I’m not ranking in Live Search, what can I do?

That’s a good question, and you’ve come to the right place.  If your site is not performing in Live Search or you are not being indexed by Live Search here are some steps you can take to change course and improve your rank.  First and foremost at Live Search ranking is free and you can’t pay to boost your website’s relevance ranking.  We have a completely automated ranking process which takes into account a lot of different factors. These factors include web page content, the number and quality of websites that link to your pages, and the relevance of your website’s content to query terms.  So let’s work through the possible issues and what you can do…

1. Have you built great content?

I’m sure you hear this all the time, but this is always the first item you should consider when thinking about SEO, because it is the primary influencer of all the other factors. Quality content has a long shelf life, and will accrue many quality backlinks over its lifetime.

Top factors in creating great content:

  • Make it unique – make sure your content gets noticed by ensuring that it isn’t just one of a million similar articles. Find a way to make it different by focusing on a different subject, taking a different perspective, or making it entertaining.
  • Use the customer’s language – many times customers will use different words and phrases than you to describe your product or what they are looking for. For example, for a long time Microsoft’s official web site for Visual Basic did not rank well for the term VB, because our internal branding guidelines required that we always refer to the product by its full name. So customers were searching for “VB”, and none of our pages used that term.
  • Know what keywords to use – make sure that you use keywords that are important to your company or site within your pages. For example, if your business is located in a specific town, make sure you include the name of that town in your site, along with common words that describe what you do. Be careful not to get carried away using too many keywords.
  • Write good HTML – as you write content, make sure that you are using HMTL tags appropriately, so that search engines can more easily understand your content. For example, make sure your important keywords show up in title tags, header tags and anchor text. And put descriptive text in the alt tags on your images.

Articles on building great content:

Examples of great content:

  • Digital Photo Review – they seem to know more about every digital camera than even the original manufactures of those cameras. And they have all those hi-res photos to make the shutterbugs drool…
  • PinchMySalt.com – a site that is notorious for tasty recipes and beautiful photographs.
  • BentoYum.com – Have a great product you want to sell? Why not create a blog showing potential customers all the different things they could do with it?
  • Amazon.com – they do a great job supplementing “the same old product descriptions” with some of the best user generated content on the web.

Creating a lot of good content is hard and takes a lot of time. But, you don’t have to do it all at once. The first thing I would recommend is to look around your office/ business and see if you don’t already have some great content lying around that you could put on the web. Do it. Then look for ways that you can incorporate building good content into your existing business routines.

2. Do you have 10 high quality sites linking to you?

Okay, so 10 isn’t really a magic number, but the more links you have from high quality, related, websites the better your site is going to be indexed and ranked by Live Search. Use our Webmaster Tools to see who’s linking to your site.

Ideas for generating high quality inbound links:

  • Start a blog – and write content that will give people a reason to link to your website
  • Join a reputable industry association – often times they will list their members and provide links to their websites. Examples could be a local rotary club, or a professional association like the American Medical Association.
  • Get involved with your community – participating with your community through blogs, forums and other online resources may give you legitimate reasons to provide links to your site.
  • Talk to a reporter – is there a potential story around your business? Or do you have helpful tips about your business people might be interested in? Pitch a story to a reporter or journalist, and they might give you a link.
  • Press Releases – if your company has a significant event, consider doing a press release through a site like http://prweb.com.
  • Suppliers and partners – ask your business partners if they would add a section to their website describing your partnership, with a link to your website. Or, if your suppliers have a website, perhaps they have a page where they recommend local distributers of their products.
  • Evangelize your site in the real world – with business cards, magnets, USB keys and other fun collectables

The process of building up these high quality links can take time, and we hear from many webmasters who have tried to speed things up by purchasing links, or participating in linking schemes. We recommend webmaster be very careful with these, as they can often end up hurting your ranking in the long run by providing you with only low quality links that are often associated with spammy sites. If a link isn’t adding significant value to a website’s user, than it is most likely a low quality link.

3. Could your website be too advanced for a robot to understand?

Okay, so you’ve got great content, and tons of backlinks but you’re still not getting the results you’re looking for? It is possible that Live Search is having technical problems crawling your website. Here are a few common issues you should investigate:

  • Heavy use of Flash, AJAX, Images or Silverlight – if you’re using any of these Rich Internet Application (RIA) technologies extensively on your website, then your site may be too advanced for a robot to understand. We recommend building the structure and content of your site in HTML, and then using these RIA technologies to spice up the user experience. That way you get cutting edge, web 2.0 user experiences, and search engines can still crawl your site and send you lots of traffic.
  • JavaScript navigation – any URL that is constructed using JavaScript will not be visible to a search engine, so those pages might not get indexed. (Note: that ASP.Net does this extensively with their postback infrastructure. Use that feature sparingly.)
  • Robots.txt file – a surprisingly high percentage of Robots.txt files are misconfigured to inadvertently block Live Search or other search engines from crawling their sites. You can use our Robots.txt Validation tool inside our Webmaster Center to check your file and see if it is okay.
  • Frames – search engines can sometimes have a difficult time understanding and crawling frames in HTML. We recommend that you not use them.

