Exciting times ahead, as Firefox, Yahoo! and Bing start to break Google’s stronghold on the search industry.

The Big Bing is upon us!

As reported (and so sexily named) by Matthew Woodward, Firefox has replaced Google with Yahoo! as its default search engine, and Yahoo! Search is powered by the Microsoft Bing ranking engine.

Matthew reports, with details from Statcounter, that Yahoo! search in North America jumped from under 10% to just under 30% overnight. Google saw a corresponding draw from 82 to 63%. This is big business for Yahoo! and then and quite bring big changes to small businesses at this crucial pre-Christmas time.

What does this mean for small businesses?

First up, you’re going to see an increase in North American search referrals from Yahoo!, and a decrease in those by Google.

Depending on how well you rank on each search engine, this might be a blessing or a curse. Overall search volume will tell you if you are on the winning or losing side, but it’s time to take a look at Bing if you haven’t before.

Until now the Bing-Yahoo combo has not provided such a significant amount of traffic and has been largely ignored by small businesses. It was understood that one should optimise for Google search and ignore the Bing algorithm. If you ranked well in one, the logic went, you didn’t need to optimise for the other. The Bing algorithm is quite different from Google’s, and that idea needs to be thrown out the window.

What should I do?

Make a note

You’ll want an easy reference for this change in times to come. Go into your Google Analytics and make a note on December 2nd. That will help you remember why you saw a drop in Google traffic on that date. Copy, paste this text if you want:

Yahoo! replaces Google in Firefox search, N. America.

Verify your site with Bing

Remember that Bing powers Yahoo! search results, so we need to work with Bing Webmaster Tools going forward.

In order to analyse anything with Bing, you’ll have to set up a Windows login and verify your website.

Visit http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster and follow the prompts to sign in.

Add a site, by writing in the URL. Warning! The text box will automatically add http:// to the start… I ended up with two http’s.

You can choose to submit a sitemap at the same time, which is highly advised. If you use Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin, you should find your sitemap at:
http://example.com/sitemap_index.xml

If there’s nothing there, check for:
http://example.com/index.xml

Once you proceed, you will be asked to upload a file, which you can do with SFTP or another tool.

If you’re a Performance Foundry client, simply email the file to support, or open a new ticket at https://support.performancefoundry.com.

After that, click “Verify”, and you’re in!

Quick check

Bing handily provides the Bing SEO Analyser which gives an automated look at any page and gives a set of recommendations to improve your site.

Improve Bing SEO with their automated tools

Note that not all suggestions are going to work for each website. This is a ‘dumb’ automated tool, so speak with your web specialist before making any changes.

Social Connect

Many of the tools in Bing’s “Configure My Site” menu could cause problems if incorrectly used. But Connected Pages is a wonderful and simple tool to help Bing understand your social connections.

Head there and fill in the blanks. The “Verify” button near the bottom-right is for all the links; be sure to click it.

Keep reading

Search optimisation and online marketing is a fast-moving industry with some rather vague and contradictory targets. To get started with understanding Bing give yourself an hour and some coffee, then start with their Webmaster guidelines and the Search Insights blog.

All too much?

Search is hard and time consuming. We know!

Performance Foundry can report on your site’s searchability and usability and help you to put in place a strategy for long term online marketing success, starting from $490. No quick fixes, but steady improvement across the board.

Drop us a line today; we’d love to help you reach the next step.

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