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Dear Bing, could you please crawl my website?

Normally I blog in Dutch, but this time I’ll try some American English because I need some people at Microsoft / MSN / Bing to read this.

So what’s the problem? Well, Google nearly has a monopoly in Search. In The Netherlands they have a share of about 97% and I believe monopolies are always bad in the end. Microsoft could be one of the main competitors of Google.

I’ve been blogging about Microsoft trying to compete for a long time now. I even went to Redmond in 2006 to visit the MSN team. (thanks for that!) And they make cool stuff! Their birds-eye view in maps is cool. And that new street slide thing. And how about Photosynth, that’s cool too! Furthermore they came up with new ways of presenting search results and the endless scroll in image search. Their search engine isn’t bad at all. Regular people that don’t work in the online business everyday won’t see any difference in search quality between Bing and Google. So there is a lot of potential up there in Redmond and I honestly hope they will succeed in getting a bit more market share.

But on the other hand, sometimes they just suck. And they don’t seem to care about Europe. Yeah, I know, Europe has all those nasty laws and a lot of different countries with people speaking strange languages. Sorry about that. But can you guys at least pretend to care about us?

Most cool new fancy Bing features aren’t even available outside the US. When you do a search for ‘new york hotels’ you would expect a map and some related searches and maybe some video of tweets and all that, but for us the page looks like this:

Looks like a 2006 search engine to me…

Oh, and about that crawler you guys have: MSNbot. What did you do with that? Is there some rule it can only access .com domains or something? This website has been live since July the 8th. Google indexed it on the 9th. On the 26th I got impatient so I checked Bing and my site isn’t there. So I installed this crawl checking thing. Here’s a screenshot. No Bing.

So I made a Bing Webmaster Tools account, installed Silverlight (What the ?) and uploaded my feed as a sitemap on July the 30th. The Silverlight thingy even told me the sitemap was a ‘success’. However, when I just checked Bing again: site:remivanbeekum.nl

Come on! This site has been live for almost a month now. I got some links and submitted my feed. It shouldn’t be too hard to index a couple of WordPress pages, right?

I got a comment from Bas van den Beld here saying that you guys probably focus on a couple of countries where you already have some market share and where there is more search volume. Because more volume means more money. He could be right. You know what? I even think that’s a pretty good strategy.

But focussing on one thing doesn’t mean you have to totally neglect the rest. So please fire that crawler of yours up and index some non-American sites too. You owe this to all that people that have IE pre-installed on their PC . Otherwise you should just put a big ‘Bing is not available outside the United States’ sign on your homepage.

About Remi van Beekum

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21 thoughts on “Dear Bing, could you please crawl my website?”

  1. I agree, Remi. The Bing engine isn’t bad at all, at least the US version isn’t. The problem lies in the fact that MS only has an US vision, not only with their search engine, but with a few other products too. Take Zune HD, for instance, I thought it was a pretty neat piece of hardware. It has potential. But no, only available to US citizens only.

    Again, I don’t believe in their strategy. There is no point in launching Bing in Europe anymore. You can only make a first impression once. A lot of people tried it, saw nothing new, and kicked it to the curbes again. Now it’s going to cost MS money to relaunch the damn thing in Europe to get people take a second look.

    Anyway, I hope they will (re)launch it, fire up their bot and become a serious competitor here in Europe, or Holland. MS will rename their bot October 1st, so maybe that’s their moment to fire away here in Europe.

  2. No probs here too. My blog (SocialMe.nl) got indexed within a week after the launch, with just a few minor links and no addurl. Now, 4 months later, it ranks #9 on “social media”, so you won’t hear me complain about that either…

    Still weird though, your experiences and all…

  3. @ Martin Joosse,
    You got your site indexed in Bing in 48 hours? That’s impressive! Was it a .nl hosted in The Netherlands?
    And how about the others, how long did it take them?

    @ Dennis Sievers,
    I missed that new spider coming up. Maybe that will improve things a little.
    You’ve got a good point about that first impression. Bing is ruining their reputation here. And not because they do a bad job at search, but because they have a US citizens only mindset.

