“In spite of my own reservations about Bing’s ability to convert Google users, I have to admit that the search engine does offer a genuine alternative to Google-style browsing, a more coherently organized selection of links, and a more advertiser-friendly environment through which to sell space and links.”

Douglas Rushkoff, media theorist and author of Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity

Google has been the bane of Bing’s existence since Microsoft first launched the service back in 2009. Since its inception, Bing has struggled to maintain pace with the world’s most popular search engine in nearly every capacity.

As of last year, however, the second fiddle in search hit a company milestone: it claimed 20.1 percent of the United States search market. Since that time, Bing has been gaining even more momentum as its U.S. market share has increased to 21.4 percent and it now effectively controls more than 20 percent of the U.K. search market as well. This means that roughly one out of every five searches conducted in both the U.S. and the U.K. now go through Bing.

As Bing currently processes more than 840 million searches per month, the engine’s database continues to grow and become more refined, effectively allowing marketers to establish more defined portrayals of their target audience.

All of this is quite significant news for advertisers because, on the heels of many new updates to Bing, the search engine has recently announced the addition of structured snippets to its text-based ad format and will be rolling out the feature to global markets over the next few weeks.

In the blog revealing the new ad element, Bing ads API program manager Joseph Damiani, noted the function of structured snippets and how to add them by stating: “Structured Snippets enable you to highlight specific aspects of your products and services that are important to you. You first choose a header, such as ‘Brands,’ to provide context for whatever it is you’d like to highlight. From there, simply specify snippets of text you’d like to pair with your header.”

While this information is not clickable, much like in AdWords, it still serves as a great way to highlight certain aspects of a product or service that a brand offers to help consumers make more informed decisions before clicking.

Bing did also lay out a bit of information which advertisers need to know before embarking into snippets:

  • A minimum of three snippets is required; they’ll show as many as space allows (up to 10);
  • Campaigns and ad groups can associate with up to 20 Structured Snippets;
  • Structured Snippets are not clickable and should not duplicate info already contained within an ad.

With guidelines established, marketers across the globe will soon be able to begin adding structured snippets to their ad campaigns on Bing. And with the recent upswing in users, pushing marketing and SEO efforts on Bing is becoming increasingly important. If you are not taking advantage of this search engine for SEO, you are missing out on millions of potential impressions and conversions.

Use this opportunity to kill two birds with one stone and leverage Bing’s new Structured Snippets to increase your site’s SEO on the platform. Here’s how:

Structured Snippet SEO

Firstly, it is worth noting that if you are already running various campaigns with AdWords, you can import those structured snippets over to your Bing ads. This will help to massively simplify the tedious and laborious process.

If you are starting fresh, however, it is important to optimize your ad campaign to have the largest impact on your site’s search ranking as possible. It is through keywords that you are going to gain the biggest boost from your ads, so be sure to leverage Bing’s Keyword Research Tool to establish the most relevant and high ranking terms that your audience is searching for. Additionally, it is probably not a bad idea to employ Google’s Keyword Planner — users are likely searching comparable phrases on both engines. Cross reference the results to pinpoint which will be the most fruitful words and terms to use based off of their search volume. It is important to not select the most competitive phrases, however, because these will likely produce massive expenditures with little results.

Be sure run at least two campaigns in tandem with each other to determine which keywords convert the best. Finding this information out early on will help to not only increase your SEO standings due to higher conversion rates, lowered bounce rates, and more, but will also prevent you from throwing money into an endeavor that is not worth pursuing.

You are also going to want to play around with the ad’s title and snippet to see what produces the highest click-through rate. Monetizing the traffic your ads produce is critical because your small business needs to produce an ROI on nearly all of its efforts if it is going to continue to survive.

Be sure to constantly test and analyze the ads that your brand produces for optimal performance and the highest seat you can obtain in the Bing SERPs.

As Bing continues to increase in usage and generates more data based on the queries entered, the search engine is likely to become a much greater contender for Google to battle.

The importance of advertising on Bing and conducting SEO efforts cannot be overstated. Throw your hat into the Bing arena now because it is still far less competitive than the Google SERPs. If Bing’s market share keeps trending in the direction that it has, however, it will not be as accessible for much longer. Let this sense of urgency help you win the Bing SEO war.