Today we are making some changes to the way webmasters can manage deep links in Bing Webmaster Tools. Deep links are additional links in our search results that show up underneath the primary search result URL and that generally link to popular destinations on the website. For example, here are the deep links shown for the MSN site on Bing.com (outlined in orange):
These deep links are generated algorithmically. Generally, the algorithms do a great job at finding useful links that make it easier for our users to navigate to popular pages on your site. However, in some cases, you may want to block a deep link that was selected in this way. Perhaps you feel the text isn’t great. Perhaps you simply don’t want us to highlight the destination page as a deep link. Perhaps we got it all wrong. Whatever the case may be, this is when you use the Deep Links tool to block a deep link from appearing.
So what’s changing?
With the changes we are making today we are doing a couple of things: first of all, we are removing a bunch of stuff. Remove you say? Yep, remove. We are eliminating some of the bells and whistles we had previously in the Deep Links tool. For example, we originally offered webmasters the ability to apply weights to existing deep links and we also showed you all of the deep links we had for your site, along with a little preview of what they looked like in the search results. These features were nice, but they also limited us in our ability to tackle some key scenarios that we wanted to address to make your lives easier. So, although we are not big fans of removing existing functionality, this time we are very happy, since it enables us to give you a lot in return.
From now on you will have:
- The ability to block a deep link URL from showing up anywhere with a single action. You can now block a URL from appearing as a deep link anywhere, that is below any parent URL within your site: say your site has multiple results were we are showing deep links and one of those deep links that is shown on all of these occasions is not optimal. In the past you would have had to block that deep link for every individual URL it was showing under. Not anymore. Although you can still block a deep link from appearing only for a specific URL by supplying the parent URL, this is now optional. Not filling out the parent URL simply blocks a deep link you don’t like from showing up anywhere
- The ability to block a deep link only in a specific country/region: you can now block a URL from appearing as a deep link in a specific Bing market: perhaps a deep link is fine in most countries, but in one or two you don’t want us to show the deep links. In the past you were out of luck and would have to block it everywhere. Now, you can choose to either block a deep link in all Bing markets or just for one or more specific markets
- No more limitations: by no longer offering the preview, we are finally allowing you to tell us about anydeep links, since we no longer need to copy all of the rich information to Webmaster Tools. Doing the latter wasn’t an issue for the longest time, but with both our webmaster community growing and our global footprint expanding, we were starting to have to make tradeoffs and some webmasters were left out in the cold. After the redesign, any webmaster will be able to control their deep links, no matter the site’s popularity or what country the deep link is showing in
- Automatic housekeeping, as blocks expire after 90 days: to keep things tidy, blocks will now expire after 90 days in the same way URL Blocks expire. You can extend a block easily for another 90 days at any time and we will alert you of expiring blocks via alerts in your Message Center well in advance of expiration.
What happens to existing Deep Link blocks?
If you previously blocked a deep link, we have migrated that information to the new version. The deep link will continue to be blocked for the specific URL for which you previously blocked it. The block will apply to all markets, but as with brand new blocks, it will expire after 90 days. Any additional information you may have provided, such as “weight” and “feedback” have really helped us tune our deep links solution in the past, but are now no longer available. Note that same as before a new deep link block will not immediately the link from the search results: it can take a day or two to be reflected in our SERP.
With the new changes to our Deep Links tool announced today, were are removing some redundant features while introducing additional functionality and flexibility. Webmasters and site owners will get more control over the visibility of deep links for pages featured in Bing-powered search — for any URL and in any country or region. More details can be found in the topic How to Manage Deep Links in our Help Center.
So what about your site? Has it garnered any deep links yet? Are you keeping up to date with your performance in Bing and all the other places that Bing powers? Don’t forget: Bing is not just Bing.com: Bing also produces web results for other properties such as Yahoo!, Facebook, Siri, as well as the Search Charm in the brand new Windows 8.1 Preview release.
Senior Program Manager
Bing Webmaster Tools