bingThink Bing is worthless?  Guess again. It’s integrated with Twitter, Facebook, and Yelp.  Keep reading: it gets better.

When you get to the point that a brand turns into a verb, you know that it’s nearly impossible for anyone else to compete. “Google this” instead of “search this” has become a regular part of our daily vocabulary. Instant branding.

But what about the other search engines out there? Maybe Bing stands out to you. Maybe you’ve used Bing by default from purchasing Microsoft products and use it for convenience.

Or perhaps you’ve been intrigued by their “Bing It On” campaign in which they prompt you to search for 5 different topics and pick between Bing results or Google results in a blind test.

I must admit that I had a friend try it and the results were in favor of Bing 3 out of 5 times.

You’ve probably by now come across their various ad campaigns at one point or another. They’ve put out attention-grabbing, curiousity-driven advertising that makes you stop to consider (if you haven’t already), “What is Bing all about?” When it comes to your SEO strategy, it’s an answer you need to know.

Social Signals in Search

While there’s some discrepancy in the statement, “Being active on social networks leads to higher search rankings,” in Bing’s case this is mostly on point. One thing is for sure, Bing will serve up recent tweets in a search.

To be fair, the search has to be for a hot, trending topic or for a person who has achieved celebrity status. They appear along the right side of the search results (where you’d find ads in Google) you can see a Twitter feed with tweets related to that search.

Twitter established a deal with Bing in 2009 to allow this and it has since been renewed twice.

So, it’s just Twitter?

No, actually Bing’s deal with Facebook is where it gets a little more interesting. You may have noticed in one of the many recent changes in Facebook that the search changed significantly. If you simply click in the search bar, there’s a drop-down option that includes “Restaurants nearby” for example. Click on it and Bing! Instant results.

Bing also powers the search within Facebook.

But, what does Facebook do for Bing?

Ok, so Facebook status updates aren’t streaming in Bing’s regular search results, but you can find them in Bing.com/social. Type in your search topic or select one of the provided trending topics and you’ll get search results from only Twitter or Facebook with instantaneous streaming updates.

Local Search Powered by…

Yelp powers Bing’s local search results. (This includes Facebook’s “Restaurants nearby” if you haven’t connected the dots). Safe to say that Bing is relying on a user experience that is provided by users? Just like any search engine, the main goal is to deliver reliable, quality search results that best match what the searcher is looking for. Bing is taking this a step further by including the social search aspect.

If this wasn’t readily apparent already: Do not neglect social networking in your SEO strategy.

Bing Webmaster Tools

Maybe you’ve already added your website to Google Webmaster Tools to help you manage your SEO strategy, but have you done the same with Bing?

Bing Webmaster Tools allows you to manage your search engine optimization, they give you tools to help start and track an SEO plan. They offer two tools to accomplish this: SEO Reports and SEO Analyzer.

SEO Reports runs automatically and does not require you to prompt it when you want a report. The report you receive will advise you on what to change to optimize your site more effectively. You can see a brand new report every 2-3 weeks without having to do much at all.

If you want to have more precise reporting, the SEO Analyzer give you just that. Instead of auto-running, you must manually enable it. This report gives you a full SEO analysis of the specific page you point it to. It will provide you with SEO information for each page at a time, but there is no limit to the reports that you’re able to run.

For 2012, Comscore released statistics that cited Google as having 66.7% of the search engine market share in the United States, with first-runner-up Bing only at 16.3%. Google’s dominance is not surprising, given its notoriety, however after all of Bing’s efforts surrounding social media it will be interesting to see how 2013 measures up.

While it’s not likely to surpass Google anytime soon, it is a key player and should not be ignored when developing a sound SEO strategy that covers all bases.