List of things you really ought to know as an SEO today

Things change quickly these days, so let’s take a look at some things, that as an SEO, you should know about today.  It often takes years for new areas of focus to reach many businesses in a meaningful way.  Everyone’s list of things to work on grows, and it’s tough to find space for the newest things to be added and prioritized.  This is true of new ways to do things, new tools and new tactics.

With this in mind, let’s take a run through some recent topics and features you might have missed, or may not have had time to get to yet.

Title Tags

Still important – keep them relevant to the content on the page – don’t skip them or we need to try to fill in the blanks, and what we put in might not be ideal.

Meta Descriptions

Still useful – keep them relevant and think of them as your call to action to the searcher.  What will you say that gets their attention and their click? Again, don’t leave them blank or we’re forced to guess at what should appear there for you, and again, this often fails you.


Inbound: Still the same old news here. Still useful. Still need to be organic. Still worth securing when you can. Still need to be relevant. And we can still spot shortcuts a mile away.
Outbound: You’re still judged by who you link to, so choose who you link to carefully.


Keep them clean, keep them crawlable.  Don’t hide links inside Javascript or Flash.  Still as expected.


If you haven’t encountered Rel=Canonical yet, it’s time to get immersed in this useful way of managing duplicate content issues.  Ideally, you will implement a 301 instead of a rel=canonical, but in some cases the best you can manage is a rel=canonical.  Don’t sweat the value passed through the redirect.


Most programmers implement 302 redirects when you ask them to turn on a redirect.  No fault here, its just easy to code and a default for most. In fact, you want the 301 redirect. But hey, who are we to be choosey?  If Bingbot sees a 302 redirect, say 5 times in a row, we’ll assume you meant 301 and transfer value as if it’s actually a 301 redirect.  No need to go back and clean things up for Bing…

Site Moves

We recently launched a new feature in Bing Webmaster Tools to help you alert us when you’re moving content around.  The Site Move feature makes it easy to tell us what’s moving and where. Combined with the correct header response codes, this is a winning combination and can help ensure a smooth transition of values across new pages and the deprecation of old ones.

Geo Targeting

We might not have been first to this party, but we certainly brought a bigger gift.  Our Geo Targeting Tool lets you target down to the page level, so individual pages can be employed against discrete locations, making managing your content targeting a whole lot easier.

Social Media

Still as important as you’ve heard, and to clarify, that means what happens socially can impact your rankings. Just having more Likes or Retweets won’t boost rankings, but they can help add to the overall picture of value we seek to understand.  And does it ever hurt to engage with your customers?


It’s here, adoption is low, but growing. As more sites adopt HTML5, it’ll become a standard. Currently, HTML5-based sites remain in the minority, but the message of the value this fresh approach offers is spreading. Responsive Design is all the rage in the industry as mobile is this year‘s watchword.


With the rapid, recent growth of sales in tablets and smartphones, it’s no surprise that businesses are starting to pay more attention to their mobile presence. We’ve talked about this recently, and if you’re on the fence about your own mobile presence, now is the time to make a decision. Just make sure your decision is to invest in your mobile presence, because this trend isn’t going away, it’s only going to grow.


Bing follows the robots.txt protocol.  But do you know how to properly implement it?  Did you know that if you stack commands in the wrong order, you can change the outcome of our crawling? When using the robots.txt protocols, it pays to spend some time reviewing what we maintain at to make sure you don’t inadvertently tells us to crawl something you want left alone.  This we see every day.

The list goes on and on, but we see so many people making mistakes in these areas, it’s worth calling them out. We’ve published Webmaster Guidelines to help with some, Help Documentation to help with some, and many are simply the established best practices.

Duane Forrester
Sr. Product Manager
Bing Webmaster Tools