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Amara Graham
Amara Graham

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Bing Webmaster Tools De-indexed My Docs Site and Increased My Cognitive Load

On August 24th, I was listening to @radiomorillo's The Developer's Guide to SEO Audits in a panic because she was wrapping up her content (literally already miss her online, but I know this was the best choice for her ❤️) and taking things offline. I'm incredibly motivated by deadlines.

I reached out to our web strategist:

Quick question, do you also use Bing Webmaster tools?

Yes, but not often was the response I got and, because I'm curious, I signed in and had her add me.

Although, it looks like the sites broke on July 6...not sure what's going on there.

Bing Webmaster Tools screenshot with a flat line since July 6 but some consistent peaks and valleys before that


Then 5 minutes later our docs site crashed.

Unrelated, but the foreshadowing was incredible.

From there I embarked on a journey that was parts annoying and parts validating and parts doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. What? The internet told me to.

Bing, sometime around July 6th, decided to de-index for reasons I may never know. No warning, just gone.

I submitted a valid sitemap that was already available to crawlers. The site was indexable and indexed on Google. Then I started digging into other search engine's like DuckDuckGo.

If you actually made it here before being like "Amara, who cares about Bing?" - congrats.

Everyone should care about Bing if you think anyone in your audience is anti-Google. Bing is actually part of the data that DuckDuckGo and other non-Google search engines use because they don't build and maintain their own search index.

The venn diagram is a separate circle for Google, and some kind of mess of overlapping circles for Bing, DuckDuckGo, and everyone else, which I, not shockingly, didn't learn at any point in my 4 year BS in CS.

So I submitted a support ticket for our site on August 26th and was pleasantly surprised to get an auto response saying I would get a reply in 10 days.


November 1st, I used the portion of my brain solely devoted to resubmitting the sitemap and requesting indexing on the exact same pages Bing de-indexed, as I have for months, but before I could I noticed a change - WAS indexable AND indexed says Bing Webmaster Tools.

I did not receive a response from Bing Webmaster Tools support in 10 days. I haven't received a response AT ALL. In fact, you can't email anyone or anything without it bouncing.

The only thing that changed between July 6th and now is every time we published docs changes and every time I had a spare cycle in my overall cognitive load, I requested indexing on the top-nav or high level pages in the docs. I requested the home page. I resubmitted the sitemap.

And then I forgot about it for like 2 weeks because life and it seemingly wasn't a problem anymore.

If you enjoy people mostly talking to themselves on issues for an annoying problem with seemingly no solution, do I have the issue for you.

But if that didn't sell it for you, here is this nugget:

Looks like this is happening to other folks, looks fine on Google, but not fine on Bing.

To recap: I did nothing, Bing de-indexed my website, Bing said I violated its guidelines, I continued to do nothing, Bing restored my website, and now everything seems (mostly) fine.

I don't know Jesse Squires but if he didn't sum up his experience in a way that both validated and horrified me, I'm sure I would have given up, wontfix, labeled this problem as NP-complete, and cried because computers suck.

I leave you with this:

Bing Webmaster Tools screenshot with a flat line since the start of the graph, with peaks and valleys on the right, indicating we are reindexed!

And you can Bing it yourself. We are back on Bing and my cognitive load is just a hair freer.

Top comments (2)

davidgs profile image
David G. Simmons

You are the first person in history to say "Bing it yourself" but I'm trusting that you didn't do it with a straight face. I'm scared to go look and see if my site is indexed by Bing.

missamarakay profile image
Amara Graham

Crossing all my fingers and toes you don't have an indexing issue with Bing!

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