Are Bingbots crawling AdWords?

Bingbots could be creating chaos on the Web.

Are search engine spiders from Microsoft crawling Google AdWords for their indexing and page rankings?

That’s the accusation being leveled by the developers at allmagazineprices.com and, if it’s true, the implications could be very significant for anyone paying for PPC campaigns from Google AdWords.

What They Found

While getting their site ready for a hard launch later this year, staffers at allmagazineprices.com ran a few small PPC campaigns on Google AdWords and Bing’s AdCenter. They were hoping that the ads would encourage search bots to index their site.

To help keep track of where their traffic was coming from, they tagged various URLs with specific IDs based on whether they were on a Google or Bing ad. But when their pages started showing up in Bing results, developers noticed something unusual. The links on the Bing results came from the AdWords ads.

Are Bingbots really crawling AdWords to find new sites?

What it Means

If Bingbots are really crawling AdWords, businesses could be paying for a lot of clickthroughs that aren’t actually being generated by humans. Not only that, but their site metrics are being thrown into disarray as well.

Allmagazineprices.com staffers contacted Google reagarding the issue and were told that, “Invalid clicks can be generated either by humans or technological means…including bots.” But they didn’t explicitly say that the Bingbots were, or were not, generating paid click throughs.

It should be noted that Bingbots also crawl ads on their own networks but, according to the blog posting, the allmagazineprices crew determined that those efforts were not generating click throughs.

Going Forward

This story could have major significance for anyone utilizing PPC campaigns on a regular basis. There’s also the possibility that it means absolutely nothing. Whatever the case, Google hasn’t really provided a clear answer and, until they do, webmasters should keep a close eye on this story.

We’ll provide continuing coverage on CAP as events unfold.


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