We are used to hear from Google about SEO practices we should avoid as webmasters when optimizing and promoting our website (also known as Black Hat), while Bing is rarely making a sound about it. I even found it difficult (very difficult) to discover at least some information about this issue in Bing Webmaster Help!
However yesterday, Duane Forrester from the Bing’s Webmaster Program, has released (on behalf of Bing) a post elaborating which SEO practices webmasters should avoid (finally). Although you probably wouldn’t find there anything surprising that is essentially different from the quality guidelines by Google, i think that the second most popular search engine (in the US at least) should have a clear policy of wrong webmaster’s practices.
Let’s dive into Bing’s webmaster avoidance recommendations:
Cloaking- By detecting who is visiting, the website is showing different content for human visitors and for search bots (crawlers) which is obviously misleading and manipulative.
Buying Links- Although Bing seems to take this issue lighter than Google, it still warns webmasters from this practice: “If it gets to be problematic for us, we’ll take action against the sites involved.” By the way, it looks like Bing also penalized Chrome homepage for its paid links story just as Google did.
Link Farms- Bing is stating very clearly that link farms don’t have much value in terms of SEO and highly recommending webmasters not to associate their site with these type of pages/websites.
Link Exchange/Three-Way Linking- Bing shares the same approach to link exchanges as Google’s. They are also suggesting to abstain three-way linking methods which is supposedly a more sophisticated way of link exchange.
Duplicate Content- The basic principles of unique content that hasn’t published anywhere else on the web, falls on Bing too. Bing also emphasis the importance of a proper site structure to avoid duplicate content on the site itself and suggest using the rel=canonical HTML tag.
Social Signals Manipulations- Bing is calling them “Like farms” and “Auto-follows”, which basically resembles to link exchanges or link farms just with manipulatively receiving social signals (“Like”, “+1”, “Tweet”) or the number of followers on social networks instead of links.
Thin-Content- Although Bing yet to have a sophisticated algorithm such as the Panda algorithm to identify content quality, it still highlighting the need for quality content that will offer the best user experience as possible.
For closer, here’s a short video of Bing’s Duane Forrester interview, talking about the importance of quality content: