Bing SEO Report Recommendations

The SEO Report, in Bing Webmaster Tools, can provide you with several recommendations to improve your SEO results- whether on Bing or Google.

Below is a list of all the possible recommendations you might find there. With each recommendation you’ll find:

  • How serious the issue might be (according to Bing and from my own experience).
  • An explanation of what that particular thing might do for your SEO efforts.
  • A recommendation to solve the issue.
  • Whether or not Google agrees that this is an issue you need to solve.

These recommendations assume you’re trying to optimize an existing website. However, if you’re familiar with these recommendations it will help you as you produce new pages on your website, too.

The <h1> tag is missing.

How serious is it if the <h1> tag is missing?

The Bing SEO Report says this is a high severity issue.

I don’t think it’s that serious. While this might be valuable on page for which you hope to get traffic or customers, it is fine if some pages do not have an <h1> tag. What’s more important than having an <h1> tag on each page is having a unique topical focus on each page to be different. Usually your <h1> tag reflects that. So, if the <h1> tag is important it’s even more important that every page has a unique <h1> tag that reflects the unique purpose and topical target on that page.

What does the <h1> tag do?

The <h1> tag is an indicator to Bingbot and web visitors of what the body copy’s primary theme or topic is. The <h1> tag reinforces the core keyword(s) found in the title, description, and the body copy. We recommend that the <h1> tag includes keywords that reflect the contents of the page and that it is not longer than approximately 150 characters in length.

What should you do if the <h1> tag is missing?

If the <h1> tag is missing, the Bing SEO Report suggests you:

Add a header to the page by using a <h1> tag and place it within the <body> of the page source.

Example:

<body>
    <h1>A precise and descriptive headline for the page</h1>
    ...
</body>

Does Google care if the <h1> tag is missing?

In my experience, Google does not value the <h1> tag as much as Bing does. That being said, I’d still have one unique <h1> tag on the pages for which you hope to attract traffic and customers. It’s okay if some pages (especially navigational or archival pages) do not have an <h1> tag on them.

The description is missing in the head section of the page.

How serious is it if the description is missing in the head section of the page?

The Bing SEO Report says this is a high severity issue.

I do not characterize this issue so severely. In fact, because Bing (and Google) will frequently replace the description you’ve written with one they think is “better” I typically only write meta descriptions for pages that sell a product or service. I rarely write meta descriptions for blog posts- I’ll let the search engines write those for me.

As a rule, it’s always better to have no meta descriptions than duplicated meta descriptions. So, if you’ve not gotten around to writing your meta descriptions uniquely for each page yet, this actually might be a good thing. Please see my recommendations about how to write an effective meta description.

What does the meta description in the head of the page do?

Search engines may use the description provided in the <description> tag in the search engine results page (SERP). A well-written description that pertains to the content of the page and that is relevant to the searcher’s intent can help you increase traffic since it can help improve the click-through rate of your page in search.

What should you do if the description is missing in the head section of the page?

If the description is missing in the head section of the page, the Bing SEO Report suggests you:

Add a description to the <head> section of the page source: <meta name=’description’ content=’Descriptive, keyword-rich text that talks about the page content goes here.’>.

Example:

<head>
    <meta name='description' content='Descriptive, keyword-rich text that talks about the page content goes here.'>
</head>

Does Google care if the description is missing in the head section of the page?

While neither Bing nor Google use the meta description to “rank” a page, it does give you an opportunity to convince someone to click on your link (of the other 9 blue links) in the SERPs. Note, however, that Google and Bing might replace your meta description with something they think is “better” for their users- so there’s no guarantee anyone will ever see what you write.

The description is too long or too short.

How serious is it if the description is too long or too short?

The Bing SEO Report says this is a high severity issue.

I do not think a long or short meta description is such a big deal- but still worth fixing. Short meta descriptions might be a missed opportunity for you to convince someone to click on your website from the search results. Long meta descriptions might be ignored or truncated in the search results.

What should you do if the description is too long or too short?

If the description is too long or too short, the Bing SEO Report suggests you:

Change the description in the <meta description> tag in the page source to be between 25 and 160 characters in length.