A good way to test for this is to look at your website with Flash, Silverlight, JavaScript and Images turned off. This is how robots view your website, and it is a good bet if you find it difficult to navigate your website under these conditions, than so will each search engine’s robots. A good way to test this is to use the developer toolbar in Firefox, and turn all of those options off before you surf your website.

4. Have you submitted a sitemap?

Sitemaps help us ensure that we’ve discovered all the pages on your website. This is especially important if you have a new website that might not have a lot of other sites linking to it yet. You can read more about sitemaps at http://sitemaps.org.  

5. Still no luck, now what?!?

The last question you’ll need to ask yourself is if you might have been using any “aggressive” marketing tactics (aka Spamming). The best way to check is to log into the Webmaster Tools, verify your site, and check your dashboard to see if we’re blocking any pages in your website. If so, after you have addressed the issue, you can use the form to request reinclusion into the Live Search index.

If you’ve been through all 5 steps, and everything looks good (except your results on Live Search) then you should contact us on the Webmaster Center Forums, or if it is a sensitive issue, use our private Feedback form. We’ll do our best to research and resolve your issue in a timely manner. But to set expectations, there are tens of millions of websites and only 3 of us at the moment – so we may not be able to reply to every request as quickly as you would like.

And to all you experienced SEO professionals out there, please leave your favorite tips and examples of good content in the comments below for our readers!

–Jeremiah Andrick, Live Search Webmaster Team

Join the conversation

  1. Anonymous

    Build link backs.. Do content writing and posting.. You will do whatever you do for other search engines.. It is faster and easier to get ranked on Live Search..

    Good Luck

  2. Anonymous

    I agree, your pages show up faster in Live Search then their competitors.

    Good luck.

  3. Anonymous

    I’m ranking in Live Search because I think that you will get better.

  4. Anonymous

    It took a while, but I am finally showing up in Live Search. Thanks for the article!

  5. Anonymous

    Bravo team… This is so boosting and encouraging to the SEO industry that you accept the right way of doing it.

    Awaiting your webmaster central tool…

  6. Anonymous

    How do I check MSN block my site?

  7. Anonymous

    Jeremiah, could you tell me, what’s wrong with the site http://www.history-aztec.com?

    It’s one of my sites, I proved it in Live Search Webmaster Tools.

    It goes out of index more than one year ago, and it still can’t come back. I’ve submitted a ticket to support.live.com, but they couldn’t help. They told me, that at late spring my site might return in search index, but it still not indexed (if you want, I can give you a ticked ID).

    I really don’t know what’s wrong with my site. Other search engines (Yahoo, Google) has indexed this site. What should I do to return it in index?

  8. Anonymous

    Thanks for the article! i have a site, have a bad indexing at msn bot, i think it’s a good guide to improve my index

  9. Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing some tips with us,

    I am fully listed with all my pages with your competitors but Live has only indexed one page….

  10. Anonymous

    Oh, great! I like "Ideas for generating high quality inbound links"

    Could you please tell me how is "high quality sites"?


  11. Anonymous

    Thanks for the article! My site, have a bad indexing at msn bot, i think it’s a good guide to improve my index.

    Thanks for support!

  12. Anonymous

    So far I am pretty disappointed with Lives Indexing or should I say lack of. We validated http://www.luaushirts.com in Webmaster tools and while the console says 1 URL is indexed we cant even find the domain in Lives index when we search for it. Sure the site is fairly new but Yahoo and Google have already indexed about 85% of the pages, thankfully we have some search engines that have their act together, we would hate to be sitting on all of our products while waiting on Live.

  13. Anonymous

    I have to reiterate the disappointment Luau Shirts mentions.  The site was last indexed in March.  I followed all the instructions to "fix" the site up even thought better search engines like Google and Yahoo have had no problem indexing the site.  

    The High Quality link backs list seems lame… like the mention of a refrigerator magnet… HUH?  

