With the upcoming switch to Bing SERPs coming sooner than expected (August/September), there are a number of great things this will bring about for clients. In the same breath, there are numerous items, specifically in Bing webmaster tools, that make absolutely no sense. These are some major issues that should be reviewed before the transition.
1. Returning Accurate Results
You've Googled yourself. Possibly several times over the course of a year. For a Google search for some guy like Wil Reynolds, you would expect SEER Interactive to show up as a top result. It does, and has for years. Only since March has Bing brought back www.seerinteractive.com in the first 30 results. This is one instance of many where Bing brings back tons of fillers like YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, even Classmates before the company website.
While Rand posted an extremely detailed good read that concluded with Google & Bing being extremely similar, results do not always show this trend.
2. Handling of 301 redirects
With cold hard facts in our hands, we can absolutely say Bing has trouble with 301 redirects. It could be that more value is lost through the Bing algorithm. Bing could be having trouble accurately following 301 redirects. Bing may have extreme difficulties accurately following multiple redirects. Whichever the reason, after @marklavoritano pushed out his 301 redirect post we know there are big issues.
3. Site Domain Scores
These are a joke. It might as well be a 1-5 bar scale of how many preschoolers think the screen looks shiny when the website is loaded.
Just as SEER has a 5/5 score, all of the outbound links from our site have a 5/5 bar score. Going through Bing Webmaster Tools for 10 clients, I have never seen a score that was less than 5/5 bars. PR0 or PR8, two inbound links or 10,000, 5/5 is the score we're seeing. It looks like the only qualification for your site to receive a 5/5 is to not have white text or you don't give your visitors spyware.
While another pagerank type of score would not be very helpful, giving every site a 5/5 score has no use at the moment.
4. Blocking a Site and Indexed Pages
I have a client who doesn't rank for their own name in Bing. WMTools shows the following information:
The site has been around for ten years. It ranks on the first page of Google for the industry's most competitive keyword. They have links from credible resources. They link to credible resources. They publish fresh content. Bing hates them.
If you do not rank for your own name, Bing has 2000+ pages indexed, and rankings fell from being superb to nothing, it sounds like the site is getting blocked. After contacting support three times, Bing definitively said that the site was not being blocked or penalized. The issue was that validator.w3.org reported numerous errors with the site and if those errors are fixed, the site should be indexed more thoroughly.
a. the site used to rank extremely well b. it is not doing anything shady, especially compared to others in the industry ranking well c. the site has history, backlinks, & links to credible sites (all 5/5 bars, so they must be credible?) d. no major changes were made to the site architecturally
So Bing suddenly flipped a switch because errors were reported at validator.w3.org? Strange.
Being more helpful with information would be great for the indexed pages & the "blocked" notification area. If there are 2000+ pages and zero show up for ANY searches, there is something very very wrong with Bing indexing the site.
5. Select Issue Type
Bing has a terrible time reporting 404s. There are a handful of clients with some major 404 lists in Google Webmaster Tools and it has been extremely helpful to find a few of these with some major links pointing to them. Bing reports the same sites as having no data available. One site had 300+ 404 pages reported by Google, but zero were reported in Bing.
Finding site issues & identifying them in WMT would be extremely beneficial. Is Bing currently unable to find these, or just unwilling to thoroughly report on them right now?
These are five big items that came to mind where I experienced Bing to be lacking. While a monster upcoming change like using Bing SERPs is exciting for SEO, it could just exacerbate the issues we're already seeing.