Bing Webmaster Center FAQs

Bing Webmaster Center FAQs
Bing Webmaster Center FAQs
Table of Contents
Webmaster Center tools
How do I start using Bing Webmaster Center tools?
What does the authentication code do?
How do I add the Webmaster Center tools authentication code to my website?
Why does my website’s authentication fail?
I’m not able to gain access to Webmaster Center with the authentication code used in a <meta> tag. Can you help?
How can I find information about the status of my website in the Bing index?
How can I tell which websites are linking to mine?
What issues did Bing encounter while crawling my website?
Can I access the Webmaster Center tools functionality through the Bing API?
How does my website perform when people use Bing to search for specific words?
IIS SEO Toolkit
How do I download the IIS SEO Toolkit?
Can I run the IIS SEO Toolkit in Windows XP?
Can I use the IIS SEO Toolkit to probe and analyze my Apache-based website?
Where can I get more information about using the IIS SEO Toolkit?
Ranking
How does Bing determine how to rank my website?
How can I increase the ranking for a website hosted in another market?
How do I relocate my website’s content to a new URL without losing my page rank status?
Why isn’t my site ranking well for my keywords?
How can I develop better keyword targets for my site?
How important are inbound links? Are all inbound link equal?
How do I get more high quality inbound links?
Do inbound links from low-quality sites adversely affect Bing ranking?
Why has my site’s rank for a keyword recently dropped?
Will paid links or link exchanges get my site the top ranking as advertised?
Do the optimization recommendations you give for Bing affect my ranking performance with other search engines?
Crawling
How do I submit my website to Bing?
Is my robots.txt file configured properly for MSNBot?
What is the name of the Bing web crawler?
Why isn’t Bing fully crawling my site?
Bing is crawling my site, so why isn’t it indexing my pages?
Bing Webmaster Center FAQ (last updated on March 15, 2010)
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Robots Exclusion Protocol (REP) directives in web page code
How do I prevent a search engine bot from following a specific link on my page?
How do I prevent all search engine bots from following any links on my page?
How do I prevent all search engine bots from indexing the content on my page?
How do I prevent just MSNBot bot from indexing the content on my page?
How do I use REP directives to remove my website from the Bing index?
How do I prevent all search engine bots from indexing any content on my website?
Which REP directives are supported in <meta> and X-Robots-Tags in Bing?
Which REP directives take precedence for allowing content to be indexed versus disallowing the bot access to content?
Robots Exclusion Protocol (REP) directives in robots.txt files
How can I control which crawlers index my website?
How do I specify what portions or content types in my website are off-limits to bots?
Do Disallow directives in robots.txt block the bot from crawling the specified content?
How do I use wildcard characters within robots.txt?
How can I limit the crawl frequency of MSNBot?
How do I increase the Bing crawl rate for my site?
Can I point the bot to my Sitemap.xml file in robots.txt?
How do I control bots with directives for files and directories that use non-ASCII characters?
Indexing
How does Bing generate a description of my website?
Why was my website removed from the Bing index?
How does Bing index websites?
Why is my website having trouble getting indexed?
What are Bing’s guidelines for webmasters getting their sites indexed?
How do I remove my website from the Bing index?
How do I request that Bing remove a bad link to my website?
If my website was mistakenly identified as web spam and removed from the Bing index, how do I get it added back?
Why is the number of my indexed pages in Bing decreasing?
Sitemaps and mRSS
How do I create a Sitemap of my website?
What is the required structure for an XML Sitemap file?
How do I submit a Sitemap to Bing?
How do I submit more than one Sitemap?
Does Bing support Sitemap index files?
How do I create a media RSS (mRSS) file for submitting my media to the Bing index?
Web page coding for SEO
How do I add a description to the source code of my webpage that search engines can use in their results page listings?
Bing Webmaster Center FAQ (last updated on March 15, 2010)
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How do I disable the use of Open Directory descriptions for my webpage in its source code?
What is the difference between relative vs. absolute links?
What is the proper URL format syntax in the anchor tag?
How can I apply keywords to linked pages when I use inline linking?
How do I designate my web page’s code as either HTML or XHTML?
How do I declare the intended language type for my web page?
How do I disable the Document Preview feature for my website’s result in the Bing SERP?
What are the SEO basics that every webpage using Rich Internet Application (RIA) technology should include?
What else can I do to make my RIA-based webpages more easily indexable?
Malware
Why should I be concerned about malicious software (malware) on my website?
Bing's Webmaster Center tools say my site has malware on it, but other search engine tools do not. Whom do I trust?
When I searched for my website in Bing and clicked the link in the results, a message box popped up that said something about
the site containing malicious software (malware). Can I ignore that?
Once I’ve cleaned up the infection, how do I get the malware warning removed from my site’s listing in Bing?
How do I protect my website from malware?
Web spam
What sort of content does Bing consider to be web spam?
How do I report web spam that I find in search engine results pages to Bing?
My website offers tax-related services. As a result, I use the word “tax” numerous times in my content. Could Bing consider my
site to be web spam due to the appearance of keyword stuffing? When do I cross the line from acceptable use to web spam?
Regarding backlinks in forum comments and link-level web spam, is it only a problem when the page linked to is not relevant to
the conversation in the forum, or is this a problem for all backlinks?
Miscellaneous
How do I implement a custom 404 error page for my site?
How do I configure Apache to perform content encoding (aka HTTP compression)?
How do I add a basic Bing search box to search the entire Web from my website?
How do I add a basic Bing search box to search just my website?
How do I add an advanced Bing search box to my site?
How do I navigate to Webmaster Center from the Bing home page?
How do I have my news website added into the Bing News Service list?
How do I get my company listed in the Bing local listings?
How can I improve the likelihood that my local business contact information (address and phone number) from my website will
get into the Bing index?
Blog
How can I subscribe to the blog so that I am notified of new posts as they are published?
Why do I have to register as a user in the Webmaster Center blog just to post a comment?
Why wasn't my question in the Webmaster Center blog comments answered?
Bing Webmaster Center FAQ (last updated on March 15, 2010)
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Why did my blog comment disappear?
Is it a good link building technique to add my site's URL in every comment I make in the Bing Webmaster Center blog?
Bing Webmaster Center FAQ (last updated on March 15, 2010)
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Webmaster Center tools
Q: How do I start using Bing Webmaster Center tools?
A: You first need to register your site with Webmaster Center. This will provide you with an authentication code, which you will need
to add to your website. For more information on adding a site to Webmaster Center Tools, see the online Help topic Add your
website to Webmaster Center.
Q: What does the authentication code do?
A: Your use of the Webmaster Center authentication code proves that you own the site. Place the Webmaster Center-provided
authentication code at the root of your website per the instructions found in the online Help topic Authenticate your website.
Webmaster Center uses authentication to ensure that only the rightful owners are provided with detailed information about their
websites.
A website is authenticated when, after you successfully log in to Webmaster Center, you click its link on the Site List webpage. If the
authentication is successful, Webmaster Center gives you access to its tools for exploring your website.
Q: How do I add the Webmaster Center tools authentication code to my website?
A: Before you can use Webmaster Center tools with your website, you need to register your site. You will be given a customized
authentication code that you need to apply to your site to ensure no one else can access the information provided.
The authentication code, which must be placed at the root folder of your website's registered host name space, can be added in two
ways.
Upload an XML file to the root folder
Bing provides you with a custom XML file containing your authentication code that you can save to the root folder of your website.
The name of the file is LiveSearchSiteAuth.xml. The format of the authentication code content within the XML file should look similar
to this example:
<?xml version="1.0"?>
<users>
<user>0123456789ABCDEF0123456789ABCDEF</user>
</users>
Add a <meta> tag to the default webpage
You can add a <meta> tag containing the authentication code to the <head> section of your default webpage. The format of the
authentication code entry within the <head> section should look similar to this example:
<meta name="msvalidate.01" content="0123456789ABCDEF0123456789ABCDEF" />
Q: Why does my website’s authentication fail?
A: There are several reasons why authentication might fail. Let's explore the reasons so that you can resolve authentication errors
for your website.
Bing Webmaster Center FAQ (last updated on March 15, 2010)
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Errors
Possible causes
The time-out duration for each method of authenticating a website is 14 seconds. Time-out errors can occur for a
variety of reasons:
•
Time-out
errors
Distance time-out. Authenticating websites on servers that require a large number of network router hops
to reach might exceed the time-out error margin. This could be an issue for websites located far away
from the Webmaster Center servers in western North America.
Network problem time-outs. Slow or congested networks might cause time delays that exceed the timeout error margin.
Redirect time-outs. Webpages that make extensive use of page redirects, which increases the time
needed to get to the eventual destination webpage, might exceed the time-out error margin.
•
•
A combination of any and all of these reasons can contribute to time-out errors. If possible, check whether your
network router's external routing tables might have become corrupted.
If the file containing the authentication code isn't found in the root folder of the registered website, including in
either the LiveSearchSiteAuth.xml file or the default webpage, the authentication process fails. The following are
a few of the most common reasons why this error occurs:
•
File not found
(404 error)
Incorrect or
missing code
•
Missing XML file. The LiveSearchSiteAuth.xml file containing the registered authentication code wasn't
found in the root folder of the website. Confirm that the LiveSearchSiteAuth.xml file is saved at the root
folder of your website.
Cloaking. Webmasters who choose to use cloaking technology might accidentally overlook placing the
Webmaster Center authentication code in the cloaked version of their content, so the authentication of
the cloaked website fails. Check to see that the authentication code exists for the cloaked content. If you
use cloaking and you have problems with getting your website authenticated with Webmaster Center,
see the online Help topic Troubleshoot issues with MSNBot and website crawling for information on
properly updating cloaked webpages.
Webmaster Center couldn't find the registered authentication code for the website in the <meta> tag within the
<head> section of the default webpage's HTML code. Confirm that the authentication code used in your website
matches the one registered for that website on Webmaster Center's Site List webpage.
Note: This error can occur if either an incorrect authentication code or no authentication code is found.
Server offline
(500 error)
The target web server is offline or not available to Webmaster Center on the network. Check the availability
status of your web server.
Other
An error occurred with Bing and the Webmaster Center tools are temporarily unavailable. This error doesn't
indicate a problem with your website. Bing apologizes for the inconvenience. If the problem persists over time,
see the General Questions section of the Webmaster Center forum and post a question for more information.
For more information on site authentication, see the online Help topic Authenticate your website.
Q: I’m not able to gain access to Webmaster Center with the authentication code used in a <meta> tag. Can you help?
A: The Webmaster Center online Help topic Authenticate your website recommends using a <meta> tag formed as follows:
<meta name="msvalidate.01" content="0123456789ABCDEF0123456789ABCDEF" />
However, some users attempt to combine the flow of authentication codes for multiple sites in the <meta> tags. If you must use the
<meta> tag method of authentication (as opposed to the XML file authentication method as described in the Help topic), we
recommend placing your Bing Webmaster Center authentication code last so that it is not followed by a space. In addition,
Webmaster Center does look for the proper XHTML-based closing of the <meta> tag – the “ />”, so be sure to use this closing in your
code.
