What Are the Differences Between Google, Yahoo, and Bing?

Google, Yahoo, and Bing are three of the biggest search engines in the world. Collectively, they fulfill trillions of searches every year, and they constantly compete for more users in the search market.

But what makes them different? After all, if you’ve used one search engine, you’ve used the other two, right?

Not necessarily.

Google, Yahoo, and Bing are all different in key ways, and it’s important to understand that if you want to use them or optimize your site for them.

On this page, we’ll look at the different features and algorithms that each search engine uses to deliver results to its users. If you’d like to speak with a specialist about how you can advertise on any of these search engines, you can reach us at 888-601-5359.


Google is the titan of the search industry. The company constantly updates and innovates its search algorithm to maintain its position as the front-runner of the world of search.

That also makes it the most important search engine for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.

Regardless, this is how Google’s search algorithm works:

  •  Google’s algorithm includes roughly 200 factors it considers on each search
  • Google’s crawlers index frequently-updated sites more often.
  • Google regularly updates their algorithm with significant changes, and they don’t always announce those changes.
  • Google can index text content in Flash files.
  • Google considers click-through rate (CTR) and external link as major factors.
  • Google generally values user experience above all other factors. So if your page is user-friendly, it’ll also do well in Google search results.

In addition, you also have Google search features that affect how websites are displayed in results.

  • Similar Google searches can show in a carousel at the top of the page.
  • Google’s knowledge graph could answer your search without requiring you to click.
  • Images may show at the top or side of the page.
  • Map results may show at the side of a page.
  • Paid ads show at the top and side of a page.
  • Local business listings show at the top and side of a page.
  • Google’s practical jokes and Easter eggs (like “askew” or “do a barrel role”) can alter the appearance of results.
  • Generally, Google is much more text-based.

With those characteristics in mind, you should have a basic idea of how Google functions for most searches.

Now, let’s take a look at Bing and Yahoo.

Bing / Yahoo

yahoo and bing search bars

The reason we’re discussing Bing and Yahoo in the same section is because they’re actually the same search engine.

Both companies run off of Bing’s search, and that means Yahoo is more of a web portal than a search engine (like it was in the 1990s).

As a result, they share the same algorithm characteristics:

  • Bing also uses about 200 ranking factors to determine search results.
  • Bing favors pages that are connected to social media accounts.
  • Bing can read Flash files.
  • Bing considers a site’s CTR and external links as primary factors.
  • Bing prefers sites that provide a good user experience.
  • Bing uses authorship metrics through a partnership with Klout.

Let’s also take a look at the search result features in search results:

  • Bing tries to show all variations of a search term if it’s vague.
  • Bing’s snapshot pane could answer your search before you click anything.
  • Images, videos, and related search results could all show at the top and side of search results.
  • Paid ads show at the top and side of search results.
  • Bing doesn’t use practical jokes or Easter eggs in its search results.
  • Generally, Bing is much more visual-based.

So how can you make sure your site shows up in search results for all three of these search engines?

Optimizing your site for Google, Bing, and Yahoo

Because of the subtle nuances of these search engines, there’s not a single catch-all solution to optimizing your site for all of them.

Instead, you need to go through your site step by step and make sure it’s optimized. These are seven tips that will help you optimize your site for all search engines.

  1. Make your site mobile-friendly. Google already uses it as a ranking factor, and Bing is close behind.
  2. Create a positive user experience. Easy navigation, modern web design, and informative content all play a part in a good user experience.
  3. Use keywords in your title tags, image alt attributes, and meta descriptions.
  4. Use authorship whenever possible, since Bing looks at it (Google does not).
  5. Use Flash sparingly. If you use it, include plain text around it, so Google understands what the page is about.
  6. Build external links. Links are most likely the biggest factor for both Google and Bing’s algorithms.

With those steps, you’re well on your way to creating a site that ranks well on all major search engines.

WebFX is an expert SEO agency

At WebFX, we have a whole team of SEO experts who work with Google, Bing, and Yahoo on a daily basis. That means we know all the best practices and strategies that will help your site rank well in search results. We’ve helped websites from all kinds of companies show up better in valuable searches — now we’ll do the same for you!

Contact us today to create a unique SEO strategy that’ll help your business grow!