In a recent blog post, Bing’s Senior Program Manager, Michael Basilyan, revealed some important ranking factors that the web’s second largest search engine uses to sort content. Emphasizing the user-end of search engine interactions, the company stated that their algorithm relies on what they call the “Three Pillars of Content Quality,” which they explain as: Authority, Utility and Presentation.
Authority: Can we trust this content?
In the shady haze of the internet, determining if a site is “trustworthy” isn’t so simple. Bing hopes to elevate authoritative content by assessing signals from social networks, name recognition, author identity and cited sources. What Bing counts as a respected author identity changes from query to query. For example, the search engine stated that health-related articles will be evaluated based on the author’s professional medical background. Number one no-no? Publishing content under a “anonymous” or “admin.”
Utility: Is the content useful and sufficiently detailed?
Bing is looking for articles that most comprehensively cover the topic posed in users’ search queries. This means enriching content with supporting information and multimedia, from videos to photos to graphs, will increase your chances of showing up higher in results pages. The search engine is also taking depth level into account based on the intended audience for the content. Like Google, Bing also considers duplicate content and prefers sites that post unique articles, as opposed to secondhand stories.
Presentation: Is the content well-presented and easy to find?
The most design-focused aspect of Bing’s Three Pillars of Content Quality, presentation aspects include readability, ease of access and general content placement. According to Basilyan, “Poorly presented websites require the user to wade through introductory or unrelated material to access meaningful content.” How you arrange your own content isn’t the only factor the search engine incorporates into its final pillar. Partnered content in the form of advertisements also affect SERP placement. If your ad placement and content inhibits user experience, whether through copy-blocking pop-ups or ads that are irrelevant to your website’s niche, don’t expect a boost from Bing.
Overall, most of Bing’s content quality pillars overlap with Google ranking factors, from page design to keyword relevancy. As continues to be the case across all search engines, create for the user first and the rankings should follow.