The SEO world is always Google this and Google that, but many websites find that focusing on different search engines is actually more worthwhile. Although Google is quite obviously the most popular search engine and YouTube comes in second, the third place holder, Bing, is not to be ignored. With the recent privacy changes Google made, more and more people are beginning to make the switch. There are varying numbers available and traffic to a website completely depends on the website, but Mashable reported in 2011 that Microsoft’s Bing controls 30% of the U.S. search market. Bing is less competitive, so for some small businesses this search engine is just enough.

If learning more about Bing keyword research is something you’ve been considering, now is the perfect time to dive into the deep end. Bing recently announced that their Webmaster Tools is launching an organic research tool that can offer up to six months of historical data. All the data that will be gathered from this keyword research tool will be focused on SEO, not PPC, and there is no rounding or averaging when it comes to results.

How the Bing Keyword Research Tool Works

If you are familiar with the Google’s keyword research tool, you will find that Bing has many similarities. Below is a step by step guide to help you get started:

            Step #1: Sign up for a Windows Live ID

The first thing you need to do is sign up for a Windows Live ID. If you have strictly been using Google for all things SEO, you likely do not have an ID for Bing. Fortuantely, signing up is very easy. Visit the sign up page and then you’re ready to get started. It will then ask you if you have an email address, in which case you just type in whatever address you want to use for your Windows Live ID account. You will then be prompted to fill in information including a password and a security question.

You will then have to verify your email address, and then you will have the option of reading the terms and agreements. If you accept, you simply type out your email address and hit accept. Signing up is as easy as that!

Step #2: Type in your keyword and select the country and/or language you want to be part of your results.

You will have the option to choose the country and the language that you want to be included in your results. You then type in the keyword and will get information that looks like this:

As you can see the interface is clear and quite similar to Google. Many businesses find that the option to choose the country and the language helps provide more meaningful results, and clicking the “history” button will show someone the last 25 search queries performed and give the option of generating them once again.

            Step #3: Consider using the “Strict” button for filtered results.

Bing gives you the option of filtering results that are specific to that exact phrase. If this is something you’re interested in, you must click the “strict” button shown above. For example, if I searched for credit card processing without checking the strict button (like I did above), then I am going to get the total query volume number that includes all of the phrases containing the words credit card processing.

Step #4: Hover over the results to see what your average bid and resulting CEPC would have to be if you were going to advertise.

On the left hand side of the screen, Bing provides users with a little box on the left hand side of the screen that changes as you hover over each keyword result. This will tell you how much you would need to bid and what your CPC would have to be if you wanted to advertise for that keyword. Below is a screenshot of this little box when my cursor is hovering over square credit card processing:

This tool uses the terms MainLine to discuss the ads that appear above the organic results and SideBar to talk about an ad that appears on the right side of the results.

The biggest problem with Bing’s keyword research tool is the idea that you can only search one phrase at a time. This isn’t a huge problem for very small companies, but this has many larger corporations frustrated. However, finding a way to make this tool work and help your content rank well on Bing could potentially become important in the near future.

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