Here at Codeium, we have built a highly used, free alternative to Github Copilot, and it has reached the point where we can make a legitimate claim that Codeium is better. Given the relatively uncommon name, it seems pretty reasonable that directly searching "codeium" should bring up the website homepage as the top, if not one of the top, results. But Github is owned by Microsoft. Bing is owned by Microsoft. We compete with Github. So Bing returns... plants?
Ok, yes our VSCode extension (Microsoft), some list that we're in, and company LinkedIn page (Microsoft) show up, but somehow not codeium.com itself. Instead, Codium, an algae genus, gets the sidebar slot while Codiaeum Variegatum, an (admittedly pretty) houseplant takes the fourth spot.
For reference, here is Google:
There's the home page, company Twitter, JetBrains marketplace page, open source Vim/Neovim repo, etc. It actually makes sense. We checked on other search engines like Baidu, and we're up there too.
So... what's going on with Bing?
We started with the reasonable. Maybe Bing did not discover us? Nope, it's seen the site for months (and there's been tons of updates since):
So we were discoverable, but not indexable. Maybe our sitemap wasn't picked up by the crawler (kind of silly for such a major search engine given our sitemap.xml is literally at /sitemap.xml)? We manually submitted the sitemap.xml on the Bing Webmaster Tools portal just in case and... nothing changed.
We read the Webmaster Guidelines a bit more. One line gave us a chuckle:
Bing does not prioritize Microsoft products or services over third-party products and services in algorithmic search results.
This feels unlikely given the Microsoft services ended up ranking highly on Bing while non-Microsoft services outranked them on all other search engines. But really, beyond that, there were only some fuzzy statements on removing content that is deemed unacceptable.
So until we are proven otherwise, we are going to claim that Microsoft deemed the website unacceptable.
Now, is it really because we compete with Github? Honestly, probably not, but controversy drums up interest and we need interest so that someone out there on the Internet can tell us what we're doing wrong. At the end of the day, search engines popularly used by developers like DuckDuckGo are backed by Bing. And we only care about getting as many software engineers to experience the power of generative AI for software development via our free product.
Or maybe we shouldn't worry if all Bing results are going to become generative anyways 🤷