Bing market share in search has been fairly static in recent years, hovering at around 4-6% in the UK. This despite the big announcement in 2016 which stated that Bing was now controlling over 20% of UK searches. This was debunked pretty quickly. The stats came from a customised Microsoft report from ComScore in which the data came from users only with tracking software installed on their computers. It counted in AOL and Yahoo! searches which use Bing results. That report also came from a time where Apple was using Bing for web results from Siri queries (they switched to Google in 2017).
Bing isn’t a bad search engine, the results have gotten better in the past 3-4 years and seem to be continuously improving which is a good thing. The problem with Bing is that it has never been as good as Google. It had a late start in the game, it doesn’t have as much data, and from a consumer point of view, it just isn’t as innovative or as personalised to the user. Let’s have a look at an example search for ‘coffee shops near me’. For clarity, both Bing and Google searches had access to my precise location.
The results I got for ‘coffee shops near me’ were pretty out there, and by that, I mean Arizona. Living in Manchester City Centre, I’m not sure the coffee is quite good enough to warrant hopping on a transatlantic flight to get one.
The carousel was a lot better, but it was still missing a fair amount, one being ManCoCo, which was the number one organic result, but didn’t appear in the carousel as an option. ManCoCo is the closest coffee shop to my apartment (and if you live in Manchester, it does the most incredible coffee because the beans are roasted on-site).
Below ManCoCo in organic, we had directory results for Pheonix, Arizona, and Benfleet (couldn’t tell you), and Middlewich? I got some useful results in this search, but mostly they were irrelevant.
Heading over to Google, I conducted the exact same search, ‘coffee shops near me’ and the results were considerably better overall. The carousel here is different and points to other website detailing the ‘best’ coffee shops near me. The map is absolutely spot on – they are the closest coffee shops to my apartment.
Further down in organic, the results actually shift away from Yell and other directories, instead favouring roundups from local publishers featuring the best coffee shops in Manchester. We have below the organic results some further suggestions of search queries which relate including ‘coffee and wifi’.
Bing Webmaster Tools & Clarity
You may question why I’m bleating on about a search engine with a small market share and poorer results than the competition? It’s because whilst Bing doesn’t seem to be focusing so much on improving results, they have been working behind to the scenes to improve Bing Webmaster Tools and all of the features within it. It’s become a tool that you can’t afford to not use – the data may be lacking in terms of queries because of lower search volumes, but in terms of website health and conversion rate optimisation, it’s gone above and beyond what Google is currently offering.
Launched towards the end of last year, the site audit feature is exactly as it sounds, it audits the website looking for common SEO errors, lists where they are, and gives guidance on how to fix them. This is by no means a replacement for more comprehensive auditing, but it’s something you can leave to scan on a regular basis and it’ll flag any major issues for you.
This is a good feature, and it works in a similar way to inspect URL tool that Google Search Console has. It’s more intuitive though in the sense you can click through the sitemap structure within Webmaster Tools, rather than having to find the URL on the website and then go back. As you move deeper into this and inspect a single URL, you can get that list of SEO issues bespoke to that page.
Relatively new to being rolled out to everyone, Microsoft Clarity is designed to help you understand how a user journey looks on your website. From literal recordings and heatmaps to deep insights from that data, spread across mobile, desktop, and tablet devices. Google again offers something similar in Analytics if you’re logged in and on your website in the same browser and you have a chrome extension installed, but it isn’t nearly as comprehensive or as easy to use. Microsoft Clarity is more on-par with HotJar, but it’s free. No catches, no surprise fees, no paywall limits, it’s actually free of charge to use within Bing Webmaster Tools.
Here is a video showing you more information on how Microsoft Clarity works.
Video Source: https://clarity.microsoft.com/
Add It To The SEO Toolbox
Any self-respecting SEO will tell you that no single tool is good enough to manage campaigns. We need multiple datasets to analyse the bigger picture of how the work we’re doing is impacting our clients. Having Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools is a good idea, it’s more data, and more useful ways of automating more tedious tasks so we can focus on more impactful work for our clients.
The best thing? You can connect your Search Console account to Bing Webmaster Tools and automatically verify every single website you have in your account. It takes seconds.