This issue is discussed further in the Webmaster Center forum topic Site Verification Error for Bing Webmasters Tools.
Bing Webmaster Center FAQ (last updated on March 15, 2010)
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Q: How can I find information about the status of my website in the Bing index?
A: Log in to the Webmaster Center tools and check the information on the Summary tool tab. The Summary tool displays the most
recent date your website was crawled, how many pages were indexed, its authoritative page score, and whether your site is blocked
in the index. You will first need to sign up to use Bing Webmaster Center tools.
For more information about signing up for and using the Webmaster Center tools, see the online Help topic Add your website to
Webmaster Center. For more information about this particular tool, see the online Help topic Summary tool.
Q: How can I tell which websites are linking to mine?
A: Use the Webmaster Center Backlinks tool to access a list of URLs that link to your website. These links are also known as inbound
links. Often these links are from webpages that discuss your products or organization. Identifying such webpages can be valuable as
a means of identifying sources of promotion, feedback, or both for your website. You will first need to sign up to use Bing
Webmaster Center tools.
For more information about signing up for and using the Webmaster Center tools, see the online Help topic Add your website to
Webmaster Center. For more information about this particular tool, see the online Help topic Backlinks tool.
Q: What issues did Bing encounter while crawling my website?
A: Use the Webmaster Center Crawl Issues tool to detect any issues Bing identified while crawling and indexing your website that
could affect our ability to index it, including broken links, detected malware, content blocked by robots exclusion protocol,
unsupported content types, and exceptionally long URLs. You will first need to sign up to use Bing Webmaster Center tools.
For more information about signing up for and using the Webmaster Center tools, see the online Help topic Add your website to
Webmaster Center. For more information about this particular tool, see the online Help topic Crawl Issue tool.
Q: Can I access the Webmaster Center tools functionality through the Bing API?
A: Unfortunately, it is not. You'll have to engage the tools directly to access their data.
Q: How does my website perform when people use Bing to search for specific words?
A: Use the Webmaster Center Keywords tool to see how your website performs against searches for a specific keyword or key
phrase. This tool is useful for understanding how users (who often choose websites based on keywords searches) might find your
website. You will first need to sign up to use Bing Webmaster Center tools.
For more information about signing up for and using the Webmaster Center tools, see the online Help topic Add your website to
Webmaster Center. For more information about this particular tool, see the online Help topic Keywords tool. You should also review
the Webmaster Center blog articles on keyword usage, The key to picking the right keywords (SEM 101) and Put your keywords
where the emphasis is (SEM 101).
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IIS SEO Toolkit
Q: How do I download the IIS SEO Toolkit?
A: Click the link to begin the installation process. Note that you can install the latest release without needing to uninstall the beta
version first.
Q: Can I run the IIS SEO Toolkit in Windows XP?
A: The IIS SEO Toolkit has a core dependency of running as an extension to Internet Information Service (IIS) version 7 and higher.
Unfortunately, IIS 7 itself won't run directly on Windows XP, so as a result, neither will the IIS SEO Toolkit.
However, you can run the toolkit in Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (and higher -- you may need to first upgrade the default version of
IIS to 7.0), Windows 7 (which comes with IIS 7.5 by default), and for those who like to run Windows Server as their desktop OS,
Windows Server 2008, or Windows Server 2008 R2.
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Q: Can I use the IIS SEO Toolkit to probe and analyze my Apache-based website?
A: Absolutely, as long as your computer workstation is running any of the compatible Windows platforms listed in the previous
question's answer. You see, the IIS SEO Toolkit is designed to be used as a client-side tool. Once the toolkit is installed on an IIS 7compatible computer, you can analyze any website, regardless of which web server platform the probed website itself is running.
Q: Where can I get more information about using the IIS SEO Toolkit?
A: Check out the Webmaster Center blog articles Get detailed site analysis to solve problems (SEM 101) and IIS SEO Toolkit 1.0 hits
the streets! (SEM 101). Also check out the IIS SEO Toolkit team blog for ongoing articles about this new and powerful tool.
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Ranking
Q: How does Bing determine how to rank my website?
A: Bing website ranking is completely automated. The Bing ranking algorithm analyzes many factors, including but not limited to: the
quality and quantity of indexable webpage content, the number, relevance, and authoritative quality of websites that link to your
webpages, and the relevance of your website’s content to keywords. The algorithm is complex and is never human-mediated.
You can't pay to boost your website’s relevance ranking. Bing does offer advertising options for website owners through Microsoft
adCenter, but note that participating in search advertising does not affect a site’s ranking in organic search. For more information
about advertising with Bing, see How to advertise with Microsoft.
Each time the index is updated, previous relevance rankings are revised. Therefore, you might notice a shift in your website’s ranking
as new websites are added, others are changed, and still others become obsolete and are removed from the index.
Although you can't directly change your website’s ranking, you can optimize its design and technical implementation to enable
appropriate ranking by most search engines. For more information about improving your website's ranking, see the online Help topic
Guidelines for successful indexing. Also, check out the Webmaster Center blog article Search Engine Optimization for Bing.
To ask a question about Bing ranking or about your specific website, please post it to the Ranking Feedback and Discussion forum.
Q: How can I increase the ranking for a website hosted in another market?
A: If you choose to host your website in a different location than your target market, your website might rank much lower in your
target market's search results than it does in your local market's search results. Bing uses information, such as the website's IP
address and the country or region code top-level domain, to determine a website's market and country or region. You can alter this
information to reflect the market that you want to target.
For more information on international considerations, see the Webmaster Center blog article Going international: considerations for
your global website.
Q: How do I relocate my website’s content to a new URL without losing my page rank status?
A: When you change your site’s web address (the URL for your home page, including but not limited to domain name changes),
there are several things you should do to ensure that both the MSNBot and potential visitors continue to find your new website:
1.
Redirect visitors to your web address with an HTTP 301 redirect. When your web address changes permanently, Bing
recommends that you create an HTTP 301 redirect. The use of a HTTP 301 redirect tells search engine web crawlers, such as
MSNBot, to remove the old URL from the index and use the new URL. You might see some change in your search engine
ranking, particularly if your new website is redesigned for search engine optimization (SEO). It might take up to six weeks to
see the changes reflected on your webpages.
The way you implement an HTTP 301 redirect depends on your server type, access to a server, and webpage type. See your
server administrator or server documentation for instructions.
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2.
Notify websites linking to you of your new web address. When you implement a permanent redirect, it's a good idea to
ask websites that link to yours to update their links to your website. This enables web crawlers to find your new website
when other websites are crawled. To see which websites link to your website, follow these steps:
A. Open Webmaster Center tools.
Note: You must be a registered user before you can access the tools. For more information on signing up to use the
Webmaster Center tools, see the online Help topic Add your website to Webmaster Center.
B.
C.
Click the Backlinks tool tab.
If the results span more than one page, you can download a comma-separated values (CSV)-formatted list of all
inbound links (up to 1,000 total) by clicking Download all results.
For more information, see the online Help topic Backlinks tool. For more information on using 301 redirects, review the Webmaster
Center blog articles Site architecture and SEO – file/page issues (SEM 101) and Common errors that can tank a site (SEM 101).
Q: Why isn’t my site ranking well for my keywords?
A: In order to rank well for certain words, the words on your pages must match the keyword phrases people are searching for
(although that is not the only consideration used for ranking). However, don’t rely on using the Keyword <meta> tag as very few
search engines use it anymore for gauging relevancy due to keyword stuffing and other abuse in the past.
Some additional tips on improving ranking:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Target only a few keywords or key phrases per page
Use unique <title> tags on each page
Use unique <meta> description tags on each page
Use one <H1> heading tag on each page (and if appropriate for the content, one or more lesser heading tags, such as <H2>,
<H3>, and so on)
Use descriptive text in navigation links
Create content for your human visitors, not the Bing web crawler
Incorporate keywords into URL strings
For more information on keyword usage, review the Webmaster Center blog articles on keyword usage, The key to picking the right
keywords (SEM 101) and Put your keywords where the emphasis is (SEM 101).
Q: How can I develop better keyword targets for my site?
A: Microsoft adCenter offers a free keyword development and analysis tool called Microsoft Advertising Intelligence that works
inside Microsoft Office Excel 2007. While it is tailored to be used in the development of keywords for Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising
campaigns, it is equally applicable to webmasters looking to improve SEO success with strategic keyword development. For more
information on using Microsoft Advertising Intelligence, especially in conjunction with developing new keywords to take advantage
of the long tail in search, see the Bing Webmaster Center team blog Chasing the long tail with keyword research.
Q: How important are inbound links? Are all inbound link equal?
A: Inbound links (aka backlinks) are crucial to your site’s success in ranking. However, it is important to remember that when it
comes to inbound links, Bing prefers quality over quantity. Backlinks should be relevant to the page being linked to or relevant to
your domain if being linked to the homepage. And inbound links from sites considered to be authoritative in their field are of higher
value than those from junk sites. Use the Backlinks Tool in Webmaster Center tools to review the inbound links to your site.
Q: How do I get more high quality inbound links?
A: Some Ideas for generating high-quality inbound links include:
•
•
•
Start a blog. Write content that will give people a reason to link to your website.
Join a reputable industry association. Oftentimes they will list their members and provide links to their websites. Examples
could be a local Rotary Club or a professional association like the American Medical Association.
Get involved with your community. Participating with your community through blogs, forums, and other online resources
may give you legitimate reasons to provide links to your site.
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•
•
•
•
Talk to a reporter. Is there a potential story around your website? Or do you have helpful tips about your business that
people might be interested in? Pitch your story to a reporter, and they might link to your site in an online story.
Press releases. If your company has scheduled a significant public event, consider publishing an online press release.
Suppliers and partners. Ask your business partners if they would add a section to their websites describing your
partnership with a link to your website. Or, if your suppliers have a website, perhaps they have a page where they
recommend local distributers of their products.
Evangelize your site in the real world. Promote your website with business cards, magnets, USB keys, and other fun
collectables.
For more information on building inbound links, see the Webmaster Center blog article Link building for smart webmasters (no
dummies here) (SEM 101).
Q: Do inbound links from low-quality sites adversely affect Bing ranking?
A: While they won’t hurt your site, they really won’t help much, either. Bing values quality over quantity. Please review the question
above to get some ideas for generating high-quality backlinks.
Q: Why has my site’s rank for a keyword recently dropped?
A: Bing website ranking is completely automated. The Bing ranking algorithm analyzes factors such as webpage content, the number
and quality of websites that link to your pages, and the relevance of your website’s content to keywords. Site rankings change as
Bing continuously reviews the factors that make up the ranking. Although you can't directly change your website’s ranking, you can
optimize its design and technical implementation to enable appropriate ranking by most search engines.
For more information about improving your website, check out the Webmaster Center tools. Check out the Summary tool to see if
your website has been penalized and thus blocked. Also, look at the Crawl Issues tool to determine if your site has been detected to
harbor malware.
