Concern Over Bing Crawling AdWords Ads

Jan 30, 2013 • 8:57 am | comments (18) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Bing SEO

Bing Crawling AdWordsA WebmasterWorld thread has some Google AdWords advertisers concerned that Microsoft's search engine crawler, BingBot, may be crawling their Google AdWords ads.

One advertiser said he noticed that Bing has indexed his AdWords click through tracking landing page URLs:

Was just checking some ranking in bing and noticed a result listing a url on my site that was set up for an adwords ad, now how in the world did they end up with that in their results?

example url:

Of course, there are several ways Bing could have discovered the URL above.

(1) They actually did crawl and click on the AdWords ad (hope not)

(2) They use Internet Explorer data for finding new URLs

(3) Someone on the web linked to the URL and Bing picked it up.

(4) Server logs could have been open for Bing to crawl.

(5) A bug with the content management system

(6) and on and on... Are you concerned Bing is crawling your Google ads and costing you money?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Adam Buchanan

01/30/2013 03:00 pm

Isn't this really common? I feel like Bing, and Yahoo before, have been doing this for many years.

Mike E. Delta

01/30/2013 03:31 pm

I wish you would explain what this means...what the "costing money" part is?

Jon Hogg

01/30/2013 04:05 pm

If they're crawling your ad links they may be costing you money if Google counts that as a *click*

Phillip Marquez

01/30/2013 04:09 pm

See for an explanation of Pay-Per-Click (PPC)/Cost-Per-Click (CPC).

Barry Schwartz

01/30/2013 04:19 pm

I apologize. Every time you click on an ad, it costs the advertiser money.

Phillip Marquez

01/30/2013 04:29 pm

Search engine bots are not supposed to crawl your ads -- if they are, then it's likely that either something is not setup right on the web admin's side or any number of other scenarios like those listed above. A good admin can mitigate some of these issues (robots.txt, metatags, etc), but in other cases this is completely out of your hands (like item 3 above) and will require some investigative work to track down what's going on and address them with the appropriate parties (e.g. for item 3 above contact the site that is direct linking to your adwords URL).

Adam Buchanan

01/30/2013 04:33 pm

I totally get that it's not supposed to happen. My point is that this has been an ongoing problem for years. I'm willing to be that Google filters out charges from these clicks in click fraud filters.

Chris Link

01/30/2013 05:20 pm

Maybe Bing's bot can't tell the difference between Google's paid ads and organic results anymore, I know I have difficulty telling nowadays. haha


01/30/2013 05:40 pm

The link shown is just a cmapaign link tagged, not a click that would cost the advertiser money


01/30/2013 05:59 pm

OK that one got me laughing have an upvote!

Warren Lee

01/30/2013 06:17 pm

Yes Bingbot probably crawling Google, but ITS HIGHLY doubtful that this is costing you money, Google can and should easily filter out automated clicks on their ads. On a related note, i've seen Bingbot behaving badly while crawling all over internal site search results pages and this actually does cost money for those using a pay to play internal site search model powered by Google when left unchecked and unblocked to Bing.

Jaimie Sirovich

01/30/2013 09:23 pm

I trust they're filtering out the traffic and you're not getting charged, but does anyone really know this for sure? There is no (good) way to trust but verify. Rather, that assertion is entirely based on trust, and from what I see from the relationship between Google and publishers, some of this trust has eroded over the years. I trust Google on this, but they may need to disclose more in the future. My 2c.


01/31/2013 09:53 am

Definitely noway- Not Google nor any search engine will allow any other Bots to get inside view in there ads-server. We all know that Google Ads are comes from dedicated Google ads servers and I am sure none of the Crawler can access that machines.


01/31/2013 12:18 pm

The Bing toolbar if permitted by the user, can record the open websites (not https) to add to their database in order to provide the better search results. It can be of great fear for all those who knows that few URLs are only accessible if the user knows about it and navigates to the URL via the Bing Toolbar installed. If you take an example of YouTube, it has a setting of sharing a video privately with anyone by providing a special URL. Now if that user (having Bing Toolbar installed) shares this URL, Bing can technically detect the URL considering that it is not blocked via the NOINDEX meta tag or any other ways. What advertisers can do is, they can ask crawlers not to crawl their ad URLs with the help of robots.txt disallow rules. Bingbot surely obeys these rules and don't index the URL nor follow the redirection.

Evodio Walle

01/31/2013 05:15 pm

Robots.txt rules fire after the paid click, so I guess in this case you'd WANT Bing to index your destination ad URL if you've already paid for the click. :D Any tricks for preventing the click in the first place? I suppose filtering Bing IP addresses would be the first place I'd start.


01/31/2013 08:06 pm

Is this something new? I recently switched domains so have been monitoring the 404's more closely than normal and it's not just bing. Webmaster Tools is telling me that URLs don't exist which only could have been Adwords ads (they are my Adwords display URLs and that blessed "linked from" info in WMT shows the pages they're on) which has to mean googlebot is also crawling these ads to be able to report it. Now in all the cases I've come across it's Google's large scale partners who have the special ad setup where they get all the info and create the ads themselves, for example a page like this on Tripadvisor: It's bad enough that Google is giving these partners unique content in the form of ad content that actually becomes page content (usually created by their competitors...), but googlebot crawling those urls is REALLY annoying, whether they charge you for it or not.


02/01/2013 04:39 pm

Fairly sure anything following these links that has a Bot user-agent get ignored in the stats. I've seen the bots following some of our ads without us getting charged in the past, but this was a while ago. However I've no reason to suspect that it has changed.


03/05/2013 06:03 am

I have also seen Bing traffic landing on Awords only URLs. I don't think it resulted in increased cost to my Adwords campaign but I'm still scratching my head on how it came to be indexed by Bing.

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