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Site not appearing in Bing, DuckDuckGo possibly due to Bing search index removal

I’m posting this for sake of any Googlers coming along with various “Site not appearing in Bing” queries trying to understand why their website isn’t in Bing or DuckDuckGo’s search index. I say Googlers because my site does not appear in Bing or DuckDuckGo and hasn’t for about a year now.

I first noticed my site was de-listed from Bing in January 2022. I submitted a ticket via Bing Webmaster Tools, because Bing Webmaster Tools is otherwise useless and shows me nothing.

No data for anything, not even the errors on crawl, which are probably accurate given I have about that pages in my site set to no-follow or are otherwise taxonomy pages.

But 1,200 crawl requests is accurate. What isn’t is that my site was de-listed by Bing sometime in 2021, possibly even 2020. And because DuckDuckGo gets their de-listing index from Bing, I’m also gone from there, too.

DuckDuckGo does have the ability to de-list sites, as a recent Verge story on piracy sites shows. But, it’s also possible Bing removed them first and DDG’s index followed suit. This is the danger of relying on people for your core technologies.

Best I can tell and know:

  • My site has never had a malware problem or security issue to warrant removal.
  • My site has never had a copyright or legal issue that would warrant removal.
  • This site is submitted to Bing and Bing clearly knows it exists, because it can crawl my robots.txt and sitemap just fine.
  • This site is not blocking the Bing bot or its IP.

Further, I have other sites hosted on the same hosting service or other services with similar setups. All WordPress sites, all running the latest versions of plugins and services, and all otherwise normal, fine sites.

My current pet theory is this has something to do with importing from Google Search Console. This website you’re on right now is the only website I’ve ever submitted or setup in Bing Webmaster Tools. And when I set it up, it strongly encouraged me to import directly from GSC, including the site authorization. Basically, Microsoft was letting Google do all the authentication work. And my site is fine and has always been fine in Google’s Search Console.

My only guess is that after moving IPs or maybe switching the GSC authorization code around, Bing lost something in the shuffle. Or, Bing just thinks my site has a problem it does not and can’t even show me a useful error message or help document to resolve it.

I have little other evidence to support that theory. But earlier this week I noticed Shawn Blanc’s popular Tools And Toys website and The Sweet Setup were both de-indexed from Bing and DDG. His personal website is not.

Further, Reddit threads abound of people claiming their site is de-indexed or otherwise blocked with no real recourse or appeal process in place.

I’ve submitted tickets to Bing Webmaster Tools three times. Only on the first time, back in January, did I get a response in about two weeks from someone saying my ticket was “escalated to a manager”. I have no idea why or how or for what reason. Since then it’s been radio silence.

But it seems obvious to me Bing has a terrible bug that’s de-indexing otherwise normal, mundane websites for no other reason than just an erroneous bit of automation.

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Justin has been around the Internet long enough to remember when people started saying “content is king”.

He has worked for some of Indiana’s largest companies, state government, taught college-level courses, and about 1.1M people see his work every year.

You’ll probably see him around Indianapolis on a bicycle.

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