For more information on the Summary tool, see the online Help topic Summary tool. For more information on the Crawl Issues tool,
see the online Help topic Crawl Issues tool. Also, review the Webmaster Center blog posts I'm not ranking in Live Search, what can I
do? and Search Engine Optimization for Bing for additional suggestions on improving your website’s ranking. Lastly, carefully review
the online Help topic Guidelines for successful indexing for possible violations that could interfere with successful ranking.
Q: Will paid links or link exchanges get my site the top ranking as advertised?
A: Nope. While you can buy search ads from Microsoft, neither the presence nor the absence of those pay-per-click advertisements
have any influence in where your site ranks in the Bing search engine results pages (SERPs). (It is true, however, that if you bid well in
Microsoft adCenter, you will likely earn more business as your site's link will show up under the Sponsored sites list on the Bing
SERPs).
But let's be clear on this. Paying for or participating in non-relevant link exchange schemes will not improve your page rank with
Bing, and in fact, it could very well hurt it. What will ultimately improve your page rank is creating great content, earning inbound
links from relevant, authoritative websites, and performing legitimate SEO on your site. If you build your site with a focus on helping
people find great information, you'll be on the right track for earning the highest rank your site deserves.
Q: Do the optimization recommendations you give for Bing affect my ranking performance with other search engines?
A: Yes. They improve it! And of course, if you are actively performing legitimate, white-hat search engine optimization (SEO)
activities for other search engines, it'll also help you with Bing as well. The basic takeaway here is that SEO is still SEO, and Bing
doesn't change that. If you perform solid, reputable SEO on your website, which entails a good deal of hard work, creating unique
and valuable content, earning authoritative inbound links, and the like (see our library of SEM 101 content in this blog for details),
you'll see benefits in all top-tier search engines.
But remember: SEO efforts ultimately only optimize the rank position that your site's design, linking, and content deserves. It
removes the technical obstacles that can impede it from getting the best rank it should. However, it won't get you anything more
than that. The most important part of SEO is doing the hard work of building value necessary to make your site stand out from the
competing crowd of other websites for searchers.
One other thing to remember: there is a long tail in search. After the few obvious keywords used in a particular field, there are
many, many more keywords used to a lesser degree that still drive a lot of traffic to various niches of that field. Instead of always
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trying to be number one in a highly competitive field for the obvious keywords and faltering, consider doing the work of finding a
less competitive keyword niche in that same field and then do the hard work necessary to earn solid ranking there.
For more information on SEO and Bing, see the Webmaster Center blog post Search Engine Optimization for Bing.
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Crawling
Q: How do I submit my website to Bing?
A: You can manually submit a web address to us so that the Bing crawler, MSNBot, is notified about the website. Generally, if you
follow the Bing guidelines, you don't typically need to submit your URL to us for MSNBot to find the website. However, if you have
published a new website and, after a reasonable amount of time, it still doesn't appear in the Bing results when you search for it,
feel free to submit your site to us.
For more information on getting your website into the Bing index, see the online Help topic Submit your website to Bing. You might
also consider posting a question about your site’s status to the Bing Webmaster Center Crawling/Indexing Discussion forum.
Q: Is my robots.txt file configured properly for MSNBot?
A: Use the Robots.txt validator tool to evaluate your robots.txt file with respect to MSNBot’s implementation of the Robots
Exclusion Protocol (REP). This identifies any incompatibilities with MSNBot that might affect how your website is indexed on Bing.
To compare your robots.txt file against MSNBot's implementation of REP, do the following:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Open the Robots.txt validator.
Open your robots.txt file with a text editor (such as Notepad).
Copy and paste the contents of your robots.txt file into the input text box of the Robots.txt validator tool.
Click Validate.
Your results appear in the resulting Validation results text box.
For more information about the robots.txt file, see the Webmaster Center blog articles Prevent a bot from getting “lost in space”
(SEM 101) and Robots speaking many languages.
Q: What is the name of the Bing web crawler?
A: The web crawler, also known as a robot or bot, is MSNBot. The official name for the Bing user agent that you will see in your web
server referrer logs looks like this:
msnbot/2.0b (+http://search.msn.com/msnbot.htm)
Q: Why isn’t Bing fully crawling my site?
A: The depth of crawl level used for any particular website is based on many factors, including how your site ranks and the
architecture of your site. However, here are some steps you can take to help Bing crawl your site more effectively:
•
•
•
•
Verify that your site is not blocked (using the Summary tool) and that there are no site crawling errors (using the Crawl
Issues tool) in Webmaster Center tools
Make sure you are not blocking access to the Bing web crawler, MSNBot, in your robots.txt file or through the use of
<meta> tags
Make sure you are not blocking the IP address range for MSNBot
Ensure you have no site navigation issues that might prevent MSNBot from crawling your website, such as:
o Invalid page coding (HTML, XHTML, etc.)
Note: You can validate your page source code at validator.w3.org.
o Site navigation links that are only accessible by JavaScript
o Password-protected pages
Bing Webmaster Center FAQ (last updated on March 15, 2010)
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•
Submit a Sitemap in the Sitemaps tool of Webmaster Center tools and provide the path to your sitemap.xml file(s) in your
robots.txt file
For more information on crawling issues, see the Webmaster Center blog article Prevent a bot from getting “lost in space” (SEM
101).
Q: Bing is crawling my site, so why isn’t it indexing my pages?
A: Make sure your content is viewable by MSNBot. Check on the following:
•
•
•
•
•
•
If you must use images for your main navigation, ensure there are text navigation links for the bot to crawl
Do not embed access to content you want indexed within <script> </script> tags
Make sure each page has unique <title> and <meta> description tags
If possible, avoid frames and <meta> tag refresh
If your site uses session IDs or cookies, make sure they are not needed for crawling
Use friendly URLs whenever possible
Review our Webmaster Center blog post titled I'm not ranking in Live Search, what can I do? for other suggestions.
There are many design and technical issues that can prevent MSNBot from indexing your site. If you've followed our indexing
guidelines and still don't see your site in Bing, you may want to contact a search engine optimization company. These companies
typically provide tools that will help you improve your site so that we can index it. To find site optimization companies on the Web,
try searching on search engine optimization company.
Top of document
Robots Exclusion Protocol (REP) directives in web page code
Q: How do I prevent a search engine bot from following a specific link on my page?
A: Use the rel=”nofollow” parameter in your anchor (<a>) tags to identify pages you don’t want followed, such as those to
untrusted sources, such as forum comments or to a site that you are not certain you want to endorse (remember, your outbound
links are otherwise considered to be de facto endorsements of the linked content). An example of the code looks like this:
<a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.untrustedsite.com/forum/stuff.aspx?var=1”>Read these
forum comments</a>
Q: How do I prevent all search engine bots from following any links on my page?
A: You can choose to limit which pages your site makes available to search engine bots by invoking the Robots Exclusion Protocol
(REP) referenced in the <meta> tag’s name=”robots” attribute within the <head> tag of your webpage. Below is an example line
of code that will block a REP-compliant bot from following any of the links on the page.
<meta name="robots" content="nofollow" />
Q: How do I prevent all search engine bots from indexing the content on my page?
A: Use the <meta> tag’s content=”noindex” attribute within the <head> tag of your webpage to prevent a search engine from
placing the page’s contents into its index. Below is an example:
<meta name="robots" content="noindex" />
Q: How do I prevent just MSNBot bot from indexing the content on my page?
A: Change the value of the name attribute to name specific bot you want to control. Below is an example:
<meta name="msnbot" content="noindex" />
Bing Webmaster Center FAQ (last updated on March 15, 2010)
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Q: How do I use REP directives to remove my website from the Bing index?
A: You can combine multiple REP directives into one <meta> tag line such as in this example that not only forbids indexing of new
content, but removes any existing content from the index and prevents the following of links found on the page:
<meta name="msnbot" content="noindex, nofollow" />
Note that the content removal will not occur until after the next time the search engine bot crawls the web pages and reads the new
directive.
Q: How do I prevent all search engine bots from indexing any content on my website?
A: While you can use REP directives in <meta> tags on each HTML page, some content types, such as PDFs or Microsoft Office
documents, do not allow you to add these tags.
Instead, you can modify the HTTP header configured in your web server with the X-Robots-Tag to implement REP directives that are
applicable across your entire website. Below is an example of the X-Robots-Tag code used to prevent both the indexing of any
content and the following of any links:
x-robots-tag: noindex, nofollow
You’ll need to consult your web server’s documentation on how to customize its HTTP header.
Q: Which REP directives are supported in <meta> and X-Robots-Tags in Bing?
A: The REP directives below can be used in <meta> tags within the <head> tag of an HTML page (affecting individual pages) or XRobots-Tag in the HTTP header (affecting the entire website). Using them in the HTTP header allows non-HTML-based resources,
such as document files, to implement identical functionality. If both forms of tags are present for a page, the more restrictive version
applies.
Directive
noindex
nofollow
Impact
Tells a bot not to index the contents of a page,
but links on the page can be followed.
Tells a bot not to follow a link to other content
on a given page, but the page can be indexed.
nosnippet
Tells a bot not to display snippets in the search
results for a given page.
noarchive
Tells a search engine not to show a "cached"
link for a given page.
Same function as noarchive
Tells a bot not to use the title and snippet from
the Open Directory Project for a given page.
nocache
noodp
Use Case(s)
This is useful when the page’s content is not intended for
searchers to see.
This is useful if the links created on a page are not in control of
the webmaster, such as with a public blog or user forum. This
directive notifies the bot that you are discounting all outgoing
links from this page.
This prevents the text description of the page, shown between
the page title and the blue link to the site, from appearing on
the search results page.
This prevents the search engine from making a copy of the
page available to users from the search engine cache.
Same function as noarchive.
This prevents the search engine from using ODP (Open
Directory Project) data for this page in the search results page.
Q: Which REP directives take precedence for allowing content to be indexed versus disallowing the bot access to content?
A: The precedence is different for Allow than it is for Disallow and depends upon the source of the directives.
•
•
Allow. If the robots.txt file has a specific Allow directive in place for a webpage but that same webpage has a <meta> tag
that states the page is set for “noindex,” then the <meta> tag directive takes precedence and overrides the Allow directive
from the robots.txt file.
Disallow. If a webpage is included in a Disallow statement in robots.txt but the webpage source code includes other REP
directives within its <meta> tags, the Disallow directive takes precedence because that directive blocks the page from being
fetched and read by the search bot, thus preventing any further action.
Top of document
Bing Webmaster Center FAQ (last updated on March 15, 2010)
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Robots Exclusion Protocol (REP) directives in robots.txt files
Q: How can I control which crawlers index my website?
A: Robots.txt is used by webmasters to indicate which portions of their websites are not allowed to be indexed and which bots are
not allowed to index them.
The User-agent: is the first element in a directive section and specifies which bot is referenced in that section. The directive
name can be followed by a value of * to indicate it is general information intended for all REP-compliant bots or by the name of a
specific bot.
