Forward

Ever since I setup this blog I've wanted my site to be properly indexed by Bing and Google. This will ensure that my blog is indexed by the big providers in the USA as well as providing a starting point for getting the DuckDuckGo search box working.

After a few weeks I can report that I no longer see errors from Bing or Google. Google just kind of worked but Bing took a bit more effort.

Problem 1 - Crawling Pages

My first main problem was Bing was either slow to find my pages via the site maps I submitted or didn't find them at all. I ended up discovering their URL Submission tool and that helped a ton. Once I started submitting URLs via the linked tool, pages started showing up regularly in their crawler.

I have no idea why this was the case but I have a feeling it was due to how 'new' my site was at the time (it's still considered new from what I can figure out).

They also penalize 'new' sites for quota limits (they won't change them, I asked support) and it took me a few days to get 'caught up'. Now I'm in the habit of submitting posts as soon as they go live for ensuring they get seen by the crawler sooner than later.

Problem 2 - Errors Galore

The next problem I ran into was errors surfacing in the Bing dashboard. I couldn't figure out what was going on until I found their Site Scan tool. I ran it and, lo! Errors, warnings and notices.

Some of these were pretty easy to sort out. Others were a tad trickier.

Protip : don't use # Heading tags with markdown, they want to see only one <h1> tag per page which is burned by the blog post title. Use ## Header instead.

The biggest hiccup was their insistence on having proper <meta name="foo" value="bar"> tags on ALL pages. Even index and aggregation pages. This took me awhile to sort out fully.

Post/Page Meta

For individual blog posts as well as individual pages you'll want to open the post/page, smash the Settings gear and then click the Meta Data box. Once in the meta data zone be sure to fill out BOTH the Meta Title and Meta Description fields. Without BOTH of these fields you're going to get errors and warnings from Bing on your content pages.

Index / Tag Pages

The above post/page trick will not work for the paginated blog pages or tag pages. They are auto-generated by ghost and the underlying ghost engine does NOT add the necessary meta fields to the page.

You can get around this with the following code snippet. I had to put this in the default.hbs theme file for it to activate and solve the remaining few errors I had with my Bing reports.

	{{!-- Slip in a meta tag required to resolve bing webmaster errors in the event the name/description fields are not going to be filled in for a page --}}
	{{!-- This should only apply to blank blog post meta / paginated pages --}}
	{{!-- These (if not blank on a page/post) are auto-filled by ghost_head --}}
	{{!-- This is for index and tag pages specifically --}}
	{{#is "index"}}
	{{^is "home"}}
		<meta name="description" content="This page was generated by the ghost.org engine and does not have associated metadata that would be auto-included during page generation.">
	{{/is}}
	{{/is}}
	{{#is "tag"}}
		<meta name="description" content="This page was generated by the ghost.org engine and does not have associated metadata that would be auto-included during page generation.">
	{{/is}}

Problem Solved

With the above tricks I no longer have any errors, warnings or notices in my Bing Site Scans. This was a problem that was driving me up the wall and I have a feeling part of my indexing issue with Bing was the volume of errors generated by the pagination and tag pages.

🤞 their crawler will start indexing my pages and ensure I have a bit more exposure going forward.