A “better late than never” attitude might be in order for many website owners. Bing has finally published an official set of Webmaster guidelines in order to help companies succeed in SEO for the world’s third largest search engine. It’s hard to believe that it has taken Bing this long to make it happen (especially since Google had this down years ago), but it’s interesting to see how Bing goes about creating these guidelines and whether or not this will impact the SEO strategy of businesses. Will websites focus more on Bing now that they have something to follow?

What Makes Up the Bing Webmaster Guidelines?

The Guidelines. The guidelines discuss everything that a website owner would need to know about optimization including link building, social media, and best practices in terms of coding and content. There is also an entire section dedicated to the technical aspects of SEO for those looking to get more advanced as well as a section about what to avoid.

Where to Find the Guidelines. You can find the guidelines under a section called “Content Guidelines” under the Help section of Bing’s Webmaster tools.

How to Learn about the Guidelines. Bing also announced a series of webinars in order to help small businesses get acquainted with the new guidelines. The webinars are as follows:

  1. SEO 101 – November 28, 12pm EST
  2. Crawling Basics – December 11, 12pm EST
  3. WMT Overview – January 10, 12pm EST
  4. Authority Building – January 24, 12pm EST
  5. Search/Social Overlap – February 7, 12pm EST
  6. Tomorrow’s SEO – February 21, 12pm EST

How the Guidelines Compare to Google. In general, the guidelines are just that—general. They aren’t nearly as exhaustive as the Google guidelines, but it’s safe to say that Bing will improve in the future. This is the first official go-around, and Bing is aware that they have some more work to do. For that reason, they have created a Webmaster FAQ pdf file for small businesses serious about ranking well on Bing.

What This Means for Small Businesses (And What People Are Saying)

Having guidelines for small businesses is always better than having nothing at all, but whether or not this will make a difference is tough to say. The responses seem to be mixed. Below are a few comments that people have added about this new announcement:

  • Jason Diller on Search Engine Land

What’s a Bing? I would trust the seomoz beginners guide to seo over their crap

  • Josh on Search Engine Land

I actually think that Bing is being more transparent with their SEO (link building section) guidelines. They appear to speak black and white, unlike others who still leave a lot up to interpretation.

  • Mahesh Mohan on Search Engine Journal

Oh, okay! So this is the first time they’re coming up with a ‘real’ webmaster guidelines. Anyways both the guidelines by Google and Bing are the same…Content is STILL the king! :)

  • Matthew Anton on Digital Point

Until they send a significant amount of traffic, their TOS or guidelines will just have to hopefully align with Google, since everyone is gunning for those top spots. These guidelines will certainly fall on deaf ears.

How do you feel about the new Bing Webmaster tools? Do you think they offered enough detail to get you interested in optimization for their search engine?