For a lot of businesses, their tactics on Google will translate relatively well to Yahoo and Bing. It’s rare to see a site performing well in Google, but suffering in Yahoo and Bing, but it does happen. In those cases, it’s important to know what the differences are in the search engine algorithms, so you can focus on factors more significant to Yahoo and Bing.
While Yahoo and Bing aren’t identical in their search results, they are extremely similar due to Yahoo’s search engine being powered in large part by Bing. This means optimizing for Bing will likely get you up in Yahoo as well. Keep in mind, some of the tactics that work for Bing may hurt your Google ranks, and it’s rarely worth sacrificing Google results for Bing and Yahoo. Taking that into consideration, make sure you know the effects of these tactics on Google results before you implement them to optimize for search engines with smaller market share.
Meta Descriptions and Keywords
While Google announced years ago that they no longer count meta keywords and descriptions as ranking factors, Bing and Yahoo seem to sing a little bit of a different tune when it comes to these factors.
Duane Forrester, the off-and-on again Bing Webmaster Outreach guy, came out and bashed meta keywords as well, but in our own testing and experience, we get a boost to Yahoo and Bing when putting in meta information like this.
A client came to us with good Google ranks, but very poor Yahoo and Bing. This caused us to look deeply into specific optimization techniques for Bing and Yahoo. One of the first things we noticed was the lack of meta keywords and descriptions. Once we completed filling these out, we saw noticeable increases across the SERPs (except Google).
As a side note: it’s still important to optimize meta descriptions for Google, due to the impact they can have on click-through rates.
Another noticeable difference between Bing, Yahoo and Google, is that ratio of exact-match domains in the SERPs. Google has a much lower ratio than the other search engines. When digging into the domains that rank well and have exact-match domains, but don’t rank well in Google, the logical conclusion is that Yahoo and Bing use this as a more significant ranking factor when comparing their results to Bing. Again, longtime staples of online marketing like exact match domains continue to be a factor for Yahoo and Bing.
The following image is a screenshot of Bing’s SERP for “San Francisco Lawyers.”
This isn’t an extremely actionable discovery, but it’s good to know when competing on these SERPs. No SEO worth their salt is going to recommend transferring a domain to an EMD in order to rank better on Yahoo and Bing. It’s not worth what may happen to the site on Google, just understand this concept when doing competitive research on these search engines.
Basically, Older Factors in General
As we optimized specifically for Bing and Yahoo, I felt like I was optimizing for Google a few years ago. Tactics and tasks that were significant to me years ago, were now a factor again, just on different search engines. I don’t think it’s going too far to say that Yahoo and Bing are still technologically behind when it comes to Google algorithm, because of this, they’re playing catch up in some areas, meaning older tactics may be more effective on these smaller search engines.
For more information on optimizing for Bing and Yahoo, there’s an active forum with some information: SEO Chat’s Bing and Yahoo SEO Forum (http://forums.seochat.com/bing-yahoo-search-optimization-61/).