After the User-agent: directive is specified, it is followed by the Disallow: directive, which specifies what content type
and/or which folder has been blocked from being indexed. Note that leaving the Disallow: directive blank indicates that nothing
is blocked. Conversely, specifying a lone forward slash (“/”) indicates everything is blocked.
To specify which web crawlers can index your website, use the syntax in the following table in your robots.txt file. Note that text
strings in the robots.txt file aren't case-sensitive.
To do this
Allow all robots full access and to prevent File not found: robots.txt errors
Allow all robots complete access to index crawled content
Allow only MSNBot access to index crawled content
Exclude all robots from indexing all content on the entire server
Exclude only MSNBot
Use this syntax
Create an empty robots.txt file
User-agent: *
Disallow:
User-agent: msnbot
Disallow:
User-agent: *
Disallow: /
User-agent: *
Disallow: /
User-agent: msnbot
Disallow: /
You can add rules for a specific web crawler by adding a new web crawler section to your robots.txt file. If you create a new section
for a specific bot, make sure that you include all applicable disallow settings from the general section. Bots called out in their own
sections within robots.txt follow those specific rules and may ignore rules that are in the general section.
Q: How do I specify what portions or content types in my website are off-limits to bots?
A: To block MSNBot (or any REP-compliant crawler) from indexing specific directories and/or file types in your website, specify the
content in a Disallow: directive.
The following example code specifically blocks MSNBot from indexing any JPEG files in a directory named /blog on a web server, but
still allows access to that directory to other web crawlers.
User-agent: msnbot
Disallow: /blog/*.jpeg
But you can do more than that with the robots.txt file. What if you actually had a ton of existing files in /private but actually wanted
some of them made available for the crawler to index? Instead of re-architecting your site to move certain content to a new
directory (and potentially breaking internal links along the way), use the Allow: directive. Allow is a non-standard REP directive,
but it’s supported by Bing and other major search engines. Note that to be compatible with the largest number of search engines,
you should list all Allow directives before the generic Disallow directives for the same directory. Such a pair of directives might look
like this:
Allow: /private/public.doc
Disallow: /private/
Bing Webmaster Center FAQ (last updated on March 15, 2010)
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Note: If there is some logical confusion and both Allow and Disallow directives apply to a URL within robots.txt, the Allow directive
takes precedent.
Q: Do Disallow directives in robots.txt block the bot from crawling the specified content?
A: Yes. Search engines read the robots.txt file repeatedly to learn about the latest disallow rules. For URLs disallowed in robots.txt,
search engines do not attempt to download them. Without the ability to fetch URLs and their content associated, no content is
captured and no links are followed. However, search engines are still aware of the links and they may display link-only information
with search results caption text generated from anchor text or ODP information.
However, web pages not blocked by robots.txt but blocked instead by REP directives in <meta> tags or by the HTTP Header XRobots-Tag is fetched so that the bot can see the blocking REP directive, at which point nothing is indexed and no links are followed.
This means that Disallow directives in robots.txt take precedence over <meta> tag and X-Robots-Tag directives due to the fact that
pages blocked by robots.txt will not accessed by the bot and thus the in-page or HTTP Header directives will never be read. This is
the way all major search engines work.
Q: How do I use wildcard characters within robots.txt?
A: The use of wildcards is supported in robots.txt.
Asterisk
The “*” character can be used to represent characters appended to the ends of URLs, such as session IDs and extraneous
parameters. Examples of each would look like this:
Disallow: */tags/
Disallow: *private.aspx
Disallow: /*?sessionid
•
•
•
st
The 1 line in the above example blocks bot indexing of any URL that contains a directory named “tags”, such as
“/best_Sellers/tags/computer/”, “/newYearSpecial/tags/gift/shoes/”, and
“/archive/2008/sales/tags/knife/spoon/”.
The second line above blocks indexing of all URLs that end with the string “private.aspx”, regardless of the directory
name. Note that the preceding forward slash is redundant and thus not included.
The last line above blocks indexing of any URL with “?sessionid” anywhere in their URL string, such as
“/cart.aspx?sessionid=342bca31?”.
Notes:
•
•
The last directive in the sample is not intended to block file and directory names that use that string, only URL parameters,
so we added the “?” to the sample string to ensure that work as expected. However, if the parameter “sessionid” will
not always be the first in a URL, you can change the string to “*?*sessionid” so you’re sure you block the URLs you
intend. If you only want to block parameter names and not values, use the string “*?*sessionid=”. If you delete the
“?” from the example string, this directive will block indexing URLs containing file and directory names that match the
string. As you can see, this can be tricky, but also quite powerful.
A trailing “*” is always redundant since that replicates the existing behavior for MSNBot. Disallowing “/private*” is the
same as disallowing “/private”, so don’t bother adding wildcard directives for those cases.
Dollar sign
You can use the “$”wildcard character to filter by file extension.
Disallow: /*.docx$
Note: The directive above will disallow any URL containing the file name extension string “.docx” from being indexed, such as a
URL containing the sample string, “/sample/hello.docx”. In comparison, the directive Disallow: /*.docx blocks more
URLs, as it applies to more than just file name extension strings.
Bing Webmaster Center FAQ (last updated on March 15, 2010)
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Q: How can I limit the crawl frequency of MSNBot?
A: If you occasionally get high traffic from MSNBot, you can specify a crawl delay parameter in the robots.txt file to specify how
often, in seconds, MSNBot can access your website. To do this, add the following syntax to your robots.txt file:
User-agent: msnbot
Crawl-delay: 1
The crawl-delay directive accepts only positive, whole numbers as values. Consider the value listed after the colon as a relative
amount of throttling down you want to apply to MSNBot from its default crawl rate. The higher the value, the more throttled down
the crawl rate will be.
Bing recommends using the lowest value possible, if you must use any delay, in order to keep the index as fresh as possible with
your latest content. We recommend against using any value higher than 10, as that will severely affect the ability of the bot to crawl
your site effectively for index freshness.
Think of the crawl delay settings in these terms:
Crawl-delay setting
No crawl delay set
1
5
10
Index refresh speed
Normal
Slow
Very slow
Extremely slow
Note that individual crawler sections override the settings that are specified in general sections marked as *. If you've specified
Disallow: settings for all crawlers, you must add the Disallow: settings to the MSNBot section you create in the robots.txt
file.
Another way to help reduce load on your servers is by implementing HTTP compression and Conditional GET. Read more about
these technologies in the Webmaster Center blog post Optimizing your very large site for search — Part 2. Then check out
Webmaster Center’s HTTP compression and HTTP conditional GET test tool.
Q: How do I increase the Bing crawl rate for my site?
A: Currently, there is no way for a webmaster to manually increase the crawl rate for MSNBot. However, submitting an updated
Sitemap in our Webmaster Center tools may get your site recrawled sooner.
Note: As with general Sitemap guidelines, submitting a new or updated Sitemap is not a guarantee that Bing will use the Sitemap or
more fully index your site. This is only a suggested solution to the issue of increasing the crawl rate.
To optimize the crawl rate, first make sure you are not blocking MSNBot in your robots.txt file or MSNBot’s IP range. Next, set the
Sitemap <changefreq> dates to “daily”. This could help initiate a recrawl. You can always change this back to a more appropriate
setting once the recrawl has taken place.
For more information on configuring Sitemaps, see the Webmaster Center blog article Uncovering web-based treasure with
Sitemaps (SEM 101).
Q: Can I point the bot to my Sitemap.xml file in robots.txt?
A: If you have created an XML-based Sitemap file for your site, you can add a reference to the location of your Sitemap file at the
end of your robots.txt file. The syntax for a Sitemap reference is as follows:
Sitemap: http://www.YourURL.com/sitemap.xml
Q: How do I control bots with directives for files and directories that use non-ASCII characters?
A: The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) proclaims that Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs), comprising both Uniform Resource
Locators (URLs) and Uniform Resource Names (URNs), must be written using the US-ASCII character set. However, ASCII's 128
characters only cover the English alphabet, numbers, and punctuation marks. To ensure that the search engine bots can read the
Bing Webmaster Center FAQ (last updated on March 15, 2010)
16
directives for blocking or allowing content access in robots.txt file, you must encode non-ASCII characters so that they can be read
by the search engines. This is done with percent encoding.
So how do you translate your non-ASCII characters into escape-encoded octets? You first need to know the UTF-8 hexadecimal value
for each character you want to encode. They are usually presented as U+HHHH. The four "H" hex digits are what you need.
As defined in IETF RFC 3987, the escape-encoded characters can be between one and four octets in length. The first octet of the
sequence defines how many octets you need to represent the specific UTF-8 character. The higher the hex number, the more octets
you need to express it. Remember these rules:
•
•
•
•
Characters with hex values between 0000 and 007F only require only one octet. The high-order (left most) bit of the binary
octet will always be 0 and the remaining seven bits are used to define the character.
Characters with hex values between 0080 and 07FF require two octets. The right most octet (last of the sequence) will
always have the first two highest order bits set to 10. The remaining six-bit positions of that octet are the first six low-order
bits of the hex number's converted binary value (I set the Calculator utility in Windows to Scientific view to do that
conversion). The next octet (the first in the sequence, positioned to the left of the last octet) always starts with the first
three highest order bits set to 110 (the number of leading 1 bits indicates the number of octets needed to represent the
character - in this case, two). The remaining higher bits of the binary-converted hex number will fill in the last five lower
order bit positions (add one or more 0 at the high end if there aren't enough remaining bits to complete the 8-bit octet).
Characters with hex values between 0800 and FFFF require three octets. Use the same right-to-left octet encoding process
as the two-octet character, but start the first (highest) octet with 1110.
Characters with hex values higher than FFFF require four octets. Use the same right-to-left octet encoding process as the
two-octet character, but start the first (highest) octet with 11110.
Below is a table to help illustrate these concepts. The letter n in the table represents the open bit positions in each octet for
encoding the character's binary number.
Hexadecimal value
0000 0000-0000 007F
0000 0080-0000 07FF
0000 0800-0000 FFFF
0001 0000-0010 FFFF
Octet sequence (in binary)
0nnnnnnn
110nnnnn 10nnnnnn
1110nnnn 10nnnnnn 10nnnnnn
11110nnn 10nnnnnn 10nnnnnn 10nnnnnn
Let's demo this using the first letter of the Cyrillic example given above, п. To manually percent encode this UTF-8 character, do the
following:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
Look up the character's hex value. The hex value for the lower case version of this character is 043F.
Use the table above to determine the number of octets needed. 043F requires two.
Convert the hex value to binary. Windows Calculator converted it to 10000111111.
Build the lowest order octet based on the rules stated earlier. We get 10111111.
Build the next, higher order octet. We get 11010000.
This results in a binary octet sequence of 11010000 10111111.
Reconvert each octet in the sequence into hex. We get a converted sequence of D0 BF.
Write each octet with a preceding percent symbol (and no spaces in-between, please!) to finish the encoding: %D0%BF
You can confirm your percent-encoded path works as expected by typing it into your browser as part of a URL. If it resolves correctly,
you're golden. For more detail on this process, see the blog article Robots speaking many languages.
