Bing used to be a search engine we politely ignored. If Google rankings were moving up and Bing was stagnant, we were 99% likely to continuing our plan that helped Google move.
So now that Bing has our attention, below are four big flaws & fails to keep in mind for Bing when optimizing:
1. Bing Support Recommended Meta Keyword Optimization
To their credit, Bing Support (Microsoft Customer Support) responded extremely quickly to my request about why a client’s site wasn’t being indexed. After advising on validator.w3.org, support said “It is recommended that the site owner/publisher review SEO beste practices and update their meta-data keywords….”
The fast response was much appreciated and it was like I heard back from the university of my dreams within two weeks with a rejection letter. Offering meta keyword optimization as a suggestion to get a site indexed is like trying to put out a five alarm fire by spitting at it.
2. A Clean Validator.w3.org Report Solves Everything (False!)
Kudos to Bing support again on fast responses (no hard feelings if I don’t receive any more), but the answer to indexing problems on more than one occasion was to check the errors being reported by validator.w3.org.
The site is useful in identifying issues, but many “errors” are just small items that mean some tiny part of your code is not ISO compliant (better explanation here).
After seeing this multiple times, I think this is the first check in the support handbook. First, run the site at validator.w3.org. If it has errors, respond with the numbers. Second, if zero errors appear, optimize meta keywords?
Errors and warnings are what causes the site to not get indexed? It is possible, but with 39 errors that seem like minor coding items, I decided to check some other searches and see if the first Bing results had any errors. Below are the error reports for top search results:
Number 1 result for Used Cars
Number 1 result for Luxury Hotels
Number 1 result for Microsoft Office
So….those errors all need to be fixed in order to be properly indexed and ranked, right?
These first two flaws are about the inability to help solve problems with support. Support is super responsive, but with super ineffective answers.
3. The Canonical Does Not Work
Plain and simple. You can try fixing duplicate issues through Bing Webmaster tools, robots.txt, noindex meta, etc, but frustrating when Google takes this “suggestion” and digests it pretty well while Bing just doesn’t.
This doesn’t seem like a terrible thing except when Bing indexes affiliate ID urls and your homemade affiliate program starts paying out because of organic search.
4. Bing May Ignore The Parameters You Instruct Them To Ignore
It was supposed to be a simple solution. If the canonical doesn’t work, then you should be able to jump into Bing webmaster tools and add parameters you’d like Bing to ignore. A month after submitting we’re still seeing the pages instructed to be ignored indexed by Bing, even after being cached several times.
Bing is good at posting gorgeous pictures & having great support response times, but the issues users continue to experience make it second rate engine.