These guidelines are intended to help you understand how Bing finds, indexes, and ranks websites.

Following these guidelines will help your site be indexed by Bing and will help you optimize your site to increase its opportunity to rank for relevant queries in Bing’s search results. Please pay special attention to the guidance in the Abuse and Examples of Things to Avoid section to ensure your site plays by the rules and will not be found to be a spam site, which could lead to the demotion or even the delisting of your website from Bing search results.

How Bing finds and indexes your site

Help Bing find all your pages

  • Sitemaps: A sitemap is an important way for Bing to discover URLs and content for your website. It is a file where you provide information about the URLs and other files and content such as images and videos on your website. The sitemap tells the crawler which pages and files you believe are important within your site, and provides additional information, such as when the page was last updated. We strongly recommend using a XML sitemap file to help Bing discover all the relevant URLs and content within your website. Please keep sitemap files as up-do-date as possible, refreshing it real-time or at least once a day to remove old URLs and deadlinks once the corresponding content has been removed from your website.

    • Make your sitemap available to Bing by: Once Bing knows your sitemap, Bing will crawl it regularly - no need to submit it again except in case of a major site change.

    • General sitemap guidelines:
      • Bing supports several sitemap formats including XML, RSS, mRSS, and Atom 1.0, and a simple text file.
      • Use consistent URLs. Bing will only crawl the URLs exactly as listed.
      • Please only list canonical URLs in sitemaps.
      • If your website has multiple versions (http vs https, or mobile vs desktop) we recommend only pointing to a single version in your sitemap. If you decide to have a unique URL experience for mobile vs desktop, please annotate with the rel="alternate" attribute.
      • If you have multiple pages for different languages or regions, please use the hreflang annotation tag in either the sitemap or the HTML tag to identify the alternate URLs.
      • Use the <lastmod> attribute set to the date and time content and URLs were last modified.
      • The maximum sitemap size is 50,000 URLs/50MB uncompressed. If your site is very large, consider breaking up large sitemaps into smaller sitemaps, then use a sitemap index file to list all individual sitemaps.
      • Refer your sitemap in the robots.txt file.
      • If you have not changed your sitemap since the last time that Bing crawled it there is no need or benefits to resubmitting it.

    • Using a sitemap does not guarantee that all items within a sitemap will be crawled and indexed; however, in most cases you will benefit by having a sitemap as it provides a recommendation and guidance to the crawler.

  • Use the Bing URL or Content Submission API to instantly index your updated website content on Bing as soon as new content has been added, updated or deleted. If you cannot adopt the URL and Content submission API, we recommend either submitting the updated URLs directly through Bing Webmaster Tools or by including them in your sitemap.

  • Links: Links are traditionally regarded as a signal of website popularity, the best way to get other sites to link to you is to create high quality and unique content. Bing’s crawler (Bingbot) follows links within your website (internal links) or from other sites (external links) to help Bing discover new content and new pages on your site.

    Bing recommends that all pages on a site are linked to at least one other discoverable and crawlable page.
    • Crawlable links are <a> tags with an href attribute. The referring link should include either a text or an image alt attribute that is relevant to the page.
    • Limit the number of links on a page to a reasonable quantity, no more than a few thousand links per page.
    • Make a reasonable effort to ensure that any paid or advertisement links on your site use rel="nofollow" or rel="sponsored" or rel="ugc" attribute to prevent the links from being followed by a crawler and from potentially impacting search rankings.
    • Bing rewards links that have grown organically; that is, links that have been added over time by content creators on other trusted, relevant websites that drive real users from their site to yours. Plan to build links both internally and externally, in an organic manner.

    Abusive tactics that aim to inflate the number and nature of inbound links such as links buying, participating in link schemes (link farms, link spamming and excessive link manipulation) can lead to your site being penalized and delisted from the Bing index.

  • Limit the number of web pages: Limit the number of pages on your website to a reasonable number. Avoid duplicative content within your site; help us dedupe duplicate content by:
    • Avoiding outputting different URLs with the same content by using the Canonical Tag .
    • Configuring your website and URL parameters to improve crawl efficiency and help reduce multiple variations of the same URL pointing to the same content.
    • Avoid mobile-specific URLs . Prefer using the same URL for desktop and mobile users.

  • Use redirects as appropriate: If you move content on your website to another location, use a http 301 permanent redirect for at least 3 months. If the move is temporary, i.e. less than one day, use a 302 temporary redirect. Avoid using a rel=canonical tag in place of a proper redirect when site content has moved from one location to another.

