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Bing Webmaster Guidelines

Written By David Dzung on Sunday, May 25, 2014 | 5/25/2014 08:40:00 PM

These guidelines cover a broad range of topics and are intended to help your content be found and indexed within Bing.  These guidelines will not cover every instance, nor provide prescriptive actions specific to every website.  For more information, you should read our self-help documents and follow the Bing Webmaster Blog.  In your Bing Webmaster Tools account, you will find SEO Reports and the SEO Analyzer tool for on-demand scanning of individual pages.  Both resources will offer basic guidance and recommendations in regards to site optimizations that you can apply to your site. 


Content is what Bing seeks.  By providing clear, deep, easy to find content on your website, we are more likely to index and show your content in search results.  Websites that are thin on content, showing mostly ads or affiliate links, or that otherwise redirect visitors away to other sites quickly tend not to rank well.  Your content should be easy to navigate, rich and engaging to the visitor, and provide them the information they seek.  In many cases, content produced today will still be relevant years from now. In some cases, however, content produced today will go out of date quickly.
Links pointing to your site help Bing discover new pages on your site. It also, traditionally, is regarded as a signal of popularity. The site linking to your content is essentially telling Bing they trust your content.  As a result, Bing rewards links that have grown organically, that is, that have been added over time by content creators on other trusted, relevant websites made to drive real users from their site to your site. Abusive tactics that aim to inflate the number and nature of inbound links such as links buying, participating in link schemes (link farms, link spamming and excessive link manipulation) can lead to your site being delisted from the Bing index.


Social media plays a role in today’s effort to rank well in search results.  The most obvious part it plays is via influence.  If you are influential socially, this leads to your followers sharing your information widely, which in turn results in Bing seeing these positive signals.  These positive signals can have an impact on how you rank organically in the long run.


Being indexed is the first step to developing traffic from Bing.  The main pathways to being indexed are:
  • Links to your content help Bing find it, which can lead us to index your content
  • Use of features within Bing Webmaster Tools such as Submit URL and Sitemap Upload are also ways to ensure we are aware of your content
Managing how Bingbot crawls your content can be done using the Crawl Control feature inside Bing Webmaster Tools.  This feature allows you to control when, and at what pace, Bingbot crawls your website.  Webmasters are encouraged to allow Bingbot to crawl quickly and deeply to ensure we find and index as much content as possible.


This element has a direct impact on the satisfaction a user has when they visit your website.  Slow load times can lead to a visitor simply leaving your website, seeking their information elsewhere.  If they came from our search results that may appear to us to be an unsatisfactory result that we showed.  Faster is better, but take care to balance absolute page load speed with a positive, useful user experience.


This file is a touch point for Bingbot to understand how to interact with your website and its content.  You can tell Bingbot where to go, where not to go and by doing so guide its efforts to crawl your content.  The best practice is to have this file placed at the root of your domain (www.yourwebsite.com/robots.txt) and maintain it to ensure it remains accurate.
This file is very powerful and has the capacity to block Bingbot from crawling your content.  Should you block Bingbot, we will not crawl your content and your site or content from your site may not appear in our search results.


This file often resides at the root of your host, say, www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml, and contains a list of all of the URLs from your website.  Large sites may wish to create an index file containing links to multiple sitemap.xml documents, each containing URLs from the website.  Care should be taken to keep these files as clean as possible, so remove old URLs if you take that content off your website.
Most websites have their sitemap files crawled daily to locate any fresh content.  It’s important to keep your sitemap files clean and current to help us find your latest content.


The technology used on your website can sometimes prevent Bingbot from being able to find your content.  Rich media (Flash, JavaScript, etc.) can lead to Bing not being able to crawl through navigation, or not see content embedded in a webpage.  To avoid any issue, you should consider implementing a down-level experience which includes the same content elements and links as your rich version does.  This will allow anyone (Bingbot) without rich media enabled to see and interact with your website.


If you move content on your website from one location to another, using a redirect makes sense.  It can help preserve value the search engine has assigned to the older URL, helps ensure any bookmarks people have remain useful and keeps visitors to your website engaged with your content.  Bing prefers you use a 301 permanent redirect when moving content, should the move be permanent.  If the move is temporary, then a 302 temporary redirect will work fine.  Do not use the rel=canonical tag in place of a proper redirect.


The rel=canonical element helps us determine which version of a URL is the original, when multiple version of a URL return the same content.  This can happen when, for example, you append a tracking notation to a URL.  Two discrete URLs then exist, yet both have identical content.  By implementing a rel=canonical, you can tell us the original one, giving us a hint as to where we should place our trust.  Do not use this element in place of a proper redirect when moving content.


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