Before Google achieved domination over the search engine market, there were a number of other, smaller contenders that developed a loyal following, such as Ask.com and Dogpile. Most Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies are now targeted for Google only. However, Yahoo and Bing still function as popular search engine alternatives.
Therefore, SEO gurus should understand any differences in strategies that will bring strong page rankings from these “other” search engines, along with maximizing Google ratings. As all SEO veterans know, giving search engines what they like – and avoiding features that they don’t – is the key to higher page rankings. The differences among these engines is slight, but can influence site optimization to a degree.
Search Engines Rank Keywords Differently
Because of the secrecy search engines use to protect the integrity of their algorithms, it is impossible to accurately identify specific differences. Many veteran SEO professionals believe the other search engines treat keywords differently. The prevailing theory is that Google puts much weight on keywords in URL’s, while Bing favors keyword-rich content, with Yahoo somewhere in between.
Backlinks are another factor that draws strong attention. However, the three primary search engines treat backlinks differently in their algorithms. All three place high importance on the use of backlinks, albeit somewhat differently in their formulas. Google now calculates page ranks more based on the “quality” of backlinks, penalizing those sites that favor “quantity,” regardless of the backlink relevance. Yahoo and Bing place less weight on backlink origins or quality. All three, however, pay close attention to backlinks in their page-ranking formulas mandating that websites use them properly.
Content Quality Factors Highly
All three prime-time players – PTPers – as famed basketball announcer Dick Vitale would say, agree that “content is king.” A variation on the timeless computer cliche, “garbage in, garbage out,” the top search engines use content quality as the major factor in rating websites. Internet and SEO marketing professionals realize the overwhelming importance of using only high-quality content on their sites to achieve high page rankings.
Some observers believe there may be a resurgence of the formerly successful 1990s strategy of using multiple websites optimized for different search engines. They contend that, as more companies create “mirror” sites optimized for mobile markets, companies may also resurrect the multiple website strategy of two decades ago.
However, there are an equal number of SEO experts who dispute the value of this theory. Spreading internal or external quality content creators too thin, designing websites specifically for different search engines or spending the extra time and money to create and maintain three or more not quite identical sites is unnecessary and could be dangerous. These observers tout that good SEO is good SEO.
As Yahoo and Bing modify their algorithms to move closer to Google formulas, the differences in the “other” search engines becomes ever more minor. Concentrating SEO efforts on one outstanding website – and, possibly, a variation optimized for mobile users – is the best idea. Search strategies focused on satisfying Google preferences also should result in strong page rankings with competing search engines.
The butler has re-entered the building!
Retired a few years ago during a rebranding exercise, the jovial butler based on a P.G. Wodehouse character has been brought back due to overwhelming demand.
In his own words, Jeeves explains his reappearance at the UK version of Ask.com saying,
I’m back to help.
I popped out three years ago to travel the world in a quest for knowledge and I’ve returned to Blighty armed with answers. During my sojourn research showed the public wanted me back, which I found jolly touching. And in that time the engineers toiled hard to make the site look better, work harder and be more personal…just like yours truly!
Hard core web users will be happy to see Jeeves make his return however those same users would even more so love to see Ask return to being the most innovative search engine on the Web. Hopefully, with the butler back in control, Ask will have a renewed sense of purpose, one that pushes it to be as creative and cool as it was when Jim Lanzone ran the show. Here’s to hoping…