Is Bing really a failure? Should you even track your Bing ranks?

Bing is mostly seen as Microsoft’s hopeless attempt at making a search engine and the distant runner up to Google. SEO experts use it as a nice bonus search engine to optimize for as a sound overall strategy, but virtually no one targets Bing as a main source of traffic. Bing is like the slower kid in class that is constantly being outshined. But did you ever wonder why Microsoft still keeps it around, seeing as Google is not about to lose its crown anytime soon? What is the actual point? Does Bill Gates have so much money he can run a search engine just as a pet project? Although good ol’ Bill has that search engine pocket change (and then some), that’s clearly not the reason.

The reality is Microsoft poured millions upon millions of dollars, seemingly to no avail, on development and awkward advertising, such as this classic video:

And let’s not forget Steve Ballmer’s attempts to outperform Steve Jobs as a presenter, somehow leading to this spectacle:

While mad prancing on stage and delusional iPhone funerals probably didn’t help Bing grow, there were some solid business moves made over the years. Even with all that in mind, Bing is far from a failure. It may not be the top dog of the search world by far, but it is something that matters most to a business – it is PROFITABLE. So it doesn’t matter that Bing doesn’t lead the charts, because they still have a significant bearing in the search engine niche, just enough to count.

So, what revenue does Microsoft see from Bing, exactly? Surprisingly, a lot – about $5 billion in annual revenue in 2017. Microsoft saw roughly $1.8 billion in search ad revenue alone for that year.

To understand why Bing is actually successful, let’s take a look at some figures and stats:

This is the current global search market share: Google is at the top with a whopping 87.1%, followed with just a fraction of that by Bing with 5.82% and Yahoo! with 2.98%. It may not seem like much, but let’s take a closer look at the numbers and facts that we know:

Google handles 5.6 billion search queries a day, so that means Bing’s relative share, based on those stats, will be somewhere around 374 million search queries a day! Also, Bing has 1.37 billion unique global visitors per month. Now, that is some serious potential for traffic and a wide reach! If you rank first positions on Bing with these numbers, you can get a nice chunk of visitors, depending on your niche.

Not to mention that if your main target audience is the US and UK, you should start caring about Bing SEO and SEM even more. If the Global stats don’t impress you enough, you should consider that according to Microsoft, Bing’s US market share is 33% in the US and 23% in the UK. That means that effectively, only targeting Google will give you access to just 2/3 of the potential-traffic pie.

Another thing you should consider when estimating Bing’s size is that Bing has powered Yahoo! since 2009. After helping Google become an unstoppable powerhouse by contracting Google to power their search engine, Yahoo! made the smart decision and dropped the contract with Google in 2004. After a short stint at trying to be an independent search engine (and failing miserably), it was time to make alliances against the monster they helped create. And so, a deal was made with Microsoft for Bing to be the backbone of Yahoo!. In a nutshell, you can’t count one without the other. That means the potential reach of Bing SEO is even greater, and if you rank high on Bing, you will also get some of Yahoo!’s ranks.

Interestingly enough, the keyword ‘Bing’ has a monthly search volume on Google of 13,600,000 as seen by our search volume reveal that comes integrated with our rank tracker:

It’s a pretty solid figure that shows Bing’s popularity, and it’s reasonable to assume that many of these searches are for people who want to access Bing exclusively or cross-search something on the internet.

The User Data War

Do you think Google, the big class bully, just ignores poor quiet Bing and doesn’t see it as a threat? Think again! Bing belongs to a very powerful family – Microsoft. Google is engulfed in a war with other giants, such as Facebook, Amazon and Apple (and to a notable extent – China) for the control of one of the most valuable assets on the internet – user data. He who has the most user data can create the most advanced and psychologically accurate user profiles. It’s the power to drive the most targeted ad traffic by predicting our moves and desires, and excel at the true end goal: ultimate user manipulation. They accomplish it by making us willingly surrender our privacy, and with blunt mind control, achieved by hijacking our brain’s reward systems through acquired dependence and addiction. China will likely be the first to reach this goal by full gamification of citizen loyalty to the state, but that is for another story.

