De-indexed from Bing
I have, with curiosity, read Hacker News posts by site admins who were de-indexed by Bing. Search engines and tools are an area of interest of mine, and I wrote two articles about the inherent dangers of alternative search tools such as DuckDuckGo, Bing, Swisscows, MetaGer, and others, relying entirely or almost entirely on Bing's index.
Today, I became the people complaining on Hacker News. The New Leaf Journal was, without warning, de-indexed by Bing, and along with it, every Bing front-end. For our purposes, the worst effect is being unavailable in DuckDuckGo, which is our second biggest referrer after Google (and third in 2022 after Google and Hacker News).
While it is interesting to prove the point of my articles in a direct way, I'd much prefer to be indexed by Bing and leave the proving my point to others. Why were we de-indexed? Bing Webmaster will not tell me, but I identified a few possibilities.
- Our WordPress theme includes the option to output meta tags on every page. I use The SEO Framework to take care of that, so I disable the meta tag functionality in our theme. I did not notice that the function was enabled when I switched from the parent theme to the child theme two weeks ago. Bing did note dual meta tag errors. I removed the theme meta tags and Bing Webmaster now acknowledges that the issue is resolved.
- I changed our site icon from a heavy .png file to a lighter .jpg file. However, my redirection plugin was set to not automatically create redirects (I thought it was enabled). I had already created redirects for 2 of 3 image sizes before the de-indexing. I created the third today.
Notably, I had submitted our site for a full scan last night (January 15) only to be de-indexed on the morning of the 16th (I had a few daily DuckDuckGo referrals when I woke up, so the de-indexing must have occurred after midnight). Having fixed the only issues I could identify, I submitted the site for another scan. I also emailed Bing with an inquiry.
In the end, I assume I will be re-indexed, but given how many people use privacy-focused search engines that depend wholly on Bing's index, this will be a small problem until the issues -- which are now out of my hands -- are resolved.