A couple of years ago I’d have laughed myself at that title, as all of us in the SEO world joked how Bing’s only user was someone’s grandmother desperately in search of how to access Google. But since 2008 Bing has seen a steady rise in its search query market share from 9.8% to 21.6% in April 2016 across the USA.
With this in mind I suggest as do others that it’s about time that the PR industry, along with the wider marketing world, starts taking Bing seriously and look at how we can optimise our web pages to rank in its number one spot for relevant search queries. Because if Bing’s growth continues, we could be seeing a very different SEO landscape appear over the next couple years with the potential for Google to be unseated from its throne.
So what’s causing this growth and potential Google upset?
Well from the data available there are four big factors that suggest we should all be paying really close attention to Bing and how it can support our organic search results and conversions.
1. The launch of Windows 10
The first factor is the launch of Windows 10 in 2015. As I say a couple years ago Bing was seen as a pariah and many thought Microsoft should shelve it as a failed experiment. But current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had belief, which is now starting to pay off.
With the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft made search an integral part of the user experience and that search experience is powered by Bing. With a total of 270 million Windows 10 devices now in use across desktop, mobile, tablet and Microsoft’s Xbox One console, it’s clear to see that Bing’s growth is increasing in correlation to the Windows 10 uptake.
2. The growth of voice search
As I say, search was built as an integral part of the Windows 10 platform and a huge component of that has been voice search and Microsoft’s Cortana (there’s a reason I mention these as two separate entities and I’ll get to that in a minute).
But here we come to the second factor, Cortana.
As a voice search interface Cortana, is built into Windows 10 devices and allows users to simply ask questions and complete tasks quickly and efficiently whilst providing a great user experience. And with Cortana again being powered by Bing it is a powerful tool allowing Microsoft to have a part of a market share of a technology they expect to service 50% of all searches performed by 2020.
3. The power of partnerships
That’s all well and good, but Bing’s integration with Cortana alone isn’t going to cause any real concerns for Google I hear you say, but that’s where Microsoft’s B2B partnerships for both search and voice come into play.
Apple iOS devices make up 23.1% of the mobile and tablet market all running Siri, which is probably the most recognised voice search persona of them all. But did you know Siri’s search function, as well as iOS Spotlight, are powered by Bing?
So not only does Microsoft power their own voice search persona with Cortana but also Apple’s, giving them a greater hold of that market share I mentioned earlier.
Furthermore Bing also powers Amazon’s smart home device (Echo), Uber’s mapping technology, and Yahoo Search. All of which when supported by the data below showing the current growth in voice search suggest that Bing really does have the potential to challenge Google (you can find a full list of Bing partners here).
Mobile devices users now outnumber desktop and in December 2015 MindMeld published a study showing that a massive 41.6% of smartphone users have only started to use voice search in the past six months, with this expected to continue to rise over the next several years. And with a 60% increase in question phrases being used in search queries, we can see a strong link being made between voice search and the growing length of keyword searches, simply check out the graph below.
4. Google’s change in direction
Now the final factor is that Google is currently starting to shoot themselves in the foot by moving away from their previous model of being user-focused through organic search results and instead heavily levying their paid advertising services.
This can been seen by the space taken up on SERPs by Google Ads or Rich snippets showing information from Wikipedia and other larger news and business sites. All of which is a drastic move away from the Google we know, that seemed to help make the SEO landscape a level playing field. No matter what size and turnover your business was, if you could meet Google’s guidelines and produce high quality content while receiving backlinks from trusted sources, you stood just as much chance as anyone else of ranking in the number one spot.
Now don’t get me wrong, Google have by no means made it impossible for small and medium business to rank on the first page. But with their continual movement to monetise every area of their search functionality from general, local, image search etc. if Bing can simply position itself as they are doing to fill those voids it will definitely have the potential to win over search engine marketers and more importantly searchers.
But what does this all mean for the PR industry?
First of all, usually when we’re looking to conduct outreach and we have a possible lead, we look to see their page rank on Google, their domain authority (heavily tied to Google) and social media factors. But going forward Bing ranking as well as Bing’s integration with social platforms (Microsoft now owns LinkedIn and is partnered with Twitter) will need to play a part in our research of all potential outreach opportunities.
It’s also important that we look at how our press releases and outreach opportunities will work in a world dominated by voice search of which a large proportion has the potential to be powered by Bing.
Guest contributor Matthew Crehan is a Content Executive at Hit Search. An expert in digital marketing, Matthew is one of Hit Search’s internal marketing team. Over the last six years Matthew has built up a wealth of knowledge across the full digital marketing environment, producing athletics podcasts, managing successful crowdfunding campaigns and delivering his clients a strong return on investment, whilst building clients’ brands through the most cost effective online channels possible. Read the original article as it appears on BulldogReporter.com.