    Our site http://www.kleensweepofnj.com/ has been indexed by MSN Live in the past and then just stopped one day.  Thankfully the business is getting visibility even without lame Microsoft’s help.  Hopefully, Microsoft doesn’t buy out Yahoo!!!

  14. Anonymous


                 I am very happy to inform this ,we need help

  15. Anonymous

    how long does it take for the msn bot to crawl a site. our site exists since 2005 and we dont appear in msn live search :/

  16. Anonymous

    I do not use windows live very often,but I expect to be using it more as I  gain more knowledge  of pc usage.

  17. Anonymous

    Great post! May I suggest? Be specific. if you have quality content try to use specific words that describe well your articles and use the full length of the title in your web pages.

  18. Anonymous

    Your site map tools do not work or your crawler is 3-4 months behind. When we post our sitemap to other search engines we get crawled within 24 hours, often are our new contents searchable the next day.

  19. Anonymous

    Hello. Thanks for the post. It’s always usefull to get insight from those in the know.

    Having relied far too heavily on google for too long – and been stung because of it, we are now looking to optomise our content for the other major search engines.

  20. Anonymous

    Hi my website http://www.liedekerken.nl is findable in google and yahoo, but after a successful submitting the site it is now not in MSN live search anymore. The website is in asp.net 3.5 and it is xhtml 1.0 strict compliant. I use robots.txt, sitemap.xml and web.sitemap which are all valid. The msnbot crawler only comes to my website 3 times when I resubmit it, but it does not get listed (the last 6 times I tried to submit!).

    Does somebody know what is going on here?

    Thx, Marco Liedekerken

  21. Anonymous

    my mail is hacking.help me please

  22. Anonymous

    Why MSN is such slow to index new websites comapring to Google?

  23. Anonymous

    How long  a site index by msn?

  24. Anonymous

    i just learn seo triks, i glad saw this articel

  25. Anonymous

    really helpful info, i know how to deal with my site now.

  26. Anonymous

    Glad to see msn webmaster do so helpful things for us. thanks and greeting

  27. Anonymous

    These days, link building is everything. If you want your website to be successful then try to get as many links pointing to your website as possible.

    Agreeably, if you can make them ‘ High Quality Links ‘ then thats good also but a link is a link, if you can get one then go for it. Links help you in more ways than one.

    Dont give up. Running a website is lots of work.

  28. Anonymous


  29. Anonymous

    Thank you for the tips, it is hard work to build decent backlinks and also i appreciate the normal mareting practises you metioned.



  30. Anonymous

    thanks for article..i’m confused right now..i have robots.txt, submit xml, passed the validator xml, yahoo google already index my site..but MSN still not available..anyone can help me? it more than 1 week..

    thank for help..[at]<a href="http://jeparamebel.com">jeparamebel.com</a&gt;

  31. Anonymous

    Wow. Very well written list of tasks that need to be done. I didn’t know many of them. This will definitely help my blog get indexed by Live Search.

    Thanks a lot!

  32. Anonymous

    Hi, I am trying to get a higher ranking for our online rental market place http://www.rentmystock.com. We where placing a lot of tools rental, car rental, audio rental and video equipment rental articles in our rental categories.

    This article helped us a lot to rank our articles better, like rent tools, rent a car and rent audio equipment.

    Thanks a lot,

    toute a louer .com

  33. Anonymous

    I’m interested if a link from blogs.msdn.com reffering to my site (http://uroci.eu/courses.php) will rise our ranking. I’ll see it soon :)

  34. Anonymous

    not sure if it will rise ur standing ,-) but i’m trying as well

  35. Anonymous

    I see, i think i am lacking in good quality backlinks to my site.

    Thanks for the info


  36. Anonymous

    New site already ranked in Yahoo and Google. I’ve validated in webmaster tools…. nothing indexed yet!

    Hopefully another inbound link here will help :)

  37. Anonymous

    Be patient also, websites don’t get traffic overnight.  The first site I ran took me about two years of solid work just to start getting decent traffic, after that it snowballed.  

    Keep building your site and don’t give up and have patience.

  38. Anonymous

    Great tip to look around the office for content.  We found three published print articles that we authored. They are now posted on our site (http://www.browningrg.com). Thanks!

  39. Anonymous

    I just found the webmaster tools and downloaded a verification xml file to my site. I then downloaded a list of 1000 backlinks to my site.

  40. Anonymous

    Good to know all the tips. Thanks.

  41. Anonymous

    Hi all, I am unable to submit my site to live.com. The site url is http://interactive.finelight.com. The site url is considered invalid.

    Thank you for your help.