Top of document
Bing Webmaster Center FAQ (last updated on March 15, 2010)
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Indexing
Q: How does Bing generate a description of my website?
A: The way you design your webpage content has the greatest impact on your webpage description. As MSNBot crawls your website,
it analyzes the content on indexed webpages and generates keywords to associate with each webpage. MSNBot extracts webpage
content that is most relevant to the keywords, and constructs the website description that appears in search results. The webpage
content is typically sentence segments that contain keywords or information in the description <meta> tag. The webpage title and
URL are also extracted and appear in the search results.
If you change the contents of a webpage, your webpage description might change the next time the Bing index is updated. To
influence your website description, make sure that your webpages effectively deliver the information you want in the search results.
Webmaster Center recommends the following strategies when you design your content:
•
•
•
•
Place descriptive content near the top of each webpage.
Make sure that each webpage has a clear topic and purpose.
Create unique <title> tag content for each page.
Add a website description <meta> tag to describe the purpose of each page on your site. For example:
<META NAME="Description" CONTENT="Sample text - describe your website here." />
For more information on how Bing creates a website description, see the online Help topic About your website description. Also
review the Webmaster Center blog Head’s up on <head> tag optimization (SEM 101).
Q: Why was my website removed from the Bing index?
A: A website might disappear from search results because it was removed from the Bing index or it was reported as web spam.
Occasionally, a website might disappear from search results as Bing continues to improve its website-ranking algorithms. In some
cases, search results might change considerably as Bing tests new algorithms.
If you suspect that your website or specific webpages on your website might have been removed from the Bing index, you can use
Bing to see whether a particular webpage is still available.


To see whether your webpage is still in the index, type the url: keyword followed by the web address of your webpage. For
example, type url:www.msn.com/worldwide.aspx.
To see which webpages on your website are indexed, type the site: keyword followed by the web address for your website.
For example, type site:www.msn.com. Because the Bing web crawler manages billions of webpages, it's normal for
some webpages to move in and out of the index.
For more information on why websites disappear from the Bing index, see the online Help topic Your website disappears from Bing
results.
Q: How does Bing index websites?
A: MSNBot is the Bing web crawler (aka robot or simply “bot”) that automatically crawls the Web to find and add information to the
Bing search index. MSNBot searches websites for links to other websites. So one of the best ways to ensure that MSNBot finds your
website is to publish valuable content that other website owners want to link to. For more information on this process, see the
Webmaster Center blog post Link building for smart webmasters (no dummies here) (SEM 101).
While MSNBot crawls billions of webpages, not every webpage is indexed. For a website to be indexed, it must meet specific
standards for content, design, and technical implementation. For example, if your website’s link structure doesn't have links to each
webpage on your website, MSNBot might not find all the webpages on your website.
Ensure that your website follows the Bing indexing guidelines. These guidelines can help you place important content in searchable
elements of the webpage. Also, make sure that your website doesn't violate any of the technical guidelines that can prevent a
website from ranking. For more information about website ranking in web search results, see the online Help topic How Bing ranks
your website. For more information about the Bing index, see the online Help topic Index your website in Bing. Also, check out the
Webmaster Center blog article Common errors that can tank a site (SEM 101).
Bing Webmaster Center FAQ (last updated on March 15, 2010)
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Q: Why is my website having trouble getting indexed?
A: There are many possible reasons why a website might have trouble getting indexed. First of all, review the Bing Guidelines for
successful indexing. They are recommendations that might help Bing's MSNBot and other web crawlers effectively index and rank
your website. They include a list of techniques to avoid if you want to make sure your website is indexed.
Make sure your website has content that will be of value to readers. Having high quality, unique content is very important for
getting into the index. Also, take a look at the Webmaster Center blog for the ongoing series of blog articles on search engine
marketing (SEM), of which search engine optimization (SEO) is an important element, called SEM 101.
If none of these suggestions help, look at the Bing website crawler troubleshooting information. This provides information to help
you troubleshoot common problems you might experience with MSNBot. For more information, see the Webmaster Center blog
article Common errors that can tank a site (SEM 101).
Lastly, you can post a question in the Crawling/Indexing Discussion group of the Webmaster Center forums. The participants,
including the Bing forum moderator, may offer you insight on what you can do to resolve the problem.
Q: What are Bing’s guidelines for webmasters getting their sites indexed?
A: You can find this information by reviewing the online Help topic Guidelines for successful indexing.
Q: How do I remove my website from the Bing index?
A: To prevent your website or webpages from appearing in the Bing index, use any one of these methods:
•
•
•
Create a robots.txt file on your website and block MSNBot from indexing your website. For more MSNBot information
about the robots.txt file, see the Webmaster Center blog article Prevent a bot from getting “lost in space” (SEM 101).
Add a <meta> tag with the noindex attribute to webpages that you don't want indexed. For more information on using
<meta> tags, see the Webmaster Center blog article Prevent a bot from getting “lost in space” (SEM 101).
Remove the webpages from your website.
It might take several days for Bing to complete an indexing update that reflects your changes.
Notes:
• If other websites link to your website, your website's URL and any text you include in HTML anchor (<a>) tags might still be
added to the Bing index. However, your website content isn't added to the index.
• Bing indexes HTTPS content. To prevent Bing from indexing your HTTPS content, use a specific robots.txt for your HTTPS host or
use the <meta name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow"> tag in the <head> section of your HTTPS
webpages.
If you have concerns about website removal, use the Bing online support request form.
Q: How do I request that Bing remove a bad link to my website?
A: Submit a request on the Webmaster Center's Crawling/Indexing Discussion forum. As long as you own the site hosting the page
with the bad link, we can help by deleting the content from the index, the cache, or both. If you don't own the page with the link,
contact the webmaster of that site to make your request.
If the erroneous inbound link is on a site you don't own or control and the URL at least references the correct domain name,
consider creating a custom 404 message that will help the folks find the content they want once they arrive on your site. If you have
a page that would be a perfect match for the broken link, you might even consider implementing a 301 redirect if the domain name
is correct but the file name referenced in the broken inbound link does not exist.
Q: If my website was mistakenly identified as web spam and removed from the Bing index, how do I get it added back?
A: If you suspect that your website was incorrectly identified as web spam, do the following:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Open the Bing online support form.
In the resulting Bing E-mail Support web form, type your full name and email addresses in the text boxes provided.
In the Service: Bing drop-down list, select Content Inclusion Request.
In the new drop-down list that appears below, select the option that best matches your specific situation.
Bing Webmaster Center FAQ (last updated on March 15, 2010)
19
5.
Complete the remainder of the form, adding as much detail as possible in the comments text box to help the support team
resolve your request. Once completed, type the characters shown in the security image, and then click Submit.
For more information on why websites disappear from the Bing index, see the online Help topic Your website disappears from Bing
results.
Q: Why is the number of my indexed pages in Bing decreasing?
A: This is possibly due to a combination of factors. Check on the following:
•
•
•
•
Ensure you have unique content on each page
Scan your website for malware
Submit a Sitemap with <changefeq> dates set to “daily”
Ensure the page is crawlable
If need be, you can also post a question for the forum moderator in the Webmaster Center forum's Crawling/Indexing Discussion
group.
Top of document
Sitemaps and mRSS
Q: How do I create a Sitemap of my website?
A: Please review the following tips for creating Sitemaps.
• Know what to include in your Sitemap. Webmaster Center recommends that you don't use a web crawler to automatically
generate your Sitemap, or to simply create a list of all the URLs in your website. Instead, you should include the canonical
form of just your most valuable URLs (such as those you want indexed).
•
For example, if your website has many parameters in the query string, like session ID, affiliate ID, or other unnecessary
parameters, you should remove these parameters from the URL in the Sitemap file you submit to the Sitemaps tool in
Webmaster Center. This makes it easier for Bing to identify and resolve duplicate content issues on your website.
Segment your content logically. You should segment your Sitemaps based on the information architecture of your website,
and use a Sitemap index file to point to all separate Sitemap files.
For example, if you have an online store with several departments, such as sporting goods, jewelry, electronics, and
clothing, you could create an individual Sitemap for each of those topics and link to them all from a Sitemap file.
Q: What is the required structure for an XML Sitemap file?
A: A Sitemap file, saved to the root directory of your site, contains references to specific URL locations for pages (or to other Sitemap
files on very large sites), often describing the last modified date, the typical change frequency for a page, and the priority the
specified page has compared to the other content on your site.
A brief example of the contents of a Sitemap file looks like this:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">
<url>
<loc>http://www.mysite.com/</loc>
<lastmod>2010-03-01</lastmod>
<changefreq>monthly</changefreq>
<priority>0.8</priority>
</url>
<url>
<loc>http://www.mysite.com/contacts.htm</loc>
<changefreq>yearly</changefreq>
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<priority>0.4</priority>
</url>
</urlset>
Please see Sitemaps XML format for more information on the current Sitemap protocol.
Q: How do I submit a Sitemap to Bing?
A: Once you’ve created your Sitemap, you need to let Bing know it is available to be read. There are several ways to submit your
Sitemap. Choose one of the following:
•
Ping service. Using your browser’s address bar, you can directly submit your Sitemap to Bing. Type
http://www.bing.com/webmaster/ping.aspx?sitemap=www.YourURL.com/sitemap.xml
•
•
substituting the full URL to your Sitemap file in place of the YourURL.com example. Note that the HTTP:// protocol
statement prefix is not needed in the portion containing your Sitemap’s URL.
Webmaster Center tools. You can sign in to Bing’s Webmaster Center tools and use the Sitemaps tool (if you are not
already registered to use these free tools, this is a good reason to sign up and see all the other tools available to help you
analyze and optimize your site). Simply copy the URL of your Sitemap into the Direct sitemap submission text box, and then
click Submit.
Robot.txt file reference. If you are using a robots.txt file to instruct search engine bots which files and directories not to
crawl and thus block from adding to their indexes, you can add a line to that file, most typically done at the end, that reads
as follows:
Sitemap: http://www.YourURL.com/sitemap.xml
substituting the full URL to your Sitemap file in place of the YourURL.com example.
Note: Bing only accepts Sitemap files in either XML or gzip format.
For more information on creating and submitting Sitemaps to Bing, see the online Help topic Sitemaps Tool. Also, review the
Webmaster Center blog article Uncovering web-based treasure with Sitemaps (SEM 101).
Q: How do I submit more than one Sitemap?
A: Currently, the Webmaster Center Sitemap tool only uses the last Sitemap URL submitted. We strongly recommend using a
Sitemap index file if you have more than one Sitemap on your website. For more information on the use of Sitemap index files,
review the Webmaster Center blog articles Bing enhances support for large Sitemaps and Uncovering web-based treasure with
Sitemaps (SEM 101).
Q: Does Bing support Sitemap index files?
A: Definitely. Bing supports Sitemaps with up to 50,000 entries, be they site URLs or, in the case of Sitemap index files, references to
child Sitemap files. With a Sitemap index file containing 50,000 references to child Sitemaps, each of which containing 50,000 site
URLs, your Sitemap strategy can reference up to 2.5 billion URLs. For more information on Sitemap index file support, see the
Webmaster Center blog post, Bing enhances support for large Sitemaps.
