Today’s article will be largely a meta article, not about Linux but about getting indexed in Bing. For whatever reason, people sometimes have issues getting indexed in Bing and I was among those people.
To cut to the chase, I’ll simply say that this is no longer a problem for this site. We’re now indexed by Bing and the site shows up in their search results. In this article, I’ll tell you how. It may take me a few words to get to that point, but I’ll explain how we managed to get indexed in Bing.
So, first, let’s just say:
Welcome Bing Users!
As you may know, there’s a search engine called Bing. The search engine is owned by Microsoft and has been around since 2009. This isn’t Microsoft’s first search engine, but this incarnation has been around for a while now.
While we’re Linux users here, the Bing search engine has been known to give out some pretty solid results. Even still, Bing is far less popular than Google and they have about 3% of the web search market share.
Considering how their default browser (Edge, available for Linux) defaults to Bing as the search engine, it’s rather amazing how little people care about their search. I’ve used Bing extensively and found it gave me adequate results, especially when I used personalized search and searched from a logged-in account. Yes, they happily gave me Linux-related search results.
Bing also provides the search engine results for Yahoo. Yes, Yahoo still exists. Yes, people still use Yahoo. I am not one of those people, but I appreciate what Yahoo did for the web back in the day. So, while they’re surely a dinosaur, they’re still around and still useful for a few people.
The problem was, that I couldn’t get this site indexed by Bing. By that, Bing would happily crawl the site but they wouldn’t list me in their index. Even searching for the exact domain name showed zero results for this site. It’s a trivial amount of traffic, but I want everyone to be able to find this site and the information here.
Getting Indexed In Bing:
This site published the first article on March 6th, 2021. There is a new article published every other day, many of them are even acceptable! No matter what I did, Bing would not index Linux-Tips.
I did everything correctly. There’s no blackhat SEO, no overly weighted meta tags, no keyword stuffing, no hidden text, and no paying for links in link farms. All the links to this site (and there are thousands of them) are organic.
I even used IndexNow. I’ve used IndexNow from just about day one. That is a method of notifying Bing that new content has been published. They got this notification almost every other day. It does appear to lag sometimes, but that wouldn’t make any major difference. Bing knew the site existed and they refused to index the site. Not only that, Bing knew there was constant new content created and still refused to index the site.
I mostly ignored this. I signed up for Bing’s Webmaster Tools and authenticated the site on day one. They were even granted access to Google’s Search Console, meaning they had even more information about the site. Still, they refused to index the site.
This went on for years. Linux-Tips is more than two years old.
The Rest Of The Story:
Back in 2021, I found a form that I could fill out. I was frustrated and in a rush, so I simply gave them a link to the home page and said something like, “I am not indexed.” I hit the submit button and nothing happened. The site was already full of a lot of content, so I assumed they could figure that out on their own.
They said they’d respond, but they never did. Speaking of which, they still haven’t responded via email to anything I’ve sent them. But, no… No, they didn’t respond. I guess I don’t blame them. I left a vague message.
Earlier this month, I decided I was going to see what I could do to get to the bottom of this. I searched and searched the internet, trying to figure out why the site wasn’t indexed in Bing. One of the things I learned was that sometimes Bing will mistakenly block a site and that block can be removed. I’m not sure if that’s what happened in this case, but it seems the most likely.
There’s Another Form!
See, I found another form by following various Bing help files. This is the link you need to know about:
For whatever reason, that link isn’t loading properly for me at this point. None of the Bing tools are working for me at this moment in time. I’m unsure if that’s me, if that’s them, or if they moved the form since I looked at it yesterday.
NOTE/UPDATE: The link does work if I use a VPN. Something weird is going on with their site. My presumption is that they’ll fix it. This is above my pay grade.
You’ll have to log in, of course. If you already have a Webmaster Tools account it will populate some of the fields for you. If you don’t already have said account, you’ll probably need to make one. I already had the account. I’m reasonably sure that you can’t do much of anything without an account.
If the above link doesn’t work for you, search around for the support form and that’s the form you need. You should be able to use a drop-down menu to select indexing as the problem and you should be able to specify your site.
This is what I did…
I made my comment as brief as possible while as technical as required. I explained all those things I explained earlier in this article. The information I gave them was brief, factual, and detailed. I had to try something!
After I submitted my information on the form, making sure to select the correct options from the drop-down menu, I got an email confirming that they’d received my request. It was a canned email, an autoresponder message, and it went straight into the junk folder without me seeing it.
Amusingly, I use an outlook.com email address for this and it still went straight to spam. I never got another message. This is what that message said:
Thank you for contacting Bing Webmaster Support Team.
This email is confirmation that we have received your request for https://linux-tips.us/ and created the following Request REQ00063891 . Your ticket is being assigned to a Global Support Webmaster Engineer who will be contacting you about the next steps to resolve your issue. We will get back to you in 10 days.
Take care and stay safe!
I haven’t heard a word from them since – and that’s okay by me.
Sure enough, on the 17th of this month, I started getting traffic (in my server logs) from Bing users. When I logged into the Bing Webmaster tools, all the data was populated, showing hundreds of indexed pages. Everything was as it should be and even IndexNow appeared to be working properly.
For once, read the conclusion – as it contains more details.
If you’re having trouble getting indexed in Bing, and you meet their guidelines – including having many articles full of unique and formatted content (along with the rest of the guidelines, like meta tags and the like) – then simply root around on their site until you find the hidden contact form and send them an email.
In that email, be direct and informative – but don’t waste their time. Let them know the good things you’ve done and the good things you’re doing. Show them that you’ve followed the rules and that your site deserves to be indexed on its merits. After all, the worst thing they can do is just ignore you and not index your site.
But, of course, make sure those things are true. Read their guidelines and become familiar with what they expect. If you’re using WordPress, it’s trivial to follow the rules. Grab one of the many SEO plugins and set it up correctly. They all have adequate help files. I am not willing to spend the money hiring an SEO expert. The site is expensive enough.
Truly, I’m not an SEO expert. Heck, I’m barely qualified to be a WordPress admin, and some folks would say I’m not even qualified to do that. At the end of the day, if you’re not being indexed by Bing, just send them an email. It worked for me and I figured I’d share the results with other people who may have their sites and indexing issues.
Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.