We’re at Panda 3.8, now. On June 25th, Google released a new update to Panda, which affects approximately 1% of search results.

This isn’t a major update – more of a refresh. But check your traffic stats regardless. If you’ve seen a drop or increase since the 25th, realize it was likely as a result of Panda 3.8. And since this update was more of a refresh, it’s more reinforcement of Panda standards.

We’ve discussed these standards in detail before, so if you’ve experienced any change in traffic, reading that content is a great place to start.

For today’s article, we’ll be discussing the Bing vs. Google battle. The battle for the majority of search.

It’s funny. When Bing was first announced, most people couldn’t help but laugh. Microsoft, taking on Google? It seemed highly unlikely Bing would have any customers, besides those who use Bing through Internet Explorer (a large number, but a drop in the lake that is Google).

Slowly but surely, though, Bing’s been taking small victories over Google. Recently, it was announced that Bing has taken 5% of Google’s market in the past year. Sure, Google’s still ahead by leaps and bounds. But Bing’s onto something. 

They started from way behind. Not only that, it seemed like Google hadn’t even left the door open for a competitor. It seemed like Bing was running a race that didn’t even exist.

Yet they’re gaining ground. How is this possible?

The Tale of the Underdog

Bing is the underdog. From the beginning, if Bing was to have any chance at survival, they’d have to start pushing the boundaries.

Although Bing hasn’t revolutionized the face of search, they have done a lot right. For starters, they’ve listened to their users. Not only that, they’ve reached fresh markets by listening to problems and offering unique solutions.

One example? Bing Webmaster Tools.

SEO tools have always been fairly hit or miss. We had Google tools (Analytics, AdWords keyword tool, etc) and Yahoo Site Explorer, but these were tools not specifically designed with SEO in mind.

Google Analytics is a fantastic free analytics service. And it has a wealth of tools that are helpful to SEOs. That being said, it wasn’t specifically built with SEOs in mind. There’s plenty of data not offered in Google Analytics that SEO would find extremely useful.

The same goes with the Adwords Keyword Tool. This is a tool designed to help people looking to run ad campaigns – not SEO’s. Yes, it worked for SEO purposes to some degree. But it gave traffic stats that were—at best—vague. 

Yahoo Site Explorer, on the other hand, made a disappearance. This left SEOs with very few reliable tools to help with their efforts.

Bing realized this. And, with all the data being pulled from Bing, they realized they were in a position to give SEO’s everything they wanted and more.

The end result is Bing’s Webmaster Tools. These tools offer incredibly detailed search reports – reports specifically designed for SEO use. They also brought back the Yahoo Site Explorer but improved it significantly. 

Finally, they’ve created a keyword research tool that pulls data from actual Bing searches. And they don’t round the numbers, either. The end result is what could be the most reliable keyword research tool on the web.

Closing Thoughts

Yes, Google is still the leader—by far—of the search space. But Bing is using the right strategy. By creating products specifically designed for specific markets, they win over that market. In the case of SEO’s, we now view Bing in a more favorable light. And, with the 5% increase in market share, it’s likely we’ll spend a lot more time getting our sites listed on Bing.

Not only are they providing great services, but they’re also forcing Google to compete. If Google doesn’t answer with an improved Analytics and Webmaster experience, these customers will switch to Bing.

One thing’s for certain – the Google vs. Bing war is great news for searchers and SEOs!

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