The war for user data also coincides with the race to create the first Super AI. It’s pretty reasonable to assume any Super AI that stems from either one of the big companies will not be benevolent. It would grow on the principles of greed, manipulation, and control. Will our psychological profiles be served on a platter to the evolutionary force that is possibly destined to replace us?

Having a search engine, a browser, a mobile OS, and a desktop OS under your brand are huge tools in this data-collecting war, and Microsoft has almost ALL of these. In fact, Google is so intimidated that some estimate Google paid Apple $3 billion in 2017 in “not protection fees” so that Apple keeps Google as their default search engine and YouTube as a default app in iOS.

The final chess move came in 2017, when Google made a deal with Apple to switch from Bing to Google as Siri’s default search engine. How much that agreement cost Google remains undisclosed. Google is doing it for a very good reason, too – by most estimates, the profit they see from iOS users currently far surpasses the profit they see from Android users.

Also, we are not sure if Bing does any worthwhile SEO on Google or if this is Google’s troll move on a corporate scale, but here’s how Bing ranks on Google for the keywords ‘search engine’ and ‘the best search engine’:

Regardless, it’s pretty amusing.

The power of defaults

Google might be the search engine popular athlete, but here’s how Bing shines below the radar:  82% of all desktop operating systems are Microsoft’s, and guess which search engine is the default in those operating systems? You guessed it – it’s Bing. But Bing’s recent success is largely thanks to Win10 popularity. Bing’s deep integration into Win10 made it a considerably more user-friendly and tolerable experience, by most accounts. People are simply more reluctant to change to Google. And many users just won’t take the initiative to change their default settings in Windows to begin with out of pure tech laziness. But to be fair, Bing still manages to provide decent search results, so many people don’t really mind sticking around.

Which leads to the next question: who exactly are the users that “bing it” outside of Hawaii Five-0?

Bing User Demographics

Well, Bing users, as you might imagine, are generally less tech savvy. They tend to be in the baby-boomer age group: 54% of all Bing users are over 45. But that also means they’re more likely to have children (and grandchildren) and to be overall more established financially. Bing’s audience might be scarcer, but it includes a denser ratio of high-quality customers. 38% of the Bing Ads audience has a household income of $100,000 or more! Mature Bing users are more willing to spend money than the young student with debts. Bing captured 66 million unique monthly retail searchers not even reached by Google, so not surprisingly, 22% more dollars were spent online via Bing than through average internet searches.

Another interesting stat to note is that the ratio of male to female users on Bing is 50:50, while for Google it’s 55:45 in favor of males.

By wisely targeting those Bing demographics, you can reap some very nice results!

Bing SEO and rank tracking

So, you decided you’re doing some Bing/Yahoo! SEO or SEM in addition to Google.  That’s great! Word on the SEO streets is SEO for Bing/Yahoo! is easier and less competitive than Google, and you actually get to enjoy a more old-fashioned and less personalized ranking algorithm. Regardless of your strategy, you HAVE to know how you rank, just as for any search engine that you promote for, which is where PRT comes into play! We can track any Bing rank with 100% accuracy (and that extends to ALL of the search engines that we track). We can provide real accuracy to our users, simply because we constantly monitor their search index and intercept any changes that might throw other rank trackers off track. Having said that, you should read more about rank tracking accuracy and how SERP trackers fetch your ranks (something most of them will never write about) if you haven’t already :

The Truth Revealed! Why are some SERP trackers more precise than others?

So, here’s how to add Bing and Yahoo! ranks along with your Google rank for tracking quickly and easily with PRT:

Just add Bing and Yahoo! to the search engine list, and you’re good to go!

