The face of business has changed radically over the past several years. Perhaps the most important driving force behind that change is the advent and proliferation of the internet. The internet has turned so many industries, business practices and methods of attracting customers on their side, making business owners everywhere reevaluate their strategies.
It is nearly impossible to do business anymore and not be on the internet; and if you are not on the internet, you are definitely losing customers. This is especially true for small businesses that depend on local business for their survival. According to the Pew Research Center, “Nearly two-thirds of Americans are now smartphone owners, and for many these devices are a key entry point to the online world 64% of American adults now own a smartphone of some kind, up from 35% in the spring of 2011.” What that means is that more and more people are looking for a local place to eat, buy clothing, hire a lawyer, etc. and they are not looking in the phone book–they are going online.
Who, What, & Why?
Google, Bing and Yahoo are the main three search engines that people use when browsing the web for pretty much anything. A large part of attracting customers to your website lies in your business’s place on the search results page; the closer you are to the top of the first page, the more traffic you receive. There are several different factors that go into those rankings, and they are based on algorithms developed by the search providers like Google and Bing (Yahoo search results are powered by Bing).
In order to get your website as close to the top of that first search results page as possible, it is important to know how Google and Bing rank their search results. Since Google is by far the biggest search engine, most businesses start there. Through varying marketing campaigns, market research, and especially SEO, a business can do several things to improve their rankings in the Google search results. However, just because you rank on the first page of Google doesn’t mean you will rank the same (or at all) on Yahoo or Bing. This can be pretty frustrating, especially considering the limited resources and time that most businesses have. So the big question becomes “Why do Google and Bing rank things differently?”
What is Different?
What is different is a hard question to answer, but for a very simple reason. While we know several factors that each search engine uses in page rank, there are many more factors that we do not. The algorithms employed by Google and Bing are proprietary, and they will only share small pieces. While Google and Bing’s algorithms certainly share factors, those factors are also weighted differently. Each search engine also penalizes businesses for certain things that they consider to be unethical or “Black Hat” SEO; that means anything that is trying to “trick” the algorithm or customers.
Those are just two factors that could potentially have an adverse effect on your page rank. A few other factors are things like the loading speed of your website, whether or not it is mobile friendly, and of course links leading to and from your site. According to the website Web Presence, there are a few other factors that go into page rank. Google, for example, focuses a lot of attention on specific parts of a website, and weighs other aspects less. Webpresence states: “Bing considers the whole array of SEO methods, rather than focusing on some more than others. With Google it’s largely about inbound links, but Bing isn’t quite as obsessed with these. Google doesn’t really pay much attention to things like <H1> tags, whereas Bing does give these extra weight. Basically, in order to optimize for Bing, use every technique in the book, from meta descriptions and titles to H1 tags.”
Where to Start?
So where should you try to rank first, on Google or Bing? Most SEO professionals will say Google, and that makes sense since they are the biggest, and so much of SEO is focused on ranking well on Google. So Google is a great place to start, but that does not mean that you should not try to rank on Bing as well. Different people prefer different search engines, and you want to make sure that reach as many potential customers as possible; so don’t write off any potential customers by focusing only on one search engine.
Try to find out how your customers find you: how are they going online and which search engine do they typically use? Have a professional look at your website and optimize it to improve its rankings. Consult an SEO professional to assist you in key word link building as links are a very important part of ranking well on Google. Most of all, be patient and stick with it because while ranking well on any search engine is important, it does take time.