I will start with a little remark. This article would not be a comparison of search engines, nor it would try to force any of them as a viable competitor of Google.
For better or for worse I can’t see anyone coming even close to a real rivalry with the search titan, so it would be pointless to even try and convince you when I can’t even convince myself. Now that this is out of the discussion, lets take a look at what we might be have overlooked on the second most popular engine – Bing.
To be honest, I often forget about Bing. Like with many others, I believe the reason for that lies in habit. When you are so used to searching in one place that almost always satisfies your needs, you don’t really see why you should go somewhere else. So when I recently encountered some video ads that tried to force the term “Bing it!” as an alternative of “Google it!”, I slapped my forehead and told myself – “Oh yeah, THAT existed too”. I had some time so decided to dig deeper and see how Bing was doing recently. To my dismay the first thing I learned is that since Microsoft started investing in MSN and Bing subsequently, they have put a whopping 11 billion dollars in the project. Wow! There aren’t many companies worldwide that can afford to give away such a huge amount of money to maintain something that is not really that competitive on the market. So, did at least part of this money go into something useful, either for the average visitor or for the online marketers out there?
Lets first jump into the average users’ “shoes”. As already mentioned, habit and the presence of a vast amount of information is what drives people to prefer Google over any other search engine. There are various analysis conducted by companies and universities which show a somehow contradicting information. Some claim that in terms of relevance of results Ask.com hold a percentage similar to Google, others present that Quora, DuckDuckGo or ChaCha are close to taking second place in worldwide usage. This only goes to show you should not believe such studies which are, more or less, biased or paid. I mean seriously – who has ever heard of ChaCha, let alone use it on a daily basis? Consumers tend to use what has proven to bring them value. So Bing (and even Yahoo!) are much more logical competitors for the 2nd place in the Search Race. What I really fancy about Bing is their image and video search. Hands down, it even beats Google in it! Information presented for images is much more to-the-point, easy to comprehend and visually compelling. But the video searches is what really made me give my vote to the Microsoft search engine. Neatly structured, they even have an option to get a preview by simply hovering with the mouse over them. And knowing that Google owns Youtube for years now, its really baffling that they didn’t put any efforts into improving in that direction. You might have noticed I never spoke about the home page of each engine. This is just because the preference is strongly individual. Would you like seeing high-quality images every day or just the occasional creative Doodle on a plain white background? – choice is yours.
So is there anything beneficial for all of you online marketers out there? Depends where most of your efforts are going really. Seeing that the majority of people are still in Google, there isn’t much point in strong optimizations or fierce pursuit of high rankings. One thing Bing still does well though are pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. For starters, the price of the cost-per-click (CPC) is significantly lower, even 60-70% lower depending on the keyword(s) you choose. For startup businesses with a limited marketing budget this could really make a difference. Adwords, on the other hand, can really devour your budget in a day or two, especially if you are not too familiar on how it works. For some businesses there is actually a better sales and conversion rates when conducting Bing campaigns. Retail services is such an example and B2B companies often get similar results in both search engines. The actual paid ads are slightly more flexible in Bing too – you have a longer character limit and that can be used as a competitive advantage by any seasoned marketer. The professionals are gradually growing tired of Big G. With the constant introduction of new and more strict algorithms (which tend to mostly push the Google services on top) and the scare tactics employed by the Spam Department, marketers are getting fed up. Its a brutal race of changing tactics quite often and everything seems much calmer on the other side of the fence.
In other topics we have regularly mentioned that you have to spread your efforts and use different platforms to get yourself seen. Pretty much the same still applies here, so if you are on the verge of launching an important PPC campaign, have a visually dependent business or just want to achieve a broader reach, do consider Bing as an option.