There are some interesting statistics out this week which reveal just how well Google and Bing are comparing. Over the last month official statistics show that Google now accounts for 64% of all searches, with Bing search engines now achieving 30% market share. Bing itself accounted for 14% of all searches, with its new Yahoo partner managing 16%.

BingWhilst Google may not be trembling yet, it’s clear that the gap is becoming significantly less. Google’s search share was down a full 3% last month, which is a fairly significant drop, whilst Bing climbed 6% and Yahoo 5%. With Bing now responsible for over half the number of searches carried out by Google, it’s more important than ever that business, online marketers and SEO companies get to grips with what makes Bing tick. To date there are still many companies focussing almost exclusively on optimising for Google, with many articles and SEO guides recommending general SEO tactics which are really still only applicable to Google.

Bing delivers different results to Google, and it is these differences which are crucial in appreciating what SEO techniques work with Bing, and what don’t. Of course Bing itself is keen to help web publishers, and as with Google, webmaster support is available with a whole raft of optimisation tips and webmaster tools for performance analysis.

Here are our top five Bing optimisation tips. It’s now more important than ever that you focus on these. Google won’t go crashing out of the game just yet, but since you could be missing out on around a third of your search engine traffic by failing to get to grips with Bing’s optimisation requirements, that translates to significant revenue loss.

1. Title Relevance. There seems to be a strong emphasis on the relevance of the title to the page content as far as Bing is concerned. Making sure that not only the page’s primary keyword is in the title but that the title as a whole is very specifically composed to reflect the content on the page is of great importance. Generic or duplicate page titles will hurt your ranking badly.

2. Page Specialism. With Bing it seems that it isn’t so much about having vast tracts of writing covering an array of subject related categories on every page. Instead pages with around 300-500 words which are very tightly focussed on a specific aspect of the subject perform better. If you have pages with a lot of text on them consider breaking this down into several pages which each have a tighter focus of the subject. This is an optimisation technique which could well help make websites easier to navigate and less intimidating for your carbon based visitors too.

3. Outbound Links. Google seems to reward selfishness. As far as links are concerned it’s all about ‘Me, me, me!’ You work hard to get as many other sites linking to yours as possible with little or no thought to linking out. Bing on the other hand seems to reward a more generous approach to linking. By embedding a few high quality and highly relevant links on your own site Bing will view your content as more relevant and more authoritative. This in turn may help improve your ranking.

4. Correct HTML Coding. With Google you could be reasonably sloppy with your HTML coding and it really wouldn’t make too much of a difference. This is certainly not the case with Bing. Unfortunately because Google doesn’t really take much notice of the quality of your code web designers have become a little sloppy. But sloppy coding will not win you over in the eyes of Bing. If you’re not sure about whether your code is clean or not visit the W3C Validation Service at http://validator.w3.org/

5. Allow MSN Bot Crawler. This is an easy point to overlook, but doing so could pretty much render your other efforts void. Make sure that you have an up to date and accurate ‘robots.txt’ file in your root directory, and make sure that you have allowed the MSNBot to crawl your website. In your ‘robots.txt’ file you should have the following two lines:

User-agent: Msnbot

Allow: /

By following these five tips you stand a  much better chance of achieving a solid position within Bing’s search results, and with the amount of traffic coming through Bing and Yahoo growing steadily at the moment it’s never been more important to get found in ways other than through Google alone.