In the newly updated Bing webmaster guidelines, Bing disclosed how it ranks content in the Bing search results. Well, it doesn’t disclose the exact ranking formula, but it does describe that it uses these areas for ranking; relevance, quality & credibility, user engagement, freshness, location and page load time.
As I covered in my Search Engine Land story, Bing wrote “please note that Bing’s complex ranking systems use many criteria to deliver search results, and the relative importance of each of the parameters described below may vary from search to search and may evolve over time.” Bing also did say these “are listed in general order of importance.”
That being said, the interesting points here is that while Google says it does not use things like authorship or user engagement metrics, Bing seems to say they do. Bing says they can and may use metrics such as if users click through to search results, or did users spend time on these search results they clicked through to or did they quickly return to Bing – aka pogosticking. Again, these are all things Google said it does not use but Bing seems to.
In addition, Bing said it may demote sites that use offensive language; “Bing may demote content that includes name-calling, offensive statements, or uses derogatory language to make a point), the completeness of the content, and transparency of authorship.”
Here is what Bing listed out:
- Relevance: Relevance refers to how closely the content on the landing page matches the intent behind the search query. This includes matching terms directly on the page as well as terms used in links referring to the page. Bing also considers semantic equivalents, including synonyms or abbreviations, which may not be exact matches of the query terms but are understood to have the same meaning.
- Quality and Credibility: Determining the quality and credibility of a website includes an evaluation of the page itself, including such factors as the author’s or site’s reputation, the level of discourse (for example, an article with citations and references to data sources is considered higher quality than one that does not explain cite data sources; Bing may demote content that includes name-calling, offensive statements, or uses derogatory language to make a point), the completeness of the content, and transparency of authorship.
- User engagement: Bing also considers how users interact with search results. To determine user engagement, Bing asks questions like: Did users click through to search results for a given query, and if so, which results? Did users spend time on these search results they clicked through to or did they quickly return to Bing? Did the user adjust or reformulate their query? The Bing Webmaster Dashboard will provide insights into how users interact with your webpages.
- Freshness: Generally Bing prefers content that is more “fresh” – meaning that the page consistently provides up-to-date information. In many cases, content produced today will still be relevant years from now. In some cases, however, content produced today will go out of date quickly.
- Location: In ranking results Bing considers where the user is located (country and city), where the page is hosted, the language of the document, or the location of other visitors to the page.
- Page load time: Slow page load times can lead a visitor to leave your website, potentially before the content has even loaded, to seek information elsewhere. Bing may view this as a poor user experience and an unsatisfactory search result. Faster page loads are always better, but webmasters should balance absolute page load speed with a positive, useful user experience.
Some say this means Bing uses EAT for ranking:
Anyway – what do you all thing? What is interesting to you in what Bing lists out as their ranking factors and signals?
Forum discussion at Twitter.