For the sake of conversation, let’s say you are the admin of a Web site. If you are already, that’s even better. You prioritize how your Web site pages are linked to be picked up more easily by search engines. Maybe you’re not getting as much of a return as you would like through Bing searches though. If that’s the case, Microsoft has the cure for your ills.
On the Bing Webmaster blog, David Flink, Lead Program Manager for Bing, took some time out to discuss how Web site admins can better index their content with Bing through paginated and sequenced content. Flink starts out by saying that Bing relies on “a set of heuristics to determine if and how individual pages on a site are related to each other.”
To that end, Flink says you can use the optional rel=”next” and rel=”prev” link elements to give Bing a better indication of “the structure and scope of the sequenced content on your site.” Using these elements gives you full control over the sequencing of your pages.
The first example shows you how to use these link elements to organize your pages in an oldest-to-newest sequence. You should use this order if your viewers prefer to read their pages starting with the old first and moving on with the new. Here’s the line of code you should follow to implement this particular order:
The second and more popular order for blog posts is newest to oldest. This is similar to the first example, but instead of pointing to newer articles, the rel=”next” points to older blog posts. It’s important to remember that with both of these examples that you not have multiple link elements on your pages.
Once you have decided on which sequence you want, you’re going to have to prioritize it for multi-page content. Here’s an example of how to use an oldest-to-newest sequence with multi-page content.
Implementing this won’t change the way your pages are displayed on Bing, it just gives the search engine a better understanding of how to index a Web site’s content. Here’s some more in-depth tips to get the most out of link elements:
Link elements should be added within the section of your pages. Alternative implementations, such as the addition of rel attributes to anchor elements in the body of your pages, are currently not supported.
Using the rel=”next” and rel=”prev” link elements, you establish a relationship between at most 3 pages on your site: the current page, the page immediately preceding the current page (rel=”prev”) and the page immediately following the current page (rel=”next”). Note that the first page in the sequence should just contain the rel=”next” link element, while the last page in the sequence should contain just the rel=”prev” link element.
Avoid adding more than one rel=”next” and more than one rel=”prev” link element to your pages. URL parameters, such as the ones includes in the example above, should be reflected in the HREF attributes of your link elements. URL parameters appended solely for tracking purposes, such as search queries and session identifiers, can also be appended. To avoid having these URL parameter surface in search results for your pages, you can use the rel=”canonical” link element to specify a preferred URL for the content displayed.
You are free to exclude certain pages within the sequence (after applying the rel=”next” and rel=”prev” link elements) from indexing using the following meta element:
These tips should help you better index your content with Bing. Not only does it help Bing better understand your site, but it will help potential hits better find your site as well.