  • Let Bing crawl more: The Webmaster Tools crawl control feature allows you to manage how Bingbot crawls your content, including when, and at what pace. We encourage Webmasters to allow Bingbot to quickly and deeply crawl sites to ensure as much content as possible is discovered and indexed.

  • JavaScript: Bing is generally able to process JavaScript, however, there are limitations to processing JavaScript at scale while minimizing the number of HTTP requests. Bing recommends Dynamic Rendering to switch between client-side rendered and pre-rendered content for specific user agents such as Bingbot especially for large web sites.

  • Remove content by returning a 404 "Not Found" HTTP code . Expedite content removal by using the Bing Content Removal and Page Removal tools . Content removal requests may last for a maximum of 90 days and need to be renewed or content may reappear in the search results.

  • robots.txt: A robots.txt file tells search engine crawlers such as Bingbot, Bing's crawler, which pages and files the crawler can or cannot request to access on your site. Robots.txt is primarily used to instruct and manage crawler traffic, for example you can tell Bingbot not to crawl less helpful content such as search result pages or login pages.
    • Place the robots.txt in your root directory (the topmost directory) of your website. Do not place it in a subdirectory.
    • Blocking Bing from crawling a page is likely to remove the page from the index. However, using Disallow does not guarantee that a page will not appear within the index or search results. If you would like to block a specific page from getting crawled or indexed, you should use the noindex robots meta tag instead of disallowing it in the robots.txt.
    • Review your robots.txt often or review URLs disallowed by robots.txt in Bing Webmaster Tools to ensure it remains accurate.
    • Learn how to create a robots.txt text file

  • Save resources: Use HTTP Compression and Conditional Get to reduce bandwidth used by the crawlers and your customers while improving page load speed.

Help Bing understand your pages

Bing seeks information-rich, useful and engaging content that is made for people, not for search engines. By creating clear, unique, high-quality, relevant and easy-to-find content on your website, Bing is more likely to index and show your content in search results.

  • Content: Websites that are thin on content, showing mostly ads or affiliate links, or that otherwise redirect visitors away to other sites quickly tend to not rank well on Bing – in some cases, may not get indexed at all. Your content should be easy to navigate, should be rich and engaging to the website visitor, and provide the information they seek.

    • Create content for searchers not search engines: Develop rich content based on keyword research that shows what search users the information they are looking for.

    • Create enough content to fully meet the visitor’s expectations. There are no hard and fast rules on the number of words per page, but providing more relevant content is usually better..

    • Make it unique. Do not reuse content from other sources. It is critical that content on your page must be unique in its final form. If you choose to host content from a third party, either use the canonical tag (rel="canonical" to identify the original source or use the alternate tag (rel=" alternate").

    • Images and Videos: Use unique and original images and videos that are relevant to the topic of the page. Bing can extract information from images, captions, structured data, titles, and related text such as transcripts.
      • Do not embed important text or information within images or videos. Optical Character Recognition is less reliable than html text, and it is not accessible. Alt text improves accessibility for people and devices that cannot see images on pages. When choosing alt text, focus on creating information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately to give context to the image related to the content of the page.
      • Include descriptive titles, filenames, and text for images and video.
      • Videos must be in a supported format to be crawled and the video must not be blocked behind a paywall-protection or logins.
      • Subtitles and captions can be used for videos to help make your content available to a wider audience and to provide Search Engines a textual representation of the content in video and audio files.
      • Choose high-quality photos and videos, they appeal more to users than blurry or out-of-focus images.
      • Optimize images and videos to improve page load times. Images are often the largest contributor to page size, which can make pages slow to load.

    • SafeSearch is a setting that specifies whether to show or hide explicit images, video, and websites in search results. Bing uses machine learning to help categorize images, however the strongest signal is self-marked adult pages and content. We recommend you help Bing understand Adult-Only images and content by:
    • Make your content discoverable. Avoid housing content inside Flash or JavaScript – these block crawlers from finding content.

    • Make content accessible and easy to navigate for all site visitors: Test the usability for devices such as screen readers. Listening to your content instead of looking at it can be eye-opening and can help you check the accuracy and quality of the alt text for images and videos. Testing for usability can also help identify issues and problems with navigation, reading order, table markup and form elements within your website.
  • HTML Tags: Ensure your HTML element and alt attributes are descriptive, specific, and accurate.

    • <TITLE> tags – Title of the page. Write descriptive and unique titles for each page of your website.

    • <META name="description"> – Brief summary and description of the webpage. This may appear as the page description in the search results. Write relevant descriptions, and you can use this added space to expand on the <title> tag in a meaningful way.

    • <META name="robots"> – Used to provide crawlers instructions on how to crawl and index a specific pages content.to let Bing knows about your snippet and content preview preferences using robots meta tags .

