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Should you care about the Bing yes/no update?

Short answer: yes.

Google is king, but Bing is no joke. 126 million unique US users performed 6 billion searches on the Bing Network in March 2019. Today, Bing controls 36% of the US desktop search market. In general, we base our SEO success on our Google results. That means Bing has less competition, and it may be easier to enact real improvements in your ranking numbers. On top of that, Bing and Yahoo are a package deal. So, if you are well-liked by Bing, it can boost your visibility on other search platforms as well.

All of these smaller benefits add up – so it is worth putting some effort into certain types of content with Bing specifically in mind.

Usually, you don’t necessarily need to consider Bing SEO best practices separate from Google SEO best practices. Most general SEO best practices are search engine agnostic and will improve your rankings across the board if you take them on. However, every once in a while there are specific updates to be aware of per each platform.

Bing just rolled out one of those updates – the “Yes or No” featured snippet.

What is the Bing Yes/No update?

Bing can now return a clear “Yes” or “No” featured snippet answer for certain types of searches. The new search feature includes the one-word answer as well as a carousel of relevant content from various sources.

Bing’s goal of rolling out this update is to lean into the ‘micro-moments’ aspect of search. Other platforms are also working to improve the ‘micro-moment’ experience for users as well, by minimizing the number of clicks necessary to answer a query. Bing wants to answer questions quickly and efficiently for searchers that just need a one-word confirmation.

While the point of the update is to minimize the number of websites visited to find answers to questions, it’s important to try to be the information in front of the searcher that wants more elaboration on the subject. The updates still list where they are pulling the information from, so this prestigious position proves domain expertise and authority. If someone needs additional information past a “yes” or “no” – which will happen often – they will most likely click on the source that the snippet is pulling from.

Along with the yes/no answer snippet, Bing will also include a snippet carousel of the top six sources for additional information. That is prime real estate for your content! These pieces of content will be the next likeliest sources for users to visit, after the information pulling the yes or no. If Bing regards them as the best sources for info, users will agree.

What can I do to leverage this update?

Write content that answers a specific question related to your company and industry.

To maximize your chances of benefitting from the Bing Yes or No update, only tackle questions that are related to your domain authority and expertise.

Search engines know when you are writing about relevant content and when you are not. If you are just trying to tackle “easy win” queries that don’t relate to the pain-points of your audience, it won’t get your far.

Not only are you less likely for the efforts to pay off for irrelevant content, but it also won’t matter much if it does. Medium levels of relevant traffic are much more valuable than high levels of random traffic.

So, spend time hashing out the topics that will not only be easy for you to answer with your company’s content, but also could result in some new customers.

Answer questions clearly and in full – don’t be afraid to answer the yes/no question in detail.

Search engines love a well-answered question. Whatever you need to do to answer a question in full, whether it’s a tutorial, video, case study, or anything, use it.

A great way to format this information to maximize featured snippet opportunities is to offer a short-version answer and long-form answer. Give a summary answer in the intro of your blog with a simple, clear lexicon. Think about offering the perfect, succinct blurb that the featured snippet carousel can pull. Then, go into the weeds of the answer in the following paragraphs.

For example, if you are answering ‘Can dogs eat chocolate’, your blurb would be

‘No, dogs can’t eat chocolate. It is bad for digestion and is a choking hazard.”

Then, you can continue to go in-depth with content into why it affects the digestive system, safer alternatives, whatever you want to touch on. The key is offering both long-form and skim-able content.

Use the question is the title of your content.

This is a straight forward way to leverage low-hanging fruit and make it clear what you are tackling in the content. The clearer you are on what question you are answering, the easier it is for Bing to take your information into account and the more likely they will be able to pull from your information.

On the same vein, use the terms Yes or No in the intro. That’s a bit self-explanatory, but this format is all about making it as clear as possible what the questions and answers are.

For example, instead of:

“Dogs have a hard time ingesting and digesting many foods, including chocolate.”

You can say:

“No, dogs should not consume chocolate. Dogs have a hard time ingesting and digesting this food, among others.”

As with all content strategies, quality writing and explanations will prevail.

The more value you put into your content, the more value you will get out of your content.

This is a universal truth for all goals, and our content goals are no exception. A great habit to form is when you come up with a content idea, do some competitor research before jumping into the creation process. Type your idea into Bing and see what already exists to answer the query or solve the problem. Do a quick inventory of the top results, and confirm that you can (or will) create a better piece of content than the top results.

In a nutshell, understand how competing content is offering information, and your objective should be to be the highest quality piece of content you can find on the subject.

If you don’t have that mindset, you may not get much done with your content efforts. Because – who wants to read the 7th best article on a topic when you have access to the 1st article?

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While this update is still in the introductory stage of its rollout, the next phase will be interesting watching how Bing prioritizes content and who they highlight. Jumping on the bandwagon early could prove to be beneficial, and with a low-risk high-reward project, it just might be worth a shot.

Having a solid understanding of SEO trends is crucial to getting your content in front of the right people. Reach out to our team to learn more about optimizing your website data for all search engines!

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