This month we have a guest column written by AOM site owner Joe Quarta. His site ExerciseLine.com is a well thought-out store that consistently performs well. Joe is also quite knowledgeable regarding AOM and is frequently found in the AOM forum, helping new users, critiquing sites and offering insight into search engines and how they operate. Here, Joe provides some information and suggestions regarding Bing/MSN and Yahoo, which is often overlooked by site owners who think Google is the end-all and be-all of search engines:
In case you haven’t noticed, Google is getting some serious competition lately. This new competition is the Bing/Yahoo partnership. These search engines were usually secondary and non-existent in SEO for most webmasters! It is definitely time to take a second look at SEO for these search engines.
Did you know that little old Bing/MSN actually leads Google in online shopping conversions! It’s true, many polls show just that. How can this be with Google’s tremendous traffic? Well it just so happens that more shoppers use Bing and Yahoo. Google has become more of an information and research type search engine for some people. Don’t get me wrong, you will still have decent conversions on Google, but now a new dilemma has been created. Should you SEO for Google or Bing/Yahoo? It’s a tough decision for the site owner or webmaster! Nobody really knows what Algorithms either search engine uses, but they appear to be different at this point in time. So let’s-concentrate on some of the latest Bing/Yahoo hints & kinks to help get a decent rank in their search engines. Always keep in mind that SEO information is ever changing but this is what I found in the Bing/Yahoo Algorithm at the end of last year and that may currently be of interest.
- Backlinks – Backlinks are still used in the Bing/Yahoo algorithm, but they don’t seem to be on the same high level as Google. As always, one-way links should be pursued above all others. The quality of your links will outweigh your quantity. Concentrate on forums, blogs, and directories before exchanging links with others. If you do exchange links with another site, try to get subject matter related to your site! Stay away from link farms! Check your competitors’ links, it might give you some surprises and ideas to pursue.
- Anchor Text – Bing/Yahoo relies heavily on links with relevant anchor text, so that should influence your linking. Create content about your site and/or keyword(s) on your homepage. Link some of these keywords in your content to another informative page on your site or an external site. Make the link bold or highlight it.
- H1 Tags – It appears Bing/Yahoo are using website H1 tags in their algorithm, at least for now. So use them! I actually moved my rank up and down three times in a two week period by taking out and putting back the tags! Just testing!
- Domain Age – Bing/Yahoo will give the older domain a higher rank over the younger domain. There appears to be no difference in Google after the two year age mark I have seen exceptions, so don’t let this stop you. You can check your competitor’s’ domain age with a domain age checker (do a Google search). Another option is to buy an older domain, although this is getting harder depending on the keyword wanted.
- Keyword URL – Bing/Yahoo will give a higher ranking with your keyword in your domain, more so than Google.
- Keyword Density – This is an off and on thing with the Bing/Yahoo algorithm, density seems to make a difference in ranking at the moment The easiest way to do this is to use a keyword density checker (do another Google search!). Check the density of your top ten competitors for your keyword. More than likely you will see a pattern; work on how close you can come to your competitor’s keyword density. Avoid keyword stuffing at all cost. A final note here is to find a density checker that does not include your title or description in the calculations (or can be toggled off). It will be easier to adjust your keywords and percentages by looking at your competitor’s cached pages on Bing or Yahoo which don’t include the title or description. You will see the actual number of your competition’s keywords in the Bing or Yahoo cache highlights. Confirm that the density checker you use matches keyword quantities with Bing/Yahoo cached pages for you or your competitors. It appears Bing/Yahoo separates the title and description in their algorithm for ranking.
- Meta Title – Here again check your competition’s titles, if they have two keywords in their title use two of the same keywords in your title. Obviously come up with a different title, just use the same keywords in a different title.
- Meta Description – As above, check your competitor’s descriptions. If they have two or more keywords in their description use the same in your description. Here again come up with a different description, but use the same keywords in yours.