. Unique demographic opportunities: While there is considerable overlap between Google and Bing/Yahoo users, there are some notable differences in demographics. For example, Bing users tend to skew slightly older and more affluent, with 34% over age 55 and 38% earning over $100,000 per year. If your target audience falls into these categories, Bing could be an especially valuable source of qualified traffic for your business.

  4. Protection against future algorithm changes: Putting all your eggs in the Google basket is a risky proposition. With each major algorithm update, countless sites see their rankings and traffic plummet overnight—sometimes with devastating consequences for their bottom line. By diversifying your SEO efforts across multiple search engines, you can mitigate the impact of any single algorithm change and maintain a more stable online presence over time.

Ultimately, the goal of SEO is to make your website as visible and accessible as possible to your target audience—wherever they happen to be searching. By optimizing for Google, Bing, and Yahoo in tandem, you can expand your reach, drive more qualified traffic, and future-proof your online marketing strategy for years to come.

Key Takeaways

If there‘s one thing I hope you‘ll remember from this deep dive into Bing, Yahoo, and Google SEO, it‘s this: search engine optimization is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor.

Yes, Google is the 800-pound gorilla of the search world, and optimizing for their algorithm should be a top priority for any website. But that doesn‘t mean you can afford to ignore the smaller but still significant slices of the search pie represented by Bing and Yahoo.

By understanding the unique ranking factors and user behaviors associated with each platform, you can develop a comprehensive SEO strategy that:

  • Maximizes your visibility and traffic potential across all three search engines
  • Leverages the lower competition and unique demographic opportunities of Bing and Yahoo
  • Protects your site against the volatility of Google‘s ever-changing algorithm

Of course, implementing a diversified SEO strategy requires time, effort, and expertise. But the payoff—in terms of incremental traffic, leads, and revenue—can be substantial.

As we‘ve seen, the key to success is finding the right balance between general best practices and platform-specific optimizations. Focus on creating high-quality, user-centric content that naturally incorporates relevant keywords and earns authoritative inbound links. At the same time, pay attention to the technical aspects of SEO like site speed, mobile-friendliness, and structured data markup.

Finally, don‘t forget about the importance of tracking and measuring your results across all three search engines. Use tools like Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools, and web analytics platforms to monitor your rankings, traffic, and engagement metrics over time. By continually testing, iterating, and refining your approach, you can stay ahead of the curve and maintain a strong organic presence no matter how the search landscape evolves.

The bottom line? Bing, Yahoo, and Google SEO are not mutually exclusive—they are essential complements to a holistic, future-proof search marketing strategy. By giving each platform the attention and optimization it deserves, you can unleash the full potential of organic search to drive more visibility, traffic, and revenue for your business in 2023 and beyond.