Google Search Console is reporting that pages from Microsoft’s Bing search engine are links back to websites. Today, in my regular review of the links to my website in Google Search Console, I found several suspicious links. I found about 10 Bit.ly links listed. This is normal, as others will use URL shorteners in social media to link to a website. However, investigating these links, I found that several of these are actually just the Bing.com search results pages.
Let’s look at an example.
Here’s one particular Bit.ly link that Google’s Search Console is linking to my website, BillHartzer.com:
If you’ll notice, the screen capture above is the stats for this particular bit.ly link. If you put a Plus sign + at the end of any bit.ly URL, you can see the stats for that bit.ly link.
If you look at this link, it’s actually the Bing search results for “microsoft bing” search query, their news results. Apparently at one time (or maybe even fairly recently) I ranked in the news results for that keyword search query, “microsoft bing”.
I took a look in Google Search Console (see above screen capture). Google Search Console reports this as a link to one of my posts back in 2009, about Bing now renewing their domain name, which did get a lot of traffic at the time. The bit.ly URL, though, does show that it’s a search results page from Bing.
I know that Google has come out publicly several times and said that they don’t like to index search results. Well, I have called them out on that before.
But, in this case, this is pretty bizarre, if you ask me. I guess that Google thinks that Microsoft’s Bing.com pages are a good place to have a link from (which they are), since it’s an authoritative result. But this is rather odd to me, as Google is, for the first time years, is showing these Bit.ly links in Google Search Console’s links to your site. This particular link, the one example I show above (there are more), has been around since 2009. Why is Google Search Console just showing this now?
The Bit.ly links are 301 redirects, so I assume that Google would, in fact, count this as a link since it’s a 301 redirect. Obviously this link to my site isn’t showing up right now in Bing’s search results, so the link isn’t there. But nonetheless, Google probably shouldn’t be reporting Bing search results pages as links back to your website. It could be that because there is a redirect involved, Google is showing this as a link and doesn’t recognize the Bing search results pages.
In this case, though, this is a 2009 bit.ly URL. The fact that it’s just showing up right now is curious to me–why now?
By the way, it’s not just this particular bit.ly URL. Here’s another one: https://bitly.com/cJdQ74+