This is a question I get asked frequently – is Bing better than Google? To be honest, if you want the quick answer, then I’m going to have to say no. it’s just different. If you want the longer answer however, I’ll have to go into a bit more background to explain. Here’s what you need to know:
The Creation of Bing
Bing is the latest iteration of Microsoft’s search engines. Prior to Bing, we had MSN Search, Windows Live Search and just plain Live Search. Each of these failed to gain much in the way of market share and remained firmly in third place behind Google and Yahoo! Thus, the folks at Microsoft decided about three years ago to create yet another iteration of their search engine, this one called Bing.
It Works Similarly to Google
Put a search term into Google and Bing and you’ll find that the experience is very similar to Google. Both services offer the same kind of anticipative search service (i.e. where you can see the results change as you enter your search term and they suggest search terms for you). Both display equally fast.
However, what I found interesting is that the results of a few recent searches were different. I put in a few popular search terms, including “lose weight now,” “make money online” and “buy car insurance” and found almost no overlap between the two search engines. This was quite a surprise for me because I did find that the results were virtually identical when I tried a similar experiment about four months ago.
Bing Has Less Commercial Results
I can only assume that the two companies have diverged on their criteria for what gets to the top of the SERPs, making it that much harder to actually rank highly for both of them.
I did find however that the results were rather interesting. On “Lose Weight Now,” I found for example two articles from Ezine Articles in the top five search results on Bing whereas for Google, no such articles existed on the front page. Google’s results were all commercial sites offering something to buy. Now, that may well be what you want. You may not want to read something from Ezine Articles and may well want to make a purchase of a product.
Make Money Online and Buy Car Insurance had similar results. I can only surmise that this was the Google Panda update in action.
Bing Doesn’t Have Semantic Search
I also did a search for a few semantic terms to see if Bing had the feature that Google recently added (i.e. where you can enter a question and get an answer). I put in “What is the capital of New York” and “Who is the president of the United States?” In both cases, Google provided a best guess answer at the top of their search results which happened to be correct (i.e. Albany and Barack Obama). Bing simply provided me with websites which tried to answer the question.
Of course, the downside to this is that Google could get the answer wrong. A good example of this is a situation where the answer is unclear due to political considerations. For example, I tried entering the question “What is the capital of Tibet?”
Both search engines correctly suggested Lhasa (in the case of Bing, the first result mentioned it), however, if you were looking for an answer because you’re writing a report on the subject, simply seeing the answer on Google might be misleading since Tibet is currently occupied by China and China considers it part of their sovereign territory.
Google Is Still the Better Target for SEO
Now, if you want to know about SEO, I’d have to say that targeting Google is still the better choice. The reason is simple: whether you like Google or Bing better is irrelevant – what is relevant is that your customers are more likely to find you through Google than through Bing.
Both Bing and Google are fine search engines. However I can’t say conclusively that either of them is better than the other. It’s more a matter of personal choice than anything else.