When Google announced in 2014 that it would give ranking priority to sites offering HTTPS, more website owners started installing SSL certificates. In some instances, however, this was accomplished by using an extension called server name indication, or SNI. If you’ve lost all of your rankings on Bing and Yahoo because none of your website pages are being indexed, SNI is probably the culprit.
Read on for a primer on SNI, its role in Bing and Yahoo indexing issues, and what you can do to solve the problem.
What SNI does (and doesn’t) do.
SNI allows hosting companies to save money by having multiple SSL certificates share the same IP address. That seems like a good idea on its surface, but there are a few problems with this. The first is that most of your site visitors need to be using browsers that play well with SNI, and not all of them do. (Check Wikipedia for info on which browsers are currently supported.) Users whose browsers don’t recognize SNI as valid security are likely to see a certificate warning, and that’s never good.
The second problem is that Bing and Yahoo have issues with crawling sites that use SNI, resulting in precipitous drops in visits and rankings from those search engines. Even 301 redirects can’t get around this issue.
What you can do.
The good news is that there are ways to solve the Bing indexing issues.
- Verify that your certificate is an SNI SSL by contacting your hosting company and asking if they are using SNI for your SSL certificate.
- Ask your hosting company to provide a unique IP address for your domain. Make sure you let the company know that Bing has issues indexing web pages that are being served over an SNI connection. You may have to pay a nominal fee, but it’s absolutely worth it.
- Contact webmaster support at Bing, let them know about your indexing problems, and ask them to whitelist your domain. It may take some time to go back and forth with their support tech, but you should ultimately be able to have this done.
Your Bing/Yahoo issues won’t be resolved instantly because it will take some days for your site to be crawled and reindexed, but the steps above should set things right.
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