    @ Jordy Noll,
    My main point is not my site being indexed in Bing. The point is that Bing should make all those cool new features available outside the US as well. Like Dennis says, they are not bad at search, they just seem to forget about the world outside the states.

    @ All my readers,
    I got a visitor from Washington US! Whoohoo! It might be somebody at Bing. Here’s proof:

    If you are reading this, will you please walk to the big spider machine thingy. Ther’s is a slider with “US” next to it. Put that slider back from 10 to 5. The other slider with “rest of the world” is at 0 now. Please put that one up to 5 as well.
    Thank you.

  4. Bing responded to my question! But they didn’t read my post…
    They just saw the word ‘crawl’ in the title and gave me the following auto respond:

    “Bing Hi Remi – We have tons of information on our webmaster blog where you can learn how Bing crawls your site and find other SEO tools. Check it out here: http://binged.it/amcupg

    (You can find it in the Bing Facebook thing, but I cannot find a deeplink)

    Not a very satisfying respond this..

  5. Hi Remi,

    nice one (sorry for the Dutch response, you can delete that ;) ).

    I totally agree with you that we need Bing to roll out their products here in Europe, the sooner the better :). I’m however afraid we’ll have to wait a while… But maybe if we all keep asking them nicely ;).

    My information was given to me by the people high up within Bing, so you can believe that information :).

    There’s something else which also plays a part in this, the fact that Bing doesn’t want to be ‘search engine’ as such, but a ‘decision engine’, which doesn’t make it easier to implement also…

  6. I hope BING will move their focus a bit outside the US soon, since late 2010 the new Windows Phone will launch worldwide, which includes BING as main descision-maker.

    If you really want pages indexed, in the new BING webmastertools you’ll find an option to add links manually, tested it last week and yes, those are added to the index within a few days. (max 50 manual adds monthly/site)

  7. @ Bas van den Beld,
    As you requested I deleted your first (Dutch) comment.

    And I think your are right about them focusing on the US first. I even think that could be a good strategy. As a manager I learned that making choices is very important when you do product development. People tend to do too much different things and do them all poorly.

    But I think they could at least put a small team on this. Not to roll out everything in every country, but just some essentials.

    For example: Why are there no ‘related searches’ in the Dutch Bing? That’s just an algorithm, so it should be just e few hours work to implement that in the Dutch Bing, right?

    @ Frank Mulder,
    For the record: I really don’t care about Bing indexing my site or not. That was just a way for me to tell the story of Bing neglecting the non-US-world. This is not me talking as a webmaster or SEO, but me as a concerned customer seeing Google being a monopolist and having too much power.

    @ All,
    Bing just crawled one of my pages!

    It’s only the robots.txt for now. But maybe…. ;-)

    Oh and I got 8 visitors from the Washington state. 6 from Redmond and Seattle. And 2 from smaller cities. (Zillah and Mead)

  8. Die uit Washington kan ik nog wel eens zijn geweest… Deze comment komt ook op je site vanuit New York, terwijl ik mij daar op dit moment fysiek niet bevindt :-) Lang leve internet, waar je fysieke locatie al lang niet meer van belang is…

  9. @ Leon,
    Ja, het is inderdaad niet moeilijk om via een proxy ofzo net te doen alsof je ergens anders zit. Maar dat doen normale gebruikers niet, dus is het in de webanalitics irrelevant. Er is altijd een kleine meet afwijking.
    Die Visitor Tracking Kaart heet overigens Google Analytics. En ik zie inderdaad je visit vanuit San Francisco (216.131.71.88) terug. Je poging om net te doen of je in New York zit mislukte. Ik heb gisteren geen bezoekers uit New York op de site gemeten. Volgens mij klopt dit IP niet: 98.158.121.4

    Tot slot had ik wellicht even een update moeten doen, want de afgelopen dagen kwamen 14 mensen uit de VS op die post. Ik weet natuurlijk niet of dat mensen van Bing zijn of mensen die graag statistieken in de war gooien. Maar aangezien 10 ervan uit de Seattle/ Redmond regio (in de staat Washington) komen, heb ik het idee dat in ieder geval een paar mensen bij Bing de boodschap ontvangen hebben.

