It’s normal for your website’s search ranking on Bing to fluctuate. Like Google, Bing tweaks its ranking algorithm dozens of times each month. So even if your website ranks at the top of Bing’s search results today, a new algorithm change could lower its ranking by several positions tomorrow. Fluctuations such as this are normal and easy to overcome by adopting a sound white-hat search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. What’s not normal, however, is Bing failing to include your website in its search index.
When Bing fails to index your website, your site won’t appear anywhere in Bing’s search results for any keyword. Whether it’s your homepage or a contact-rich sub page, you won’t find your website listed anywhere in Bing’s search results. With Bing processing about 12 billion search queries per month, this means you are forfeiting a substantial amount of traffic, some of which could trigger sales or conversions on your website.
Check to See If Your Bing Has Indexed Your Website
In this blogpost
There are two ways to see if Bing has indexed your website. The first method is to search for “site:” proceeded by your website’s domain name and extension on Bing. The “site:” operator is designed to reveal all pages a search engine has indexed from the associated domain. If Bing has indexed your website, this search query should reveal your homepage listed at the top of the organic search results, followed by your sites’ other pages. If Bing hasn’t indexed your website, it won’t return any results.
The other method to tell if Bing has indexed your website involves using Bing Webmaster Tools. Available at Bing.com/Toolbox/Webmaster/, it’s similar to the Google Search Console. Using Bing Webmaster Tools, you can view and track your website’s performance in Bing’s search results, including rankings, page traffic and number of indexed pages.
After adding your website to Bing Webmaster Tools and verifying ownership — Bing supports three methods of verification, including uploading an XML file, adding a custom meta tag to your site or adding a CNAME record — you can see exactly how many pages Bing has indexed. Just click your website from the main screen and look at the far right column titled “Pages Indexed.” This column will reveal the number of pages Bing has indexed for this period and the prior period.
Bing Doesn’t Know about It Yet
If Bing doesn’t know that your website even exists, it won’t index any of its pages. It can take anywhere from a few days to several months for Bing to discover a new website. Unless there’s a backlink or mention of your website, Bing won’t know about it.
To notify Bing about your website, add it to Bing Webmaster Tools and submit a sitemap. A sitemap is a document with the XML file type that contains a list of all your pages’ URLs. In other words, it’s a map of your website that search engines use to discover the location of new pages. You can submit a sitemap to Bing using the search engine’s Webmaster Tools. In addition to building backlinks, this informs Bing that your website exists so that it can properly index it.
Bing Is Blocked from Indexing It
Even if Bing knows about your website, it may not be able to index it because you are blocking Bing. Some webmasters outsource their website’s design and development to a professional agency. When the agency builds the website, though, it may configure the website with a meta tag to block search engines from indexing the site so that they can perfect it first. Most web development agencies remove this code after they are finished with the website, but some mistakenly leave it in place. If your website has a “noindex” meta tag or HTTP header response, Bing shouldn’t index it.
To ensure that Bing can properly crawl your website, log in Bing Webmaster Tools and access “Crawl Information” on the left-hand sidebar. This will reveal any crawling errors Bing has encountered when visiting your website. Unfortunately, this only reveals crawling errors; it doesn’t reveal whether your website has the “noindex” meta tag or HTTP header response. The only way to tell if either of these elements are preventing Bing from indexing your website is to scan your website’s HTML and header response code for the “noindex” element.
Bing Filtered It Because It’s Duplicate Content
You typically won’t find two different web pages with the same content indexed in Bing’s search results. Microsoft’s search engine uses an algorithm that automatically filters web pages with duplicate content. If three pages have the same content, Bing will attempt to identify the page that published it first and include this page in its search results. The other two pages are automatically filtered from Bing’s index because they contain duplicate content. This is done to ensure that Bing users see unique pages listed in the search results.
Duplicate content can occur in a variety of scenarios, resulting in some or all your site’s pages being filtered from Bing’s search results. For example, if you’re rebranding your website under a new domain name but forget to remove the content from the old domain name, Bing will view your new domain name as duplicate content.
There’s also the possibility that another website has copied your content. Bing is pretty good at identifying which web page publishes a piece of content first. If another website uses scraping software to automatically copy and publish content from your site, though, it may trick Bing into thinking it was the first. If this happens, you should report the copyright infringement to Bing using the portal at Bing.com/Webmaster/Tools/ContentRemovalForm.
Bing Penalized It Because It Violated the Guidelines
If your website violates Bing’s guidelines, Bing may penalize it by removing it from its index. Index penalties such as this are typically associated with malware distribution or nefarious SEO practices. Using link farms to funnel link juice to your website, for instance, could trigger a penalty. If your website has been hacked and is now distributing malware to visitors, Bing may remove it from index as well.
If you believe that Bing has penalized your website, contact them directly by clicking the “Support” tab at the bottom of Bing Webmaster Tools. For the field related to your problem, click the drop-down menu and select “Index: My site is not in the index.” Upon receiving your email, Bing will investigate your website to determine why it’s not appearing in the search results.
When your website doesn’t appear in Bing’s index, you may assume that pursuing an SEO strategy on the Microsoft search engine is a lost cause. Regardless of why Bing hasn’t indexed your website, there’s almost always a solution.
Was this post helpful?
Last Updated in May 2022 by Lukasz Zelezny