Bing’s ranking algorithm is less geo targeted and personalized than Google’s, so SERP tracking for Bing and Yahoo! is much easier. SERP tracking Google requires more attention and fine tuning to be truly effective. You will need to add a specific location, UI language, device type, and also (depending on the type of business) Snack Pack ranks. It’s a subject you can read about more in depth here:

Google airport ranks and the new levels of local SEO rank tracking in 2018
All the rank tracking types you will need for SEO in 2018

Bing SEM and commercial potential

Other than SEO potential, Bing has some SEM perks as well. Bids on Bing Ads tend to be cheaper, and the overall competition for keywords is generally lower.

Shopping, health, travel and their related searches account for 30-40% of total search queries. Remember the user demographics –  sessions in these subjects on Bing are often longer and more thorough, so Bing might hold some promise if you run a business in one of these niches. And Bing even offers a way to import your AdWords campaigns to Bing. While Google reps sit in their ivory Googleplex tower, busily playing classic pong on a top-of-the-line gaming PC while sipping luxury espresso, Bing actually makes an effort to be more customer friendly and make their reps more available for their ad users.

Bing and Yahoo! Keyword research made easy

No matter how you tackle Bing, you will need keywords, and lots of them – the backbone of SEO and SEM. For that, we have our Keyword Suggestion Tool which comes embedded into PRT. Unlike other tools on the market, it doesn’t just arbitrarily generate useless keywords but comes up with real-value keywords that have substantial search volume behind them.

As you can see the keyword “bing SEO” yielded 493 suggestions, and “bing website submission” yielded 746 related suggestions. Just TWO keywords revealed a total of 1239 new keywords to choose from!

Here’s more on how to use the tool:

The Keyword Suggestion Tool – The ideal tool for SEO beginners and experts alike

Are you already ranked top100 on Bing or Yahoo! and you didn’t even know?

Stranger things have happened. And best of all, there’s an easy way to find out. You might have registered your website on Bing and didn’t do any SEO beyond that and chose to focus on Google instead. But even that might be enough to have some effect, because some underlying properties of SEO for both Google and Bing are essentially identical, meaning you might rank well on Bing and Yahoo! even without actively promoting for them. Our Ranking Discovery Tool can reverse engineer the search process for ALL the search engines that we track and reveal top100 ranks for virtually any website. For example here is a portion of what we discovered for the e-commerce website Asos:

In total, we discovered more than 3000 ranks for Asos! but to be fair, they are a fairly large and dominant website in their niche.

Once you know you have your website in the game ranked top100, boosting it higher will be much easier than starting from scratch.

You can also do some amazing tricks with the tool to research any niche and grow your business. Check it out, you might be pleasantly surprised:

5 amazing things you can do with PRT’s Ranking Discovery tool

Who knows what the future holds for Bing. Perhaps Google’s shady practices will drive even more users into Microsoft’s hands (and to be fair, Bill Gates does seem like the least evil of all current tech messiahs – and if he is evil, he sure hides it under a thick wall of awesomely good deeds). Maybe more people will finally tire of having their ranks busted every time Google shifts something in their algorithm. And maybe Microsoft will come up with a game-changing mobile OS. Either way, SEO for Bing, in our opinion, will likely become even more important in the future, so start placing your bets.

If you liked this article, you might enjoy reading about some of the amazing, mind-blowing stats and facts behind the jock villain in our Search Engine High School story, Google:

Google by the numbers: Amazing Google stats and facts

If you thought this post was helpful and interesting, please share it and subscribe to our blog so you won’t miss any upcoming articles about the world of search engines and SERP tracking. Also, share any thoughts and insights in the comments below!

Pro Rank Tracker is the way to go as far as SERP tracking is concerned!

PRT is an industry-standard SERP tracker with over 50k users of all levels – from beginners to huge SEO agencies and e-commerce websites. You should know that other than Bing, Yahoo! and Google, we also specialize in rank tracking Yandex, Amazon and YouTube. All the ranks that you get are completely accurate and freshly fetched every day. Join the fun and start tracking today, you’ll be glad you did!

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