Q: How do I create a media RSS (mRSS) file for submitting my media to the Bing index?
A: When you generate the mRSS file, you will want to ensure that you include tags that describe your content to us. We use these
descriptions to understand what your video is about, but not necessarily to rank your video. Here are examples of tags that we
consider:
Element Name
<title>
Description
Specifies the title of the video.
-or-
If <media:title> element is also provided for an
<item>, it will override the <title> element.
<media:title>
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Example
<title>Kung Foo Mascots</title>
21
<description>
A short description of the video.
-or<media:description>
If <media:description> element is also provided
for an <item>, it will override the <description>
element.
<media:content>
The URL to the actual video media (if available).
The media may be in many formats: Windows
Media, MPEG, Flash, Real, QuickTime, etc. Refer
to Live video feed spec for the complete list on
the supported formats
<link>
-or<media:player>
<pubDate>
<media:keywords>
<media:rating>
The URL that is rendered when a user actually
watches the video or clicks the Play button.
The <media:player> element allows hints to be
given (width and height attributes) for the
required display size of the page.
If <media:player> element is also provided for an
<item>, it will override the <link> element.
The date when the video was first published on
your web site.
A list of keywords you use to identify the video.
Specifies whether the video is adult in nature:
• “adult”: If the video includes sex or
nudity.
• “nonadult”: If the video does not include
sex or nudity.
If not provided, the default is nonadult.
<media:description
type="plain">College football
mascots fight each other for the
title of Kung Foo Mascot
King</media:description>
<media:content
url=http://media.foo.com/12345.m
pg type="video/mpeg"
medium="video" height="280"
width="340" duration="243"
lang="en" fileSize="5000124"
bitrate="128" />
<link>http://www.foo.com/video?v
id=12345</link>
-or<media:player
url="http://www.foo.com/video?vi
d=12345" height="600"
width="800" />
<pubDate>Wed, 26 Mar 2008
18:20:45 PST</pubDate>
<media:keywords>tags,
associated, with, video, comma,
separated</media:keywords>
<media:rating>nonadult</media:ra
ting>
Top of document
Web page coding for SEO
Q: How do I add a description to the source code of my webpage that search engines can use in their results page listings?
A: Add a description of your website to a Description <meta> tag. For example:
<meta name="description" content="Sample text - Describe your website here." />
Q: How do I disable the use of Open Directory descriptions for my webpage in its source code?
A: Bing uses Open Directory website descriptions that are provided by www.dmoz.org. You can manually configure MSNBot to use
your own website description instead of the Open Directory description by adding a robots <meta> tag to your webpage. To
manually configure MSNBot not to use the Open Directory website description, add the following <meta> tag to your webpage:
<meta name="msnbot" content="noodp" />
To tell other web crawlers not to use the Open Directory website description, add the following <meta> tag to your webpage:
<meta name="robots" content="noodp" />
Q: What is the difference between relative vs. absolute links?
A: Absolute URLs use the entire URL to point to the linked page rather than a file address that is relative to the home page of your
site. For example, if your home page links to a page named contactus.htm stored in a directory named media, the format of the
value for the href attribute in an absolute link is
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<a href="http://www.mysite.com/media/contactus.htm">Contact us</a>
whereas the shorter, relative directory reference used for the page would be
<a href="/media/contactus.htm">Contact us</a>
The use of absolute links is important for standardizing your links into one consistent format for each page (a process known as
canonicalization). For more information on this, see Making links work for you (SEM 101).
Q: What is the proper URL format syntax in the anchor tag?
A: When referencing URLs in the href attribute of your anchor (<a>) tags, following these internal standard URL formats will optimize
the link for SEO. Consistency with this is especially important with your site's canonical internal links.
•
For URLs that point to the default or index file of a directory, omit the default file name and instead end the URL with a
folder name, always followed by the trailing "/", as in
http://www.mysite.com/
This is even true for default file name URLs that use dynamic parameters, as in
http://www.mysite.com/?var=1
•
For URLs that are not the default file for a folder, it is fine to include the file name in the full URL, even if there is no
dynamic parameter, as in
http://www.mysite.com/article.htm
•
For URLs that include ampersands (typically used between sets of dynamic attributes), substitute the equivalent escape
code &amp; for the single ampersand character (&) to enable the page to pass HTML validation checks, as in
http://www.mysite.com/?var=1&amp;var=2
Q: How can I apply keywords to linked pages when I use inline linking?
A: Normally the anchor text is your primary description of the linked page. But if you do inline linking within the paragraphs of your
body text, you need to maintain the natural, logical flow of the language in the paragraph, which can limit your link text description.
As such, you can use the title attribute of the anchor (<a>) tag to add additional keyword information about the linked page without
adversely affecting the readability of the text for the end user. An example might go something like this:
<p>This is an example of <a href="http://www.mysite.com/newpage.htm" title="keyword or
key phrase describing the linked page">inline linking</a> within a paragraph.</p>
Q: How do I designate my web page’s code as either HTML or XHTML?
A: The document type declaration (DTD) statement, which precedes the <body> tag in the page’s code, includes information about
the page for the browser and the search engine to use. The quality of that information, even its presence (or lack thereof), can make
a big difference in how a page gets ranked.
The very first thing in a web page file must be the DTD. Bing recommends the use of XHTML over HTML for the document type for a
multitude of reasons, including:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
XHTML is almost identical to and fully backward compatible with HTML 4.01
XHTML is more extensible than HTML
XHTML is HTML defined as an XML application
XHTML is a stricter and cleaner version of HTML
XHTML 1.0 has been a W3C Recommendation since 2000.
An example of an XHTML DTD is shown below:
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<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN"
"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
The one shown above, Transitional, allows more of HTML’s presentation features. There are two other types of XHTML DTD
statements. You can also use Strict instead if you want super-clean code (you’ll need to use CSS for presentation features, however).
The other option, Frameset, is rarely used anymore.
You’ll also need to modify your <html> tag if you switch to XHTML, which is positioned immediately after the opening DTD
statement. In HTML, this tag was typically unadorned with attributes. In XHTML, however, you need to identify the path to the
XHTML namespace definition. Use this code for that:
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
For more information on the use of XHTML and DTDs, see the Webmaster Center blog article Head’s up on <head> tag optimization.
Q: How do I declare the intended language type for my web page?
A: If you are directing your website’s contents toward a specific language-speaking audience, you can specify the language of your
content using the <meta> tag’s content-language attribute. For example, for a target audience of American English speakers, you
would add the following tag to the <head> section of all your pages:
<meta http-equiv="content-language" content="en-us" />
Q: How do I disable the Document Preview feature for my website’s result in the Bing SERP?
A: Document Preview allows searchers to instantly see content derived from the deep link page before going to the website.
When a searcher moves the mouse pointer over the caption, the Document Preview icon appears to the right. When the pointer
approaches the icon, the Document Preview appears and presents more content from the page.
The Bing design team took into consideration that some webmasters might not want to expose the content of their webpages
before a searcher clicks to browse their website. As a result, they’ve allowed webmasters to disable this feature on a per-page basis
or site-wide on their websites. Here’s how:
Per page
Webmasters can insert the following <meta> tag within the <head> tags on each HTML page for which they want Document Preview
disabled.
<meta name=“msnbot”, content=“nopreview”>
Site-wide
For a site-wide exclusion, or to cover non-HTML pages, such as PDF, Word, PowerPoint, video, or plain text files, where you cannot
insert <meta> tags and for which you want to disable Document Preview, insert the following line in your web server’s HTTP header:
x-robots-tag: nopreview
Q: What are the SEO basics that every webpage using Rich Internet Application (RIA) technology should include?
A: When the Bing bot crawls the Web, it finds many websites that employ sophisticated presentation technologies, such as
Silverlight and Flash. While these RIA technologies make for wonderful presentations for end users, search bots have a very hard
time discerning their content. As a result, sites that use RIA technologies and do not actively perform SEO on those pages will all too
often discover that those pages are not indexed very effectively and usually rank poorly. Let’s cover how to perform SEO on these
pages so that the search bots will be better equipped to understand the theme of the RIA content and thus be better able to
effectively rank it among competing websites.
The following is a basic checklist of SEO tasks that should be performed for RIA pages:
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•
•
•
•
•
•
Descriptive <title> tag. Every page should include a descriptive and unique <title> tag. That information is part of what a
bot reads to assess what sort of content is contained on the page. Using a title such as <title>Silverlight application</title> is
about as useless as no <title> tag at all. Get specific!
Descriptive name="description" <meta> tag. Another important page element that bots use to determine the contents of
a page is the text within the "description" <meta> tag. This information is often used to help create the website description
snippet used on a SERP. As before, don't go generic here - be specific and unique. There is often so little text-based
information on a Silverlight page that every little bit of unique content will be that much more meaningful to the search
engine indexer.
Descriptive <h1> tags. The first level heading is second only to the <title> tag for being the place to define the thematic
contents of a page. As such, stick to only one iteration per page, but make it meaningful and unique.
Discoverable navigation. No man is an island, but a web page with no discernible navigation links to other pages might be.
And any page built without any discoverable navigation to other pages must not be very important - at least, that's the way
bots will see it. Be sure every page on your site is linked to at least one other page, and link out to other pages from every
page so the bot doesn't get stuck in a blind alley and abandon crawling your site any further.
Descriptive alt text. When you add an <img> tag to your page, be sure to provide that additional meta content. Bots can't
read the contents of that image, even if it is merely an image of text, so the alt text you add is critical for helping the bot
better understand what it cannot see.
Meaningful application name. Just as there is some SEO value to creating human-friendly URLs, where the directory and
file names spell out logical words rather than globally unique identifier (GUID)-based gibberish, there is value to naming
your Silverlight application in a manner that helps identify its purpose or role in the page. An object in the page code
identifying "SilverlightApp1" is meaningless to everyone but the originating developer (and even then, it's questionable!).
For more information, see the Bing Webmaster Center blog article Illuminating the path to SEO for Silverlight.
Q: What else can I do to make my RIA-based webpages more easily indexable?
A: Looking beyond just the SEO basics mentioned earlier, there are specific techniques webmasters can implement to improve their
webpage coding of RIA applications to make them more accessible by search engine bots.
1. Present alternate, static page content
Instead of using the <embed> tag, use the <object> tag to instantiate your Silverlight content in your page. The <object> tag allows
the page to provide secondary, down-level content to be presented in case the initial, primary content (such as a Silverlight
application) cannot be presented. By using the <object> tag, you can include text descriptions and other relevant content following
the instantiation of the application in the code. Write these text descriptions toward the non-Silverlight user, describing the
Silverlight application's role on the page, its function, or any other pertinent information that would help down-level users (including
the search bot) to understand what would have been shown if they were able to access Silverlight. Be sure to use your page's
targeted keywords as you describe the Silverlight content.
