Years ago Bingbot managed to register a bunch or URLs from some bad bot trap technology that used random query parameters for honey pots e.g.

  • /?c39cfn3
  • /?d37hvn3
  • /?28ce031

For years now we have had a regex rule returning HTTP 301 Moved Permanently for these requests redirecting to /. But Bingbot is still today requesting thousands of them every day and it seems it has no plan of stopping anytime soon. This is like 95% of all the redirect activity.

How do we once and for all stop Bingbot from continuously requesting these URLs that are permanently moved? (Without disallowing it completely or remove the root / resource from index.)

A request:

GET /?orneyt= HTTP/1.1
Host: ...
Cache-Control: no-cache
Pragma: no-cache
Accept: */*
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
from: bingbot(at)microsoft.com
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko; compatible; bingbot/2.0; +http://www.bing.com/bingbot.htm) Chrome/103.0.5060.134 Safari/537.36

And the response:

HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently
Location: /

2 Answers 2


Redirects are being checked regularly, so it's not a good option. In any case, I would start with the fundamentals, which is to check that there are no links in the content pointing out to those resources.

If those resources exist, then I would recommend using a 403 (Forbidden) response code which declares that access is limited to them and they shouldn't do so.

If those resources don't exist, I would recommend using a 410 (Gone) response code which declares that those resources are no longer available and that this condition is likely to be permanent.

  • 1
    Agreed, or even 404. Feb 10 at 11:23
  • This would suggest that Bing treats a HTTP 301 as a temporary redirect (HTTP 302). I can try HTTP 410 and see if there is any reduction by time. What I am afraid of is that it's gonna affect the indexing of the root / itself.
    – tim
    Feb 11 at 21:05
  • @RohitGupta Won't a 404 encourage Bingbot to revisit the URL again?
    – tim
    Feb 11 at 21:10
  • @tim, you are correct, 410 may be the best. Feb 12 at 11:16
  • I wonder if the problem is more to do with the "?" in the URL, signifying its a parameter. What impact would a 404 or 410 have on the homepage associated with the URL. I posit a 400 (malformed request syntax/deciptive request routing) may be more appropriate. A 403 might also work but implies a refusal to show the content rather that this request is a client error or deceptive request routing.
    – davidgo
    Feb 13 at 0:36

I have recceived a reply from the Microsoft engineering team:

We use 410 and 404 as a content signal to avoid selecting such content in the future. It may take more than one crawls as many 404 and 410 comes back alive.

With that said I can only say 404 and 410 seems to be the right approach. I can confirm that after switching from 301 to 410 I have a month later started to see a reduction in the number of crawled pages.

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