Search engine crawlers only show the first 150-160 characters of the description in the search results page, so if a description is too long, searchers may not see all of the text. If a description is too short, the search engines may add text found elsewhere on the page. Note that search engines may show a different description from the one you have authored if they feel it may be more relevant to a user’s search.

Does Google care if the description is too long or too short?

Google treats meta descriptions the same way as Bing: suggestions for descriptive text under the links in the search results. They are not ranking factors. Still, if they’re too short or too long, you might miss opportunities.

The page contains multiple titles.

How serious is it if the page contains multiple titles?

The Bing SEO Report says this is a high severity issue.

I agree. Multiple title tags could send confusing messages to the search engines. Since this is one of the most important on-page SEO factors, fix these!

What should you do if the page contains multiple titles?

If the page contains multiple titles, the Bing SEO Report suggests you:

Remove redundant <title> tags from the page source, so that only one <title> tag exists.

As a rule, you should only have a single <title> per page on your website.

Does Google care if the page contains multiple titles?

Yes. Fix it!

The page uses a meta robots tag that needs review.

How serious is it if the page uses a meta robots tag that needs review?

The Bing SEO Report says this is a high severity issue.

I’d say it might be a serious issue. You’re getting this notice because Bing things you might want it to index the page. It’s worth your time to check that you really do want these pages not to be indexed by the search engines. Then again, you might not want this (and this is exactly what you hope to see).

What does the meta robots tag do?

Using <meta robots> tags, you control certain crawl and indexation behaviors for the page. The content values ‘none’, ‘noindex’, ‘nofollow’, ‘noarchive’, ‘nosnippet’, and ‘nocache’ will trigger this rule. For example, having <meta name=’robots’ content=’noindex’> within the page source will trigger this message, as we want to be sure you do not want Bing to index this page.

What should you do if the page uses a meta robots tag that needs review?

If the page uses a meta robots tag that needs review, the Bing SEO Report suggests you:

The pages uses a meta robots tag. Review the value of the tag to see if you are not unintentionally blocking the page from being indexed (NOINDEX).

Example:

<head>
    <meta name='robots' content='noindex'>
</head>

Does Google care if the page uses a meta robots tag?

You bet it does! This might prevent Google from indexing the page for their search resutls, too. You can check this in Google Search Console to see if they are interpreting the meta robots tag in the same way as Bing.

The title is missing in the head section of the page.

How serious is it if the title is missing in the head section of the page?

The Bing SEO Report says this is a high severity issue.

I agree! Title tags are important for your SEO efforts. Here are some tips on writing effective title tags.

What does the title tag do?

Search engines use the <title> tag as an important signal for determining the page’s relevancy for a given keyword search. It is important to ensure that your <title> tag is unique and descriptive, and contains accurate information about the content of the page. The title should be unique to each page on your website.

What should you do if the title is missing in the head section of the page?

If the title is missing in the head section of the page, the Bing SEO Report suggests you should:

Add a title to your page using the <title> tag which should be placed inside the <head> section of the source of the page. Write a concise, descriptive, keyword-rich page title to best describe the page content.

Example:

<head>
    <title>Title of the page goes here…</title>
</head>

Does Google care if the title is missing in the head section of the page?

Yes they do. The title tag might be the most important on-page ranking factor. Make sure you use them! Even if you don’t expect to get traffic to the page, your visitors will appreciate it when they see the title tag in the tab in the top of their browser.

It’s not only important (for Google and Bing) to have a title tag on each page, but it’s essential that every title tag be completely unique. Each page should have a unique purpose on your website- and a unique topical focus. The title tag should reflect that unique topic and reason for the page to exist.

There are multiple <h1> tags on the page

How serious is it if there are multiple <h1> tags on the page?

The Bing SEO Report says this is a high severity issue.

I don’t think this is such a big deal. It might not even be worth changing.

What should you do if there are multiple <h1> tags on the page?

If there are multiple <h1> tags on the page, the Bing SEO Report suggest you should:

Remove redundant <h1> tags from the page source, so that only one <h1> tag exists.

