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Bing Webmaster Tools Introduces Enhancements to Its Sitemap Reporting Capabilities

September 21st, 2023

Bing Webmaster Tools has announced new enhancements to its sitemap reporting capabilities today hoping to give webmasters additional insights into how their websites are being indexed by Bing. These changes will help users investigate and fix any issues in their websites index coverage and give suggestions on how to have comprehensive and relevant sitemaps.

What New Sitemap Features Have Been Introduced to Bing Webmaster Tools?

  • Inclusion of a new page displaying all your submitted and organically found sitemaps. It provides details like submission dates, status (success or error), last crawl date, the number of discovered URLs, and a link to Index Coverage when applicable. Plus, you can easily resubmit sitemaps.
  • The sitemaps index file will be a listing of all sitemaps included and any issues that have been detected if any are present.
  • Recently Added: Bing will provide a detailed breakdown of the indexing status for URLs—highlighting those successfully indexed and those requiring attention—from both sitemaps and sitemap index files. This feature is currently accessible for sites with over 10,000 URLs indexed in Bing.

How Can I Use These New Features to Improve My Sites Coverage in Bing?

  • First: make sure Bing is in the loop about all the pertinent sitemaps linked to your website. If you spot any missing sitemaps, either submit them directly to Bing or include references in your robots.txt file. Alternatively, ensure they’re part of a sitemap index file already mentioned in the robots.txt file.
  • Second: pinpoint and rectify issues in your sitemaps. For example, if Bing Bot is struggling to crawl your sitemaps, check for any restrictions in the robots.txt settings. Also, organize individual sitemaps using Index Sitemaps to keep the number of URLs below 50,000 and each file size under 50 MB for optimal discovery.
  • Third: when it comes to the new indexing report, identify why URLs listed in your sitemaps might not be indexed. Focus on URLs that require attention and make any necessary corrections.

The Sitemap Index Coverage provides insights into the indexing status of your pages on Bing. It reveals the number of pages indexed, those excluded from indexing, and the reasons behind their exclusion. Each issue category includes sample URLs and their last crawl date for a more detailed analysis.

Recommendations from Bing:

  • Remove unnecessary or outdated URLs from sitemaps
  • List only relevant valid URLs and refresh once daily
  • Use the lastmod attribute to ensure crawlers only reach pages which have been recently updated

Quick Summary of lastmod Attribute:

The “lastmod” attribute in an XML sitemap stands for “last modification.” It indicates the date and time when the corresponding URL was last modified. This information helps search engines understand the freshness of the content on a particular page.

Here is an example of what lastmod looks like in your sitemap.xml:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">
   <url>
      <loc>http://www.example.com/</loc>
      <lastmod>2023-01-23</lastmod>     
   </url>
</urlset>

Utilizing the sitemap feature within Bing Webmaster Tools ensures the accuracy, currency, and relevance of your sitemaps for Bing’s crawler and indexer. This not only enhances your site’s visibility and ranking on Bing’s search results but also contributes to an improved user experience for your visitors. If your website needs a boost in Bing search results our expert Organic Website Optimization Company can help you today.

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