    • <a href> tag – specifies the URL linking to another page. If you want to link to another part in the same page use the #tag.

    • <img src> tag –specifies an image file to be displayed

    • alt attributes – use this attribute on <img> tags to describe the image. Use descriptive information rich context within alt attributes to provide context to the images.

    • <H1> tag – helps users understand the content of a page more clearly when properly used.

    • <H1>-<H6> Header tags – Define the structure of your page and helps Bing understand the understand the content of each paragraph.

    • <P> tag – delineates paragraphs.

    • <TABLE> tag – Use <TABLE><TH> etc. for data tables. Do not use <TABLE> for layout.

    • Use HTML5 semantic elements as they have am intrinsic meaning to browser, developer and search engine, especially use the following HTML5 Semantic Elements: <article>, <aside>, <details>, <figcaption>, <figure>, <footer>, <header>, <main>, <mark>, <nav>, <section>, <summary>, <time>.

    • Verify your HTML via Bing SEO Analyzer or Markup Validation Service.

  • Microsoft Edge: Make sure your web page does not appear as broken in the Microsoft Edge browser: Searchable content must be visible when the document is loaded, when the document is loaded - no pop ups on page load"

  • Secondary content (CSS, JavaScript): Allow crawlers in your robots.txt. to crawl all your CSS Style Sheet and JavaScript files. Limit usage of dynamic loading of resources – i.e. AJAX to limit the number http requests and limit usage of JavaScript on large web sites.

  • Use Semantic Markup to convey information about the pages in either Schema.org, RDFa, or OpenGraph. Schema.org is preferred, in either JSON-LD or Microdata format. Note that Semantic Markup may enable Bing rich features to be triggered, but it does not guarantee that such features will be triggered. Verify Schema using Markup Validator .

How Bing ranks your content

Bing search results are generated by using an algorithm to match the search query a user enters into the search engine with content in our index. Bing designs - and continually improves - its algorithms to provide the most comprehensive, relevant and useful collection of search results available.

Please take note that there is no ability for sites to improve their algorithmic ranking by providing renumeration to Bing. Instead, websites can choose to advertise on Bing through Microsoft Advertising . Learn more about how paid search ads are ranked within search results. In the Bing Shopping experience, payment from sellers participating in our Microsoft Shopping campaign program is one of several factors that influences ranking of these results. Sellers provide pricing and product information to Bing through shopping feeds files . Additionally, advertisers can showcase local in store products and local retail store information to nearby shoppers on Bing.com. Learn more about the shopping campaign program .

Bing does not prioritize Microsoft products or services in algorithmic search results. Outside of core algorithmic search results, Bing may on occasion provide a standalone answer box or banner promoting a Microsoft product or service related to the search term provided, such as ensuring users know that Bing works best with the Microsoft Edge browser.

Below is a high-level overview of the main parameters Bing uses to rank content. These are listed in general order of importance, but please note that Bing’s complex ranking systems use many criteria to deliver search results, and the relative importance of each of the parameters described below may vary from search to search and may evolve over time.

  • Relevance: Relevance refers to how closely the content on the landing page matches the intent behind the search query.  This includes matching terms directly on the page as well as terms used in links referring to the page. Bing also considers semantic equivalents, including synonyms or abbreviations, which may not be exact matches of the query terms but are understood to have the same meaning.

  • Quality and Credibility: Determining the quality and credibility of a website includes an evaluation of the page itself, including such factors as the author’s or site’s reputation, the level of discourse (for example, an article with citations and references to data sources is considered higher quality than one that does not explain cite data sources; Bing may demote content that includes name-calling, offensive statements, or uses derogatory language to make a point), the completeness of the content, and transparency of authorship.

  • User engagement: Bing also considers how users interact with search results. To determine user engagement, Bing asks questions like: Did users click through to search results for a given query, and if so, which results? Did users spend time on these search results they clicked through to or did they quickly return to Bing?  Did the user adjust or reformulate their query? The Bing Webmaster Dashboard will provide insights into how users interact with your webpages.

  • Freshness: Generally Bing prefers content that is more “fresh” – meaning that the page consistently provides up-to-date information. In many cases, content produced today will still be relevant years from now. In some cases, however, content produced today will go out of date quickly.

  • Location: In ranking results Bing considers where the user is located (country and city), where the page is hosted, the language of the document, or the location of other visitors to the page.

  • Page load time: Slow page load times can lead a visitor to leave your website, potentially before the content has even loaded, to seek information elsewhere. Bing may view this as a poor user experience and an unsatisfactory search result. Faster page loads are always better, but webmasters should balance absolute page load speed with a positive, useful user experience.

The characteristics of the goods or services offered on a site do not affect how Bing ranks results, except in cases where the content is potentially offensive or harmful to a user. For example, pages offering adult content are not available when SafeSearch is set to “Strict” mode. As another example, pages promoting potentially harmful content, such as where a site promotes methods of suicide or purports to sell opioids or other potentially harmful drugs, may be downranked.

Abuse and Examples of Things to Avoid

Search Engine Optimization is a legitimate practice which seeks to improve technical and content aspects of a website, making the content easier to find, relevant, and more accessible to search engine crawlers. The majority of SEO practices render a website that is more appealing to Bing, however, performing SEO-related work does not guarantee rankings will improve or sites will receive an increase in traffic from Bing. Further, taken to extremes, some SEO practices can be abused which result in penalties by search engines.

Sites which engage in abuse such as the practices outlined below are considered to be low quality. As a result, these sites can incur ranking penalties, have site markup ignored, and may not be selected for indexation. These Bing Webmaster Guidelines describe only some of the most widespread forms of inappropriate, manipulative or misleading behaviors. Microsoft may take action against your site for any inappropriate or deceptive practices, even those not described here. If you feel action has been taken against your site, you can use Bing Webmaster Tools to contact our support team. Additionally, users can report abuse of any of these practices using the feedback link in the footer of bing.com after performing a search which reproduces the issue. An example of this can be seen here.

Abuse Feedback Example
  • Cloaking: Cloaking is the practice of showing one version of a webpage to a search crawler like Bingbot, and another to regular visitors. Showing users different content than what the crawlers can see may be seen as a spam tactic and could be detrimental to your website's rankings, leading your site to being de-listed from Bing index. Websites should be extremely cautious about responding differently to crawlers as opposed to regular visitors, and should not use cloaking as a principle.

  • Link Schemes, Link Buying, Link Spamming : While link schemes may succeed in increasing the number of links pointing to your website, they will fail to bring quality links to your site, netting your site no positive gains. Manipulating inbound links to artificially inflate the number of links pointed at a website can lead to your site being delisted from Bing index.

  • Social media schemes: Social media schemes are similar to link farms in that they seek to artificially exploit a network effect to game Bing's algorithm. The reality is social media schemes are easy to see in action and the value of the website value is deprecated. Auto follows encourage follower growth on social sites such as Twitter, and work by automatically following anyone who follows you. Over time this creates a scenario where the number of followers you have is more or less the same as the number of people following you. This does not indicate you have a strong influence. Following relatively few people while having a high follower count would tend to indicate a stronger influential voice.

  • Duplicate content: Duplicating content across multiple URLs can lead to Bing losing trust in some of those URLs over time. This issue should be managed by fixing the root cause of the problem. The rel=canonical element can also be used but should be seen as a secondary solution to that of fixing the core problem. If excessive parameterization is causing duplicate content issue, we encourage you to use the Ignore URL Parameters tool .

  • Scraped Content: Scraping or copying content from other more reputable websites may not add value to your users and may be considered copyright infringement. Instead of republishing content from other sites without adding any original content or value, you should create your own content that differentiates your own website. Slightly modifying and republishing content from other sites also constitutes scraping.

  • Keyword Stuffing OR loading pages with irrelevant keywords: When creating content, make sure to create your content for real users and readers, not to entice search engines to rank your content better. Stuffing your content with specific keywords with the sole intent of artificially inflating the probability of ranking for specific search terms is in violation of our guidelines and can lead to demotion or even the delisting of your website from our search results.

  • Automatically generated content: Machine-generated content is information that is generated by an automated computer process, application, or other mechanism without the active intervention of a human. Content like this is considered malicious, and normally contains garbage text that was only created to garnish a higher ranking. This type of content will result in penalties.

  • Affiliate programs without adding sufficient value: Websites that link products from other websites (such as Amazon, eBay, etc.) but pretend that they are an official retailer or in affiliation with those sites are called Thin Affiliation sites, and they add little to no incremental value (like extra reviews, search functionality, Editor’s Choice, etc.). and are only intended to take credit for other content. It can lead to demotion or even the delisting of your website from our search results.

  • Malicious behavior: When creating content and managing your site, make sure to not participate in phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware by verifying your content, maintaining your Content Management System, keeping your operating system up to date, and by limiting access to who can publish on your site. Malicious behavior can lead to demotion or even the delisting of your website from our search results.

  • Misleading structured data markup: Site with markups must be accurate and representative of the page that the tags are on. In particular, sites must not have markup which is irrelevant to the page it is on or is inaccurate or misleading.