Microsoft Bing Roadmap to SEO Success

by Matthew Diehl on July 20, 2009

Just before the launch of the Bing decision engine from Microsoft, Rick DeJarnette, a member of the Microsoft Webmaster Center Team, announced a new series of community posted geared toward website owners (diy seo) and search engine marketing professionals. Basically, the new series runs under this pretense:

“We know you are going to be performing search engine optimization (SEO) to try and rank higher in our decision engine, so here are the criteria you need to follow and we won’t ban you for doing something stupid, stupid!”

In coordination with the new series of blog posts, they also launched a forum for members to share ideas and strategies of what works and what doesn’t. Good or bad advice, always take it with a grain of salt…

However, the Webmaster Center team has already had a series of posted outlining some detailed criteria you need to begin optimizing you website. So, straight from the horses mouth to you here is a summary of the key items you should be working on:

Step 1: Selecting Keyword Phrases

  1. Brainstorm your keyword phrases, come up with as many as possible
  2. Use the adCenter Excel Add-in Keyword Research Tool to research these and additional keyword phrases
  3. Select keyword phrases (not individual keywords) that convert – meaning keyword phrases that deliver targeted visitors that drive your business
    • Leave out “jargon” terms only your current customers would use
    • Select at least a few unique phrase per page that contains content
    • Identify relevant niches
  4. Develop a theme for your site with the keyword phrases

Step 2: On-page Keyword Placement

  1. Emphasize your keywords in the following tags:
    • Title Tag
      • Place important keywords at beginning of tag
      • Suggested length: 5 to 65 characters
      • Unique Title text for every page
      • !Avoid the following special characters: ‘”<>{}[]()
    • Body Header Tags
    • Anchor Tags (links)
    • Description META Tag
      • Create a unique description for each page utilizing keyword phrases
      • Suggested length: 25 to 150 characters
      • !Avoid reusing title tag text as a description
      • !Avoid the following special characters: ‘”<>{}[]()
    • Keywords META Tag
      • Choose words that may be secondary keyword terms (save the primary keywords for use in the Title and META Description tags)
      • Okay to include typographical errors
      • Suggested length: no more than 874 characters
      • !Avoid repeating an individual keyword more than 4 times
  2. Include keywords and keyword phrases in your Body text
  3. Use Strong Tags to highlight keywords in body text
  4. Images with text should be supplemented by using the alt attribute – placing keywords here is okay
  5. !Avoid Over Utilization i.e. keyword stuff in Title, Meta Tags and Content

Step 3: Consider Your Content

  1. Content is still King!
  2. Focus on quality content as quality content delivers links & industry authority
  3. Expand your site’s keyword depth by expanding your content
  4. Build content over time
  5. Keep it fresh and insightful
  6. Great sites have great content
  7. ! Avoid placing content within scripts
  8. ! Avoid over using Flash, Silverlight animations as bots are still having difficulty getting this right
  9. ! Avoid Duplicate Content – Plagiarism is a violation
  10. !Avoid Hidden Text

Step 4: Links

  1. Links are an endorsement – get endorsed and be an endorser
  2. Build them overtime
  3. Get them from relevant sites or pages to your sites theme
  4. Link to sites that are similar to your sites theme (enhance your customers experience)
  5. Focus on quality over quantity
  6. !Avoid paid links
  7. !Avoid “bad neighborhoods” including:
    • Meaningless domains for link exchange or link farming
    • Questionable IP locations
    • Linking requests promising page rank boosts
  8. !Avoid link triangulation i.e. Site A links to Site B, Site B links to Site C then Site C links to Site A
  9. Bad neighborhood inbound links will have less impact on your site if they are outweighed by good neighborhood, relevant links

Step 5: Site Architecture

  1. File & Directory Naming
    • Use keywords in naming scheme
    • Use hyphens not underscores
  2. Directory Structure
    • Keep it shallow – no more than 4 levels deep
  3. Move Javascript code to external files
  4. Move CSS to external files
  5. Use 301 redirects when moving pages of content or websites
  6. Canonicalize or 301 redirect all homepage variations
  7. Always use absolute URL naming over relative naming
  8. Always use proper URL syntax:
    • Links to directory root files should be the ‘/’ not the index or default page
    • Links to non-default pages should include file name
    • Dynamic links should utilize only the & (ampersand) not & code
  9. Use title attribute in anchor tags for internal links
  10. Identify the canonical URL for each page
  11. Minimize the number of parameters in dynamic URLs (the MSNBot can read more than 30 variables) but please keep it to a minumum
  12. Utilize the rel=”nofollow” attribute in links to keep the bot from following certain links
  13. Increase usability by creating a custom 404 page
  14. Properly identify your !DOCTYPE in the Head section of your pages
  15. !Avoid Javascript redirects or META refreshes
  16. !Avoid Frames
  17. !Avoid using pages that require session ids or cookies
  18. !Avoid pages that have a list of non-contextual links

I know there is a lot to digest here but it looks like the roadmap is still in progress. On the plus side, everything you see here is generally accepted “white hat” SEO techniques and it is safe to say that the guys at Bing Webmaster Central know their SEO stuff.

Leave a comment on how you feel about Microsoft’s new affinity to the SEO community. Let me know what you think about them outlining a roadmap for SEO success, is this pretty much spelling out their algorithm, giving away the special sauce or do think it is great to have this type of transparency on how to get your site working best with the new Bing decision engine?

{ 2 comments… read them below or join the discussion }

Jade October 21, 2009 at 9:29 am

Bing does give search results much like Google but i would have to say that Google still gives more relevant search results.

Reply

matthewdiehl October 21, 2009 at 10:30 am

@Jade

Thanks for weighing in with your opinion on how Bing is doing in comparison to Google.

I have to agree that they are still behind on relevancy. This needs to change to continue their current growth trend and eventually take over serving the Yahoo! results.

Reply

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