  10. Well at least it seems Bing is trying. They crawled my robots.txt 6 times the last couple of days! It would be nice if they crawled some real pages two..

  11. The Bing people still didn’t respond. They only send me some link to the standard Noob ‘how to get your website crawled’ help file thing.
    They don’t care about making a good search engine and they really don’t care about the world outside the VS.
    Really dissapointing this…

    On the other hand: what was I expecting.
    So, let’s Google!

  12. Small update: Two of my pages have been indexed in Bing!
    Here they are (the feed and 1 page):
    http://www.bing.com/search?q=site:remivanbeekum.nl

    This website has been live since July the 8th, and that page is crawled on August 14th. So it took Bing 1 month and 6 days to crawl 2 pages of a normal WordPress blog that has some good links. (both follow and nofollow)

    I think I made my point here: Bing is barely crawling websites outsite the US at this point in time. I really don’t care about my site being in Bing. This is all about customers in The Netherlands having no options. We’ve got Google and nothing more. The main reason is that Bing just don’t seem to care about The Netherlands.

    But I got some attention from Bing. I had 42 visits from the US to this page, 25 from the Redmond/ Seattle aria. So maybe they’ll think a little more about us in the future. Let’s hope so, because we could use some Bing overhere!

  13. It seems lot’s of people have problems getting their site indexed by Microsoft’s search engine Bing. People found this page by the following queries (in Google):

    bing crawl my site
    after how much time bing crawls my site
    get bing to crawl my site
    how do i get bing to crawl my website
    how to get my website crawled by bing
    how to make bing to crawl the website
    poorly indexed in bing
    tell bing to crawl
    bing -bang -cherry -chandler -crosby -walla -bada
    does bing webmaster tools require silverlight?

    And more funny: After 54 days Bing still has only 1 page indexed (and a feed) . Despite I have submitted my feed in their webmaster tools and have some good incoming links.

    Oh and in case you missed it: Please also read this excellent post by Bas: Europe Needs Bing, But Does Bing Need Europe?

  14. Bing is neglecting the US world, also. And, let’s face it – all of the fancy gadgets in the world is NOT going to help if Bing doesn’t have the webpages indexed to deliver good results.

    I am working on a site with a .com domain that has been around for years. All 83 pages are indexed in Google. But, there are only 3 obscure pages indexed in Bing – none of them the home page.

    I have repeatedly submitted the site to Bing – both the URL and the sitemap – for months now, but to no avail. And, to add insult to injury, when I go into Bing’s webmaster at http://www.bing.com/webmaster, their site doesn’t work. For example, I click on the “Crawl” menu link and nothing happens. Yes – I don’t have Windows. However, I do have the latest version of Silverlight (yes – WT ?). Come on, Bing – the simple ability to link to other pages has been around for decades.

    There are over 8 MILLION searches for “bing get pages indexed” in Google, so I know that we are not the only people with issues.

    At this rate, Google will continue to have a superior search engine (and therefore, continue its powerful journey) simply because they have more – and fresher – pages to deliver.

  15. I found this very page on Google because after a month of being live, my new website has ONE indexed page on Bing. On Google… 200+ pages have been crawled. On Yahoo… a much less impressive 30+. But really? Only a single indexed page on Bing? It’s as if they make the Bing Webmaster Center available just to taunt you.

    By the way, my page is a US site entirely in English and the whole nine yards. So don’t think they are just keeping Europe out of the game… it’s a problem even for US websites. I can attest to that.

    If I had to guess, I’d say that Microsoft might try to validate their lazy crawler by saying that they are “trying to ensure that THEIR search engine returns only quality links on quality websites”. I guess I can understand that they might be trying to differentiate themselves from Google or Yahoo by limiting the quantity of ‘web noise’ they index, but arbitrarily shutting startup websites out of their search engine is probably a pretty poor way to accomplish that.

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