Google vs. Bing – a search engine comparison


6 minute read // Artificial intelligence

As of late 2023, Google dominated the global market with an 83.49% share, while Bing’s share rose to 9.19%. Together, they hold nearly 93% of the global search engine market.

So these two search engines are the big players in our digital environment. But how are they best being used? We’ll look into the main differences and put a comparison on these two engines, so you don’t have to!

The history of Google and Bing

Founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google started as a research project named BackRub. It quickly gained prominence due to its unique method of using backlinks to determine site authority. Bing on the other hand is a baby, compared to the most famous engine. Launched in 2009, Bing evolved from Windows Live Search and MSN Search. It underwent significant updates, including a rebranding to Microsoft Bing in 2020, and has been steadily carving out its niche in the search engine market. Together, they command over 90% of the global search engine market, making them the primary focus for SEO efforts.

Direct comparison of SEO

Each engine has its features. Let’s first set up some factors, which we will have a closer look at.

The technical SEO is definitely one of the most important ones here. It represents, which websites are being ranked higher, depending on technical factors like site speed or mobile friendliness.

Google places a strong emphasis on mobile-first indexing, meaning it predominantly uses the mobile version of a site for indexing and ranking. Site speed is crucial, and with the introduction of Core Web Vitals, Google now assesses user experience factors like loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability.

Bing, while also valuing site speed and technical health, does not currently employ a mobile-first indexing approach. It maintains a single index optimized for both mobile and desktop. Bing is also known to interpret 302 temporary redirects as 301 permanent redirects after multiple crawls, differing slightly from Google’s handling of these status codes.

Metadata includes elements like meta descriptions, title tags, and meta keywords, which help search engines understand the content of a webpage.

Google has evolved to focus less on metadata and more on content quality and context. While it still uses metadata for understanding the topic of a page, it doesn’t give as much weight to meta keywords and relies more on its advanced language processing capabilities.

Bing places more importance on metadata, especially meta descriptions and keywords in anchor text. It uses these elements more directly in its ranking process, making them a crucial focus for Bing SEO optimization.

The preference of certain top-level domains (TLDs) like .com, .edu, or .gov in search rankings, also called domain types.

Google does not show an inherent preference for specific domain types. It treats all TLDs equally, focusing more on the authority and relevance of the content rather than the domain type.

Bing shows a preference for more official domain types, such as .gov and .edu. These domains are often considered more authoritative on Bing, potentially giving sites with these TLDs a ranking advantage.

Backlinks are links from other websites to your website, seen as votes of confidence in the quality of your content.

Google places significant emphasis on backlinks, using them as a key indicator of a page’s authority and relevance. The quality, relevance, and number of backlinks are crucial factors in Google’s ranking algorithm.

While Bing also considers backlinks in its ranking algorithm, it does not emphasise them as heavily as Google. The focus is more on the quality and relevance of the backlinks rather than their quantity.

Last but not least, social signals refer to the visibility and engagement a website receives on social media platforms.

Google has stated that social signals do not directly influence rankings. However, the indirect benefits, like increased visibility and traffic, can have a positive impact on SEO.

Bing explicitly acknowledges the use of social signals as a ranking factor. Pages with significant social media engagement, such as likes, shares, and comments, may receive a boost in Bing’s search results.

Paid advertising differences

Looking at these 2 engines, it’s important to also zoom in on paid ads, since they are a huge part of comparing the big players here.

Google Ads is renowned for its unparalleled audience reach, a direct result of Google’s extensive market share in the search engine world. This vast reach allows advertisers to connect with a larger and more diverse audience, enhancing the potential for widespread visibility. The platform offers plenty of targeting options, ranging from keywords and location to demographics and user behaviour, enabling advertisers to tailor their campaigns with precision. However, due to the higher level of competition on Google, the cost per click (CPC) can be relatively higher, which might impact the overall budget for some advertisers. Google Ads supports a wide array of ad formats including search ads, display ads, video ads, and shopping ads, providing versatility in how businesses can present themselves. Additionally, Google provides sophisticated tools and comprehensive analytics, allowing advertisers to track, analyse, and optimise their campaigns effectively.

On the other hand, Bing Ads, caters to a unique demographic, potentially less targeted on Google, offering a valuable opportunity for businesses looking for a specific audience. With lower competition compared to Google, Bing often offers a more cost-effective CPC, which can lead to better ROI, especially for certain industries or niches. The platform benefits from seamless integration with other Microsoft products, offering unique advertising opportunities within the Microsoft ecosystem. Similar to Google, Bing supports various ad formats, but the options and reach might differ slightly. It also has a network of partner sites, expanding the reach of ads beyond just the Bing search engine.

So, while Google offers a vast reach and advanced tools, Bing’s lower competition and unique audience can provide valuable opportunities, especially for businesses targeting specific demographics or niches.

AI features in comparison

This last topic, we really can’t miss. Since AI, especially since last year, is in all our conversations and most of our work lives, we have to take a closer look here, because Google as well as Bing are providing a handy tool here.

Google’s journey with AI in search began to take a more public and significant turn around 2015 with the introduction of RankBrain. RankBrain was a machine learning-based search algorithm that helped Google process and interpret a large fraction of search queries, particularly new or ambiguous ones. Since then, Google has continuously integrated AI into various aspects of its search and other services. Google has been known for its ongoing efforts to incorporate advanced AI and machine learning technologies into its search engine and related products. One of the most notable AI tools from Google is Bard, an advanced AI system designed to enhance search results by providing more contextually relevant and comprehensive information. Bard leverages Google’s extensive data and machine learning algorithms to understand and interpret user queries in a more nuanced manner. This results in search results that are not only accurate but also tailored to provide a deeper understanding of the topic. Additionally, Google’s AI extends to other areas such as natural language processing, image recognition, and predictive analytics, all of which contribute to a more intuitive and efficient search experience.

Bing has also been progressively integrating AI into its search engine. A notable milestone was in 2016 when Microsoft, Bing’s parent company, announced the integration of AI-based chatbots into Bing search results. Bing’s AI efforts took a significant leap with the integration of Microsoft’s AI technology, including advancements from its AI research division and the use of AI for more conversational and nuanced search results. Their AI technology is most notably through Bing Chat. This AI-powered feature offers users a more interactive and conversational approach to search. Bing Chat is designed to understand and respond to queries in a more human-like manner, allowing for a more natural interaction between the user and the search engine. This tool is particularly useful for complex or multi-part queries where users are looking for a dialogue or exploration of a topic rather than a straightforward answer. Bing’s integration of AI extends beyond just chat functionalities; it also includes enhancements in search relevance, image recognition, and the personalisation of search results.

To sum up

Google and Bing stand as the titans of the search engine world, each offering distinct approaches to SEO and user experience. Google, with its dominant market share, is often the primary focus for SEO practitioners due to its sophisticated algorithms and emphasis on mobile-first indexing, content relevance, and backlink quality. Its continuous updates, like the integration of AI and machine learning, have consistently set the bar high for search accuracy and user experience. Bing, while smaller in market share, offers unique opportunities in SEO with its different approach to ranking factors, such as a greater emphasis on metadata, social signals, and certain domain types. Additionally, Bing’s integration with Microsoft’s ecosystem and its visually immersive search results provide a different flavour to digital marketing strategies. Both search engines are pivotal in shaping online visibility strategies, and understanding their nuances is key for businesses and marketers aiming to maximise their online presence. What to note definitely – SEO is important and one of the most useful tools to gain attention in the digital world!

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