If you are told about search engines, the first name that comes to mind is probably “Google”. And for good reason: the platform enjoys insolent popularity in Western countries. This is why SEO professionals (like companies) tend to focus primarily on this tool. But it would be a shame to neglect Bing, which comes second in terms of number of users. Indeed, a combined SEO strategy maximizes visibility and reaches larger audiences . However, if the two engines are quite similar in their value proposition, they nevertheless offer some notable differences in terms of SEO. This is why it seems important to us to proposea Google VS Bing comparison in terms of SEO , in order to fully understand what sets these tools apart.
Google and Bing: origins and popularity
Let’s start with a bit of history. Google was created in 1998, resulting from a research project called BackRub: a methodology for indexing and positioning web results based on the notion of authority, itself determined from external links. A philosophy that still constitutes Google’s DNA, due to the importance given to backlinks in its ranking criteria.
Bing was created in 2006 by Microsoft for the express purpose of competing with Google. First known as Windows Live Search, the engine changed its identity in 2009 to Bing.
Despite the ambition displayed, Microsoft has never managed to catch up with its direct competitor, even if its number of users increases over time. In September 2021, Google had an 86.6% market share and Bing 6.8% globally ( Statista ). However, this gap varies from country to country. For example, in China and Russia, Google is lagging far behind the local engines, Baidu and Yandex respectively ( source ). In the USA, we note that a quarter of global requests are formulated on Microsoft applications, with an advantage given to web pages indexed on Bing ( Statista ).
It is therefore interesting to vary your strategy according to the target countries – even if Google remains predominant everywhere.
Google VS Bing: SEO commonalities and differences
To newbies, the differences between Google and Bing may seem tiny. The two tools display an almost similar interface , which values ease of use and seeks to provide as much useful information as possible (organic links, related searches, images, news, etc.). Both offer similar complementary services, such as an advertising network (Google Ads VS Bing Ads), a mailbox (Gmail VS Outlook), a browser (Chrome VS Edge – the latter being doomed to disappear in 2022), a geolocation (Maps VS Maps), etc.
If the two search engines embed distinct functionalities (like Books or Scholar on Google’s side) and dominate their competitor on certain points (Bing’s video search interface is significantly better), Google and Bing remain quite similar and, for this reason, can even be confused.
It is in terms of SEO that the differences emerge. And it is these differences that particularly interest us.
Google VS Bing: crawling and indexing
Google’s index lists hundreds of billions of pages, for an overall size of over 100 million gigabytes (source: Google ). Bing doesn’t share any numbers on this, but its index is estimated to contain around 8-14 million pages.
In terms of crawl , the operation of the two tools is similar. They each employ an algorithm that determines which sites to visit, when, and which pages to favor – trying to strike a balance between crawl frequency and the number of pages to index. The idea is to minimize the impact of the crawl and avoid server clutter, while ensuring the freshness of the content submitted to Internet users.
Bing’s crawl is, however, shallower than that of Google. It takes smaller portions of the pages into account and, in terms of structure, focuses on the top level pages. Conversely, Google goes more in-depth, which gives an advantage to dense semantic cocoons.
Google VS Bing: how algorithms work
Google and Bing employ different algorithms, but which have the same objective: to offer Internet users the most relevant results for a given query. However, there are three major differences:
- The Google algorithm is updated regularly, while that Bing is more stable over time . This is an essential difference, insofar as each update is likely to affect the positioning of the pages, forcing webmasters to make the appropriate changes. On Bing, sites therefore suffer less from changes in the algorithm. In return, the results offered to Internet users are also less “fresh”.
- Google’s guidelines are well-informed, while Bing’s are more opaque . Microsoft’s engine updates are also less discussed by the SEO community.
- Bing has a notable preference for established content : it emphasizes generic and traditional domain names, such as .gouv, .com, .fr. In this sense, it is an engine that could be described as “conservative”. On the contrary, Google treats institutional and commercial sites the same.
Google VS Bing: on-page SEO factors
Bing focuses on on-page optimization , and pays special attention to keywords and metadata. For example, the meta description plays an active role in natural referencing, whereas Google mainly makes it an information tool for Internet users. In addition, Bing values link anchors and their exact match with the titles of the targeted pages – a criterion that is of little importance to Google.
Conversely, Google is primarily interested in how content responds to the intentions behind the queries , by virtue of a deep natural language analysis (as shown in the Google Bert update ). In essence, you could say that Google is trying to understand queries, while Bing mostly relies on keywords to rank pages.
For both search engines, however, the quality of the content is critical. Pages are rated on their ability to meet users’ information needs.
Google VS Bing: off-page SEO factors
Google’s SEO vision is dominated by three pillars: expertise, authority and trust . This is why one of the main natural referencing factors remains, on Google, the quality of inbound links , which is decisive in calculating the trust score. Bing does not attach such importance to links.
Another major difference: unlike Google, Bing incorporates social signals into its algorithm . In fact, social presence plays a role in the positioning of a website. For example, a user who performs a search can see if one of his contacts (on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter…) mentioned in his publications the brand or the product which is the subject of the request.
Google VS Bing: technology and mobile compatibility
For Bing, as for Google, the speed and quality of the technical infrastructure are decisive . But the two engines differ on one point: the importance attributed to mobile compatibility .
While Google prioritizes the mobile version of a website when indexing (by virtue of its Mobile-First Index ), Bing shows no intention of following the same path: Microsoft maintains a single index optimized to for both desktop and mobile versions of web pages.
So, for which search engine should you optimize your pages: Google or Bing? The answer is simple: for both! This is the best way to optimize the visibility of your website and reach as many users as possible on the queries that interest you. Especially since it is relatively easy to set up an SEO strategy combining the two engines . In essence, if you work on content quality, web page structuring, metadata filling, netlinking, and mobile compatibility at the same time, you are likely to get good results on both platforms simultaneously. !