  42. Anonymous

    I have quality and unique content and I rank well in Yahoo and Google, but not in Live Search. I’ve been searching for information on how to get my site to rank well in Live Search for my chosen keywords. I’m aware that your search engine uses a different algorithm from others, and getting it to rank my site is a mission I’ve set out to achieve.

    One of the things you said that tickled my fancy is to make sure "important keywords show up in title tags, header tags and anchor text". I will go back to re-evaluate my site and make some changes and see if the site will do well on Live Search. If it doesn’t, I will keep working until it does.

  43. Quality Directory

    A lot of webmasters have done the right things and rank well in Google and Yahoo. It's time for Bing to live up to expectation and use a superior ranking algorithm.

  44. shoesgucci

    does any website master do zencart economics want to together grow with me?

    contact me at shoesgucci at hotmail.com

  45. Anonymous

    I used a flash website builder for this website http://www.homeinspectionservices.org it is ranking well in Google but not in Bing. Also in Bing to the right of the results is a information window that pops up when you click on it. From what I can see it takes information off the top page of the website and displays it. Like a page preview. This does not work properly for my page any ideas?

  46. aius24

    hi, i got a few sites with everything, back links, original content, text links, no bad neighbour linking, they r showing great on all the other search engines, but still no luck in getting to bing index. I tried everything.

  47. chazfll

    I have inbound like from places like the chamber of commerce in my town. This chamber is huge. I am also linked by to other big companies. Yet when checking with Bing Webmaster none of these important links show up. I am still not being indexed and my site has been up since April. My site is http://www.smartstartaccounting.com . I am not found when searching on BING with any of my keywords. I have also tried looking for Smart Start Accounting and I don't come up on if you look for Smart Start Accounting Fort Lauderdale. Can someone please tell me what is going on. My site was built with Website TOnight and I am a novice. I am not getting any exposure on the web because I can't be found unless you type my full sites name in your browser.

  48. Anonymous

    to get 10 quality linkings is not that easy.

  49. Afghan-Culture


    I have submitted my sitemap and URL http://www.afghanistan-culture.com four months ago but I haven't ranked at all. My pages indexed even by Ask search engine but not in MSN ping. Does any one know what to do? I guess every one has the same ranking problem. Thanks

  50. Shekhar Sahuc

    Hey webmaster is not showing the current snippet of my blog when it is indexed.


    It shows that my blog was crawled one month ago, Why doesn't it crawl it now?

  51. jf12

    My site used to show up when it was the live search engine, and then disappeared when it became Bing. We are top ranked in google for certain terms. We are 1st page on yahoo and ask for those same terms, and yet we arent even indexed on Bing! http://www.boresha-bskinny-coffee.com

  52. Anonymous



    I am constantly working to fix my websites to get them ranked higher in all of the major search engines.

    I am ranking pretty good for my keywords "website design" and "ebay store design" in BING. I will continue

    to work hard on writing more content. =)

    Thank you BING,



  53. Anonymous

    This article about ranking is very useful and practical.

    I recently reviewed and used the mentioned items and got my new blog swotanalysistemplate.com and it ranking has improved  

    Thanks for sharing


    Dr. L M Foong

  54. jingo1388

    There is no substitute for hard work, and bing is finally saying that. Though to tell all the webmasters to basically work on promoting their business "in the real world" (business cards, industry associations, etc.) may be a bit far, bing is at least trying to encourage white hat behavior. No more free lunch for the black hatters!

  55. shris7

    hello sir how my this site http://bingopage.org rank in bing?

    please give me a tips?

    thank you

  56. wsceric

    Thank you for a great article.  I agree wholeheartedly about all of your suggestions you provided and have in fact done all of them.  We practice what you preach at http://www.websitecenter.com.  We do the same SEO process for every client.  Their site gets ranked but not ours.  We've been doing web site design and search engine optimization for many years.  We rank high on google.  We used to rank high in Yahoo and Bing too but we dissapeared all together.  The only way to find us is if you type in our domain name – which helps but not much at all.

    Did I mention that we are Microsoft Approved Partner and Business Solutions Provider?  With Bing and Yahoo Alliance coming into the picture, makes it even more important that we need to learn how we can work with Bing's algorithm.  I've received other suggestions from other Bing experts that I need to look into.

  57. wrightya

    I just submitted my sitemap, hope it  helps get my humors site indexed

  58. Marina Wand

    I don't know what's going on with my site it doesn't perform as it should I should get higher rankings in search results.  

    I have submitted a sitemap to Google and Bing indexes and the website is built on wordpress so it should be seo friendly but somehow I can't seem to get higher in search result.

    Any ideas why?

Comments are closed.