Bing also adds:

These pages have more than one <h1> tag. Multiple <h1> header tags might confuse search engine bots and website’s users. It is recommended to use only one <h1> tag per page.

Does Google care if there are multiple <h1> tags on the page?

Absolutely not. They’ve even explicitly said that this doesn’t matter to Google.

The page is missing meta language information.

How serious is it if the page is missing meta language information?

The Bing SEO Report says this is a moderate issue. This is an old recommendation and no longer an issue at all.

What does the meta language information do?

The Meta Language information is used as a hint to help us understand the intended language and country/region the page content applies to. This can help if your site is not hosted in the country/region. Use the “content-language” meta tag to embed the culture code in the section of your page.

For example,

<meta http-equiv='content-language' content='en-gb'>

indicates that the page is in English and intended for the the United Kingdom. Alternatively, you can use

<html lang='en-gb'>

or

<title lang='en-gb' />

What should you do if the page is missing meta language information?

If the page is missing meta language information, the Bing SEO Report suggest you should:

Use tag in the section of your page, where ‘en-gb’ stands for the culture code of the language and country/region the content applies to. Alternatively use the lang=’en-gb’ attribute on either the <html> or the <title> tag .

Example:

<head>
     <meta http-equiv='content-language' content='en-gb'>
</head>

Does Google care if the page is missing meta language information?

Google no longer uses meta language information for websites.

Evaluated size of HTML is estimated to be over 125 KB and risks not being fully cached.

How serious is it if the evaluated size of html is estimated to be over 125 kb and risks not being fully cached?

The Bing SEO Report says this is a low severity issue.

If something is keeping a page from being cached by the search engine, I’d suggest this is a very important issue and needs to be fixed ASAP. This might be the most important issue in this list!

What should you do if the evaluated size of html is estimated to be over 125 kb and risks not being fully cached?

If evaluated size of html is estimated to be over 125 kb and risks not being fully cached, the Bing SEO Report suggests you:

Ensure that the page source does not contain large amounts of CSS or code at the top of the page. Consider moving code and styles into separate files.

Bing continues:

Search engines may not fully acquire the content on a page if the page contains a lot of code. Extraneous code can push the content down in the page source making it harder for a search engine crawler to get to. A soft limit of 125 KB is used for guidance to ensure all content & links are available in the page source to be cached by the crawler. This basically means if the page size is too big, a search engine may not be able to get all of the content or may end up not fully caching it.

Does Google care if the evaluated size of html is estimated to be over 125 kb and risks not being fully cached?

I’ve never seen anything from Google that suggest a limit of this nature that could prevent them from caching a page. However, I’ve seen some pages that clearly have “extraneous code” that pushes “content down in the page source making it harder for a search engine crawler to get to.” I’ve noticed that Google had a hard time caching some of these pages, too. This might be a good tool to determine what pages might suffer from this problem and might be worth fixing despite Google’s silence about a specific byte-limit to HTML. At the least, cleaning up pages can improve a website’s page speed- and that might just help you in Google.

The <img> tag does not have an ALT attribute defined.

How serious is it if the <img> tag does not have an alt attribute defined?

The Bing SEO Report says this is a low severity issue.

I agree- despite what you might have heard elsewhere- this isn’t a big deal.

What does an <img> tag ALT attribute do?

As a general rule, search engines do not interpret the content of image files. The text provided in the <img alt> attribute enables the site owner to provide relevant information to the search engine and to the end user. Alt text is helpful to end users if they have images disabled or if the image does not properly load. In addition, the Alt text is utilized by screen readers. Make sure that your Alt text is descriptive and accurately reflects what the image represents and supports the content on the page.

What should you do if the <img> tag does not have an alt attribute defined?

If the <img> tag does not have an alt attribute defined, the Bing SEO Report suggests you:

Use the <img alt> attribute to write descriptive content for the image: <img source=’pic.gif’ alt=’Accurate and descriptive keyword text that represents the image.’ />.

Does Google care if the <img> tag does not have an ALT attribute defined?

Not really- for the same reasons Bing mentions. Google recently stated that this only helps you if you’re trying to see your images show up in Google Image Search- but it won’t help your page “rank” better.


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