Like our well-known analysis for Google.com, the Ranking Factor – Rank Correlation study for Bing deals with the definition and evaluation of factors that differentiate better-positioned websites from pages placed further back in the organic search results – i.e.: pages that have a positive rank correlation.
We have taken the ranking factors for Google into account in our analysis and compared the results of both search engines in order to finally answer the questions: How do well-positioned pages rank on Bing? What distinguishes them from lower ranking pages? And what are the differences between Bing and Google?
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What factors are playing a role?
You can find the most important factors in our overview of all rank correlation coefficients. These are all the factors we have analyzed and consider relevant. We have presented the relationship between Bing search results and the various factors influencing it using the Spearman correlation – a high positive correlation coefficient occurs for a factor if higher ranking pages have that feature / or more of that feature, while lower ranking pages do not / or have less of that feature. In addition to providing an overview of the differences in correlation to Google, we have included the respective Google correlation values in the background.
Top highlights of Bing Ranking Correlations 2013:
- Keyword domain and backlink diversity filters are more unspecific
- Ranking preference but rather insufficient distinction of Brands
- Social signals correlate very well with better rankings too
- Good content is important: it comes to quality and relevance!
- The number of backlinks is immensely important too
- On-page technology belongs to the basics
Deeper Insights into the study:
Keyword domains and backlink diversity filters are more unspecific
When it comes to ranking correlation, the values of the features “keywords in the URL / domain” concerning Bing are even significantly lower compared to Google:
In our Google study, these two factors are considered the losers when compared with last year; due to the loss of relevance for the existence of keywords in the URL and/or the domain. But regarding the absolute appearances and share of URLs / domains with keyword, the values for Bing are higher. Meaning, there are still more EMDs ranking in the top ten on average for Bing.
This also affects backlinks for plain text keyword links – so it looks that it looks like the the days of “hard keyword optimization” are over – but on average, the share of backlinks with keyword is about 10% higher for Bing than for Google.
Google now puts much more emphasis on natural link profiles. It looks as if Bing may be on the same track, but our data indicates that the evaluation of backlink profiles seems to be more unspecific concerning Bing.
Ranking preference but rather insufficient distinction of Brands
For brands – and their websites – search engines do not seem to apply the same criteria as for other domains. For Brandsexample, it seems as though Bing and Google consider it natural for brands to have comparatively more backlinks with the name of the brand in the link text alone – what we refer to as “brand links” – and still not be rated negatively.
However, Bing seems to have some difficulties in distinguishing brands from related competitors.
Social signals correlate very well with better rankings too
Well positioned URLs have a high number of likes, shares, tweets and plus ones and specific URLs stand out in the top search results with a very high mass of social signals. On one hand this means that the activity on social networks continues to increase, on the other hand it means that frequently shared content increasingly correlates with good rankings.
The differences between Bing and Google regarding social features are indeed quite small.
Good content is important: it comes to quality and relevance!
For our analysis of content features, we have increased the number of factors and added two correlations treating content relevance.
Content factors correlate almost entirely positively with good rankings – even if the Bing corcontent bingrelations are often not as high as the respective Google values. Good ranking URLs, to a certain extent have more text and a higher number of additional media integrations compared with URLs ranking on worse positions. A good internal link structure also appears to be an important quality attribute.
The number of backlinks is immensely important too
Backlinks continue to be one of the most important SEO metrics. In this regard, little has changed over the years: sites with more backlinks simply rank better. And this is also the result of our ranking factor study for Bing in 2013. However, factors around this metric are subject to evolution: not only is the quantity of backlinks important, but increasingly so is their quality!
But: Concerning this evolution, Bing seems to be a few steps behind Google, which is apparently much more elaborate in evaluating these link features. The backlink profile is nowadays regarded as a kind of conglomerate of very diverse quality factors that we discuss in detail in the study.
On-page technology remains one of the basics
The on-page factors surrounding the technical side of building web sites have long been one of the basics of a good search engine ranking – and this will continue. Even more, it seems, fulfilling certain on-page criteria is not about achieving a favorable ranking, rather, it is the opposite: it is simply negative for the rankings when web pages do not meet criteria. On-page factors are therefore considered more of a prerequisite for ranking higher in search results pages.
This is also true for features like “keyword in title” or “keyword in description” – even if there is a low / negative correlation. Different from Google, Bing does not seem to consider the position of a keyword in the title of a page as a ranking factor.
The context of the Ranking Factors – Rank Correlation Bing USA Studies:
Search engines work with algorithms to evaluate websites by topic and relevance.
On this basis the search engines create a structure for the total of all pages in the search engine index, which finally results in a best possible ranking for users’ search queries. The criteria for the evaluation of websites and the production of this ranking are generally referred to as ranking factors. Please note the difference between correlation and causation in this case. We do not make any statements about causal effects between factors and rankings, but we analyze correlations: and the coexistence of a factor and rankings indicates some kind of relationship. For our study, we have undertaken a comprehensive data collection that enables the analysis of the Ranking Factors for Bing USA in 2013 and also allows us to draw comparisons to our analysis of the Google Ranking Factors in 2012 and 2013.
This content is an overview of our detailed Ranking Factors – Rank Correlation Bing USA 2013 study. The results are based on correlation and are not proof of any causal effects.