If your website doesn’t appear in the Google or Bing search engines (or DuckDuckGo, or any other search engine that uses Bing), there are a few things you can do. It happened to me once, and I wanted to share how I fixed it.
Is Bing (or DuckDuckGo) not indexing your site? I had a similar issue with a client’s website once. In my case, there was no reason for a shadow ban, and the solution was to submit a ticket to Bing support with a detailed explanation that the website was fine and did not violate any guidelines. It took some time, but eventually, the shadow ban was removed and the website returned to the index.
However, don’t be too hasty to submit a support ticket. Start with things you can do right away by yourself.
How to get your website indexed by Bing, Google, or DuckDuckGo
Normally, your site should be indexed automatically if any indexed links point to it (Bing, like Google, indexes sites by following ordinary links). You can speed up this process by creating a sitemap, submitting your site to Bing Webmaster Tools, and then verifying the domain there. You can then use the URL Submission tool to submit individual URLs for indexing. Additionally, you can increase the chances of your website being indexed by having more high-profile sources link to it.
Your site is not in the index
If you have followed the steps above, your site has been up for a long time, or you have external links pointing to your site, something may be wrong.
- Read: Why is my site not in the index? – it contains many good leads and suggestions. Here is the digest:
- Your site is new and Bing hasn’t discovered and crawled it yet (make sure you have used Submit URL tool at least once and wait some time for the result).
- Bing is running into issues crawling the site.
- No links are pointing to your website.
robots.txtfile is preventing Bing from crawling your site.
- You have a
<meta name="robots" content="noindex">on your pages.
- You have blocked URLs inside your Bing Webmaster Tools.
- Your site does not meet the quality threshold required by Bing
- Your website has been penalized and removed from the index (check Bing Webmaster Guideliness and make sure your site doesn’t break any rules).
- Log in to Bing Webmaster Tools and see if there are any issues.
- Use the URL inspection tool to see if anything useful will come up.
In my case, it didn’t, only a general message:
The inspected URL is known to Bing but has some issues which are preventing indexation– without any details.
- See if your site is in other index, e.g. Google, with the following query:
- If there is nothing you can do based on the information gathered from previous steps, it’s the time to contact Bing support – you can submit a ticket when logged in (it’s a direct link to the form, which is not so easy to find). Explain the steps you took, ask for help and more information.
This blog post covers general good practices for getting your site indexed. Most of them are useful for keeping your website in good shape, even if you have no issues with indexing. The steps are also very similar for the Google index. If you want to go deeper into the subject, you can read Google Search Essentials for more best practices.
Good luck 🤞
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