Below is an example of how you can include contextual, alternative information within your page's Silverlight <object> tag code:
<object data="data:application/x-silverlight-2," style="display: block"
type="application/x-silverlight-2" >
<param name="minRuntimeVersion" value="3.0.40624.0" />
<param name="source" value="ClientBin/KingCountyTrafficMap.xap" />
<div class="down-level">
<h1>Traffic Map for King County, Washington</h1>
<!-- Static image from the application -->
<img src="KingCountyAfternoonTraffic.jpg" alt="Typical King County metro weekday
rush-hour traffic at 5:00pm" />
<p>Silverlight enabled computers can use this page to see up-to-date traffic
conditions on the major roads and highways in King County, Washington.</p>
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25
<p>It's easy to <a href="http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/getstarted/install/">install Silverlight</a> on your computer. See what you've been
missing!</p>
</div>
</object>
As you can see, the sample alternative content includes the important <h1> tag and some informative content identifying the role of
the Silverlight application. And by providing a link to installing Silverlight, you might enable another user to step up and see your
page in its primary view.
2. Use multiple <div> sections
Another strategy for creating a graceful degradation of Silverlight includes using multiple <div> sections on the page: one for the
actual Silverlight content and another to be shown on computers that do not have Silverlight installed. Similar to the previous
example, this technique sample demonstrates the presentation of static page content:
<div id="King County Traffic Map">
<object data="data:application/x-silverlight-2," style="display: block"
type="application/x-silverlight-2" >
<param name="minRuntimeVersion" value="3.0.40624.0" />
<param name="source" value="ClientBin/KingCountyTrafficMap.xap" />
</object>
<iframe style=”visibility: hidden; height: 0; width: 0; border: 0px”></iframe>
</div>
<div id="AlternativeContent" style="display: none">
<h1>Traffic Map for King County, Washington</h1>
<!-- Static image from the application -->
<img src="KingCountyAfternoonTraffic.jpg" alt="Typical King County metro weekday rushhour traffic at 5:00pm" />
<p>Silverlight enabled computers can use this page to see up-to-date traffic conditions
on the major roads and highways in King County, Washington.</p>
<p>It's easy to <a href="http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/getstarted/install/">install Silverlight</a> on your computer. See what you've been
missing!</p>
</div>
Additional, more advanced (developer-oriented) methods for accomplishing this task include exposing alternative, dynamic content
and using the createObject function in JavaScript. For more information on all of these methods for helping Silverlight users make
their pages much more SEO friendly, check out the Bing Webmaster Center blog post Illuminating the path to SEO for Silverlight.
Top of document
Malware
Q: Why should I be concerned about malicious software (malware) on my website?
A: Malware is a name for software created specifically to stealthily install, take control, and perform harmful actions on a computer
without the users' knowledge or permission. Programs such as viruses, worms, Trojan horses, root kits, malicious scripts, and
corrupted web browser controls are today typically Internet-borne threats, much of it coming from otherwise innocent websites
whose content is often secretly hacked by malicious, external attackers.
It’s a terrible experience to be victimized by the purveyors of malware, so imagine how your customers would feel if they get
infected with malware from your website! Our web crawler regularly detects websites that were hacked by outsiders without the
Bing Webmaster Center FAQ (last updated on March 15, 2010)
26
knowledge of their webmasters. For the protection of your customers and your online business reputation, you need to be vigilant
about scanning for and removing malware from your website.
Q: Bing's Webmaster Center tools say my site has malware on it, but other search engine tools do not. Whom do I trust?
A: No news is not necessarily a validation of cleanliness when it comes to malware detection. The absence of a positive report from
a third-party service could actually be a false negative because you don't control the scanner's rules, what content is scanned, and
how often the scanning is done.
You always need to be diligent about regularly checking for malware on your website yourself, regardless of who else might be
scanning your site. However, if you do receive warnings about detected malware on your website from a trusted and reliable source,
it behooves you to look into the matter a bit deeper, just to be sure. Check out our four-part series of posts in this blog called "The
merciless malignancy of malware" for more information. Good luck!
Q: When I searched for my website in Bing and clicked the link in the results, a message box popped up that said something about
the site containing malicious software (malware). Can I ignore that?
A: That's not a good idea. The message indicates that Bing found malware on your site. Bing will disable the normal "blue link" in its
search engine results pages (SERPs) to a page that was detected to contain malware, substituting instead the following malware
pop-up message when the link is clicked:
The warning message was put there for everyone’s protection. Yes, a user can opt to click through the warning message and go to
the site, but studies show that 98% of them will wisely not do so. And for those few that do, that course of action puts their
computers at serious risk of infection.
Since you saw the warning message for the SERP listing of your own website, you should run a malware scan of your web server and
your web development computer. To understand more about what Bing does with its malware warnings and what to do when you
see one (or worse yet, when your users report that they get it for your links in the Bing SERPs!), check out our four-part series of blog
posts called "The merciless malignancy of malware" for more information on what to do and how to do it.
Q: Once I’ve cleaned up the infection, how do I get the malware warning removed from my site’s listing in Bing?
A: Once you’ve resolved your malware infection, closed the security vulnerabilities that allowed your computer to be successfully
attacked, and uploaded your cleaned-up source code to your web server, you have one more job to do. It’s time to request that Bing
re-evaluate your website for malware. Here’s how:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Open the Bing support form.
In the resulting Windows Bing Support web form, type your full name and email addresses in the text boxes provided.
In the Service: Bing drop-down list, select My Site has a malware warning.
In the new drop-down list that appears below, select the option that best matches your specific situation (in this case,
that’ll be The malware has been removed.
Complete the remainder of the form, adding as much detail as possible in the comments text box to help the support team
resolve your request. Once completed, type the characters shown in the security image, and then click Submit.
Bing Webmaster Center FAQ (last updated on March 15, 2010)
27
By following this procedure, Bing will rescan your website to check that the malware has been removed. If confirmed, your content
can then be reincluded in normal search results. Once done, keep monitoring your site’s malware status in the Crawl Issues tool of
Bing’s Webmaster Center, just to be sure you stay on top of any new issues.
Q: How do I protect my website from malware?
A: The following preventive measures are key tasks that either you or your hosting provider (likely both) need to take:
•
•
•
•
•
•
Use strong passwords and change them frequently
Keep system software (operating system, web server, and web application) current with the latest security updates
Regularly use anti-malware tools to scan your website files for security vulnerabilities and the presence of malware (several
tools — free and commercial — are available to do this)
Ensure the sensitive configuration files from your websites aren't accessible to end users
If your website accepts user input, ensure it is cleansed before processing/displaying it back to the user. For instance, if you
have a login form that accepts user name and password that are checked against a database, ensure the input is cleaned of
any characters that might allow for the manipulation of the database. If user input is accepted and displayed (such as on
forums), ensure users aren't able to modify the source code of the webpage, such as adding script of iFrame HTML code.
Learn about anti-malware strategies, tools, and techniques:
o Read up on malware remediation and website security advice on Microsoft Malware Protection Center
o Visit the Microsoft TechNet Security TechCenter to access their vast library of security resources
o Browse Microsoft Windows Sysinternals, which offers:
 On-Demand Webcasts on topics such as Advanced malware cleaning
 A variety of downloadable, no-cost, technical Sysinternals Security Utilities for Windows
 The active Windows Sysinternals malware forum dedicated to sharing ideas for stopping malware
For more information and tips for removing malware from your website or notifying Bing that your website is no longer infected, see
the online Help topic Remediate detected malware. Also check out the Webmaster Center blog post series The merciless malignancy
of malware, especially Part 3 and Part 4.
Top of document
Web spam
Q: What sort of content does Bing consider to be web spam?
A: Content and supporting architecture that is designed to deceive the search engine bot for the purposes of earning a higher-thandeserved page ranking or to fool the human reader into visiting a site that is not relevant to the topic of their search is considered
web spam. The Bing Webmaster Center blog team published a set of detailed posts on what we define as web spam and what types
of SEO techniques are considered to be likely web spam and thus should be avoided. To review those important posts, see the
following:
•
•
•
Eggs, bacon, spam, spam, and spam
The pernicious perfidy of page-level web spam
The liability of loathsome, link-level web spam
Q: How do I report web spam that I find in search engine results pages to Bing?
A: To report web spam sites, we recommend that you go to the Bing Support web form to file the complaint. In the Problem list,
select Content Removal Request. In the resulting list box, select Other. In the comments text box, include specific and detailed
information in your report. Complete the rest of the form and then click Submit.
A member of the Bing web spam team will review the report and investigate the matter. If the report is accurate, appropriate action
will be taken. Note that if the report is malicious and false, no action will be taken against the accused site.
Bing Webmaster Center FAQ (last updated on March 15, 2010)
28
Q: My website offers tax-related services. As a result, I use the word “tax” numerous times in my content. Could Bing consider my
site to be web spam due to the appearance of keyword stuffing? When do I cross the line from acceptable use to web spam?
A: The key here always comes back to how the content appears to the human reader. Is it logical? Is it readable? Does it make
sense? In this particular case, the repeated use of the word "tax" in content regarding tax services offered is reasonably expected
and thus is fine. In fact, including a solid set of explanatory content that defines these keyword phrases only strengthens the case for
reasonably repeating this word. If the use of this repeated word makes contextual sense to the reader and is not a clumsy attempt
to stuff the word in where it's not necessary or helpful, and you have a good amount of supporting content to accompany it, you'll
be fine. Our crawler sees this usage and understands it is legitimate. Just write your content for the reader's comprehension and the
crawler will not penalize you for keyword stuffing.
The important thing to remember is that true web spam often involves multiple issue violations. As such, it typically takes more than
one violation to trigger web spam consequences – having a slightly above average number of keywords won’t automatically torpedo
your site. Just as you need to do several things well to improve your ranking (build good content, build valuable inbound links, target
several keywords, etc.), you need to do several things wrong to really hurt your ranking. That said, if it’s obvious that you are trying
to abuse the system, even with just one egregious issue, then penalties will ensue.
Lastly, we don't define any borderline between acceptable and non-acceptable web spam. If you think what you've done might be
considered web spam because you know you're trying to game the system, then take a different approach to optimizing your pages.
I'll repeat my mantra: write content for the human reader, not the crawler. Develop good, unique content that is readable,
understandable, and valuable. If you do this without involving any black-hat, SEO-style trickery in an effort to artificially boost your
ranking, then you'll never have to worry about this being an issue.
Q: Regarding backlinks in forum comments and link-level web spam, is it only a problem when the page linked to is not relevant
to the conversation in the forum, or is this a problem for all backlinks?
A: It always comes down to whether the effort is intended to legitimately benefit the human reader or benefit the owner of the link.
If the link in a blog comment is relevant to the content in both the blog article and the blog comment and as an extension to that
content, is of value and interest to the reader, then it is not a problem. In fact, this is a fine idea (whether or not the
rel=“nofollow” attribute is automatically applied by the blog to user-generated links). However, if the link in the blog comment
is not relevant to either the blog article or the blog comment’s content, is not of relevant, legitimate interest to the reader, and
instead is only beneficial to the link owner, then that is web spam. It’s pretty straight-forward.
