Although the three major search engines seem to share quite a few similarities in terms of how they present search results, their ranking algorithms and mechanisms can be quite different in terms of optimization.
When it comes to formulating SEO strategies for the Google, Yahoo and Bing search engines, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Even though Microsoft provides the search engine infrastructure for both Bing and Yahoo, the latter adds some unique details to keep SEO practitioners on their toes.
There are two major ranking factors shared by all three search engines:
1 – Inbound links from relevant and authoritative pages: This happens to be one of the most difficult and laborious aspects of SEO because webmasters tend to be very careful about the outbound links they include on the sites they manage. Let’s say a small town newspaper publishes an article celebrating International Jazz Day and the UNESCO decides to include that link on its list of medical releases for that day. For any news publication, having an inbound link from a United Nations agency press page is gold because you can’t get any more authoritative than the UN.
2 – Quality content: Social media rules these days, and this means that internet users who come across content they enjoy are very likely to share it with their social circles on the networks they are most active in. The three major search engines pay close attention to these social media signals; thereby, a web page that posts a popular article or a viral video will certainly enjoy the SEO benefits of producing engaging content, and this goes for Google, Yahoo and Bing alike.
With the above in mind, here are some SEO tips that are unique to each search engine:
Although Microsoft, like Google, likes to keep its search engine algorithm a secret, SEO specialists who have been following Bing over the last few years have noticed the following signals:
* Bing tends to give greater relevance to keywords that are placed within the page URL. This used to be a prominent signal used by Google, but it has been somewhat discontinued by the search engine giant. This signal creates an advantage for users of content management systems such as WordPress, which tend to construct URLs based on the title of the content being produced. To this effect, a travel agency that wants to rank high for trips to Costa Rica should include related terms in its URL.
* Bing is heavy on geolocation and language settings. To this effect, a website that follows Brazilian soccer and caters to United States audiences will benefit from articles published in English and Portuguese. To get a nice SEO boost, the website could also seek mirror hosting in Brazil.
As explained above, most of the Bing SEO signals will apply to Yahoo; however, here are two unique aspects:
* Seasoning: Yahoo tends to rank older websites higher, and the search engine seems to prefer domain registration made for more than one year at a time.
* Yahoo Site Explorer: This SEO tool is different from the other two, and it really pays to understand how it works in terms of ranking. Understanding this tool is crucial in relation to the number of pages that are crawled and indexed.
The Google search engine algorithm is in a constant state of flux. As of 2017, two of the most prominent SEO signals include:
* Mobile-friendly sites: Google is on a mission to reward webmasters who have applied responsive design element to their sites. Google is also rewarding sites that follow its Accelerated Mobile Pages strategy.
* Fresh, real-time news content: Websites that meet the criteria of the Google News Publisher Center tool are rewarded with the possibility of their content being highlighted at the top of the search engine results page as long as they keep publishing in response to timely events.