Also consider how the blog comment link is formed, as in whether it is a single link inline to the comment’s content or is it a bazooka
blast consisting of multiple, irrelevant links following a short, generic message that could be applicable to anything (or nothing). If
your goal is to tell the reader about some information relevant to the post and that info is found within good content on your site,
that’s great. Add those links! Even if rel=”nofollow” is employed by the blog in all UGC-based links, the potential for driving live
traffic to your site is good, and if the content there is worthwhile, that will improve public awareness of that content and ultimately
be a good link building strategy. But if the comment is merely an excuse for blatant advertising links, it is web spam. Note the
difference in intent. If you do right by the reader, you’ll be fine.
Top of document
Miscellaneous
Q: How do I implement a custom 404 error page for my site?
A: Once you’ve created a custom 404 error page (see the blog article Fixing 404 File Not Found frustrations for more information),
you need to configure your web server to dish it up when browsers use a URL in your domain that does not point to an actual page.
For the code examples listed below, it is assumed that the file is named 404.htm and is stored in the root directory of your website.
Apache
Apache users can configure a special text file found in the root directory of their site to implement a custom 404 error page. The file,
named .htaccess (the dot precedes the file name and contains no typical file name extension), can be edited in Notepad to include
the following line (using our sample error page file):
Bing Webmaster Center FAQ (last updated on March 15, 2010)
29
ErrorDocument 404 /404.htm
IIS
IIS 7.0 and higher users can alternatively edit their web.config file to include a snippet of code to accomplish the same task. Using
the sample file 404.htm referenced earlier, here is an example code snippet:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<configuration>
<system.webServer>
<httpErrors errorMode="DetailedLocalOnly">
<remove statusCode="404" />
<error statusCode="404" path="404.htm" responseMode="File" />
</httpErrors>
</system.webServer>
</configuration>
Q: How do I configure Apache to perform content encoding (aka HTTP compression)?
A: If your site is running Apache, you can leverage the mod_deflate tool, which will add a filter to compress the content as a gzip file.
You can apply these filters site-wide or by selectively compressing only specific MIME types, determined by examining the header
generated, either automatically by Apache or a CGI script or some other dynamic programming you create.
To enable compression for all MIME types, set the SetOutputFilter directive to a website or directory:
<Directory "/web/mysite/php/">
SetOutputFilter Deflate
</Directory>
To enable compression on a specific MIME type (as in this example, “text/html”), use the AddOutputFilterByType directive:
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
For more information on HTTP compression, including how to enable it in IIS, see the blog article Optimizing your very large site for
search — Part 2.
Q: How do I add a basic Bing search box to search the entire Web from my website?
A: Give your website visitors a convenient and powerful way to search the entire Web directly from your default webpage with Bing.
Please review the online Help topic Bing search box service terms of use before you add the search box to your website.
Note: In the following code, you must replace the phrase "CODE PAGE USED BY YOUR HTML PAGE" with the actual code page
number of the language your website is written in. For example, if your website is written in a western European-based (also known
as Latin 1) language, such as French, English, or German, replace this instruction with the number 1252, as shown below:
<input type="hidden" name="cp" value="1252" />
For a list of code-page values for all languages, see the Code pages supported by Windows webpage.
To let your visitors search the Web from your website, add the following code to your webpage:
<!-- Web search from Bing-->
<form method="get" action="http://www.bing.com/search">
<input type="hidden" name="cp" value="CODE PAGE USED BY YOUR HTML PAGE" />
<input type="hidden" name="FORM" value="FREEWS" />
<table bgcolor="#FFFFFF">
<tr>
<td>
<a href="http://www.bing.com/">
Bing Webmaster Center FAQ (last updated on March 15, 2010)
30
<img src="http://www.bing.com/siteowner/s/siteowner/Logo_51x19_Dark.png"
border="0" ALT="bing" />
</a>
</td>
<td>
<input type="text" name="q" size="30" />
<input type="submit" value="Search Web" />
</td>
</tr>
</table>
</form>
<!-- Web Search from Bing -->
Q: How do I add a basic Bing search box to search just my website?
A: Provide your website visitors with an easy way to search your website from your default webpage with Bing. Please review the
online Help topic Bing search box service terms of use before you add the search box to your website.
Note: In the following code, you must replace the phrase "CODE PAGE USED BY YOUR HTML PAGE" with the actual code page
number of the language your website is written in. For example, if your website is written in a western European-based (also known
as Latin 1) language, such as French, English, or German, replace this instruction with the number 1252, as shown below:
<input type="hidden" name="cp" value="1252" />
For a list of code-page values for all languages, see the Code pages supported by Windows webpage.
To let your visitors search just your website with Bing, add the following code to your webpage:
<!-- Site search from Bing-->
<form method="get" action="http://www.bing.com/search">
<input type="hidden" name="cp" value="CODE PAGE USED BY YOUR HTML PAGE" />
<input type="hidden" name="FORM" value="FREESS" />
<table bgcolor="#FFFFFF">
<tr>
<td>
<a href="http://www.bing.com/">
<img src="http://www.bing.com/siteowner/s/siteowner/Logo_51x19_Dark.png"
border="0" ALT="Bing" />
</a>
</td>
<td>
<input type="text" name="q" size="30" />
<input type="submit" value="Search Site" />
<input type="hidden" name="q1" value="site:YOUR DOMAIN NAME GOES HERE" />
</td>
</tr>
</table>
</form>
<!-- Site Search from Bing -->
Q: How do I add an advanced Bing search box to my site?
A: Offer your website visitors a convenient and powerful way to search both the Web and your website directly from your default
webpage. Visitors to your website can use the search box to find information on your website, specific websites, or on the Web.
Please read the Microsoft Bing search box service terms of use before you add the search box to your website.
To add an advanced Bing search box to your website:
1.
2.
Go to the Bing box page.
Click Get started in the Advanced Search Box area.
Bing Webmaster Center FAQ (last updated on March 15, 2010)
31
3.
4.
5.
Follow the directions on each page to configure the search box for your website, and then click Next.
To test the search box with the current configuration, click Try your search box at the bottom of the page.
On the Step 3: Copy the HTML snippet page, copy the HTML code in the box, and then paste the code into your webpage.
By default, any top-level controls, such as a drop-down box, an ActiveX control, a Java applet, or an iFrame on your webpage,
remains on top of the embedded search results window.
To force the embedded search results window to appear on top of elements on your webpage, in the code that you pasted to your
webpage, change the autoHideTopControl value to true. By default, this value is set to false.
For example, after you change the value to true, the section of code might look like the following:
"appearance":{
"autoHideTopControl":true,
"width":600,
"height":400
},
Notes:
•
•
•
•
You can select more than one type of search for your search box.
The Display name is limited to 20 characters.
The embedded search box doesn't currently support adult filtering or SafeSearch.
The Advanced Search Box option lets you define multiple websites, and the search results appear in a floating window.
Q: How do I navigate to Webmaster Center from the Bing home page?
A: From the Bing home page, click the EXPLORE link at the top of the left-hand navigation list of links to go to the Bing at a glance
page. Scroll down that page to find Webmaster Center as well as links to the Webmaster Center blog and forums. On all other Bing
pages, click the More link (in the list of menu links across the top right of the page) to get to the Bing at a glance page.
Q: How do I have my news website added into the Bing News Service list?
A: To request that Bing add your news site to our list of news sources, we ask that you send an email request to the Bing News
Service team at [email protected] Please be sure to identify yourself, your URL, what types of news you provide, your audience,
and any other determining factors such as awards won, etc.
Q: How do I get my company listed in the Bing local listings?
A: Use the Bing Local Listing Center form. You may need to sign in to your Webmaster Center account or create a new sign-in
account to access this form.
Q: How can I improve the likelihood that my local business contact information (address and phone number) from my website
will get into the Bing index?
A: One common problem we see with this is that some sites rely solely upon an image containing text to convey this information.
This is not good practice for SEO. If you want to be sure MSNBot (or any other search engine bot) can to read such information,
please add it to your website as text (the image is OK as long as the text version also exists)!
Top of document
Blog
Q: How can I subscribe to the blog so that I am notified of new posts as they are published?
A: We offer an RSS subscription service feed to the Bing Webmaster Center blog.
Q: Why do I have to register as a user in the Webmaster Center blog just to post a comment?
A: We were getting a few non-registered visitors who were posting way too much spam in the blog comments. We needed to block
that junk from being posted, so we implemented a new rule that requires folks to register before they can leave comments. Since we
Bing Webmaster Center FAQ (last updated on March 15, 2010)
32
can control spam from registered user accounts, we felt this was the best course for minimizing the disruption of irrelevant
comments.
Q: Why wasn't my question in the Webmaster Center blog comments answered?
A: While we do attempt to address questions when possible, the Webmaster Center blog is not the optimal location for such back
and forth exchanges. We instead encourage our readers to post their questions and comments in the Webmaster Center forums,
which are specifically designed and staffed to address your questions.
Q: Why did my blog comment disappear?
A: As we truly value all the input we receive from the webmaster community, we are reluctant to delete any comments, but on
occasion, we have to. If a blog post comment is simply blank, includes profanity or obviously objectionable, business-inappropriate
content, or is merely an off-topic advertisement for an external website (web spam), we delete those comments. In cases where the
same comment is repeated multiple times in the same post by the same sender, we delete the redundancies but leave the original.
We love to get your feedback, and whether you like or hate our content, have a suggestion for clarifying a point or care to elaborate
your own, related story, we're really happy when you contribute to the community. Please continue to do so! But if your comment
was deleted, there was a compelling reason for doing so. On rare occasions, we get someone who decides to post the same web
spam comment across dozens of our posts simultaneously, sometimes even spanning beyond Webmaster and going into other Bing
community blogs, such as Maps, Developer, Travel, or the main Search blog. Those comments are all quickly deleted and those
spammers are banned from posting again to the blogs.
Q: Is it a good link building technique to add my site's URL in every comment I make in the Bing Webmaster Center blog?
A: Well, the basic intent of the idea is good. You do want to get as many high quality, authoritative, inbound links as you can. That is
one of the keys to improving your page rank of your site. But in this case, as so many blog commenters do this on a regular basis, the
links entered in Bing Webmaster Center blog comments are automatically created with the rel="nofollow" attribute included
in the anchor (<a>) tag. This means that when search engines crawl the blog pages, the user-generated content (UGC) links won’t
earn any inbound link credit for the referenced page.
Make no mistake; earning high-quality inbound links is hard work. You need to get webmasters from authoritative sites to link to you
(this is why link exchanges don't help build page rank value). You usually do that by providing high quality content on your site that
those webmasters value. But simply adding a URL to a blog comment is far from hard, especially when some folks use automated
tools to spam countless blogs with comments consisting of non-relevant, unwanted advertising links. Because of this, many websites
(including our team blog!) now make it a policy to add the rel="nofollow" attribute to all UGC links.
Top of document
Bing Webmaster Center FAQ (last updated on March 15, 2010)
33
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