Why Bing is Useless in South Africa?

I continue to see disappointment with the Microsoft search engine “Bing“. I’m not sure who is running the show over there but I can see exactly why they have lost so much market share in South Africa. Everyone in the world has caught on the fact that South Africa has what it takes to be a top country in the world when it comes to some technological advances…. everyone except Microsoft that is.

Microsoft started out great in South Africa when they used to have the “pages from South Africa” option on their page when you visited bing.co.za , they have since removed this option (bing.co.za now redirects to bing.com) and now longer even supports South Africa in their International search option.

Why is this so bad?

Go ahead and try to find any local page in South Africa. Bing results are full of international pages with almost no local pages from South Africa indexed. A South African page will be lucky to show up under its own name.  So tell me… what is the point of anyone in South Africa using Bing at all if they cannot find local information?

So where are the South African Results in Bing?

Well if you are good at doing puzzles then you will eventually find it. To find local SA pages in Bing you will need to do the following:

Step 1: Search from Something and then be forced to see international results first.
Step 2: Find the “Advanced” button above the search results to the right
Step 3: Locate the country/region link under search terms.
Step 4: Find South Africa
Step 5: Add to search

Bing then adds an ugly “loc:ZA” to the end of its search query which I guess they want you to remember for next time.

How does Google do it?
Step 1: Search from Something and then be forced to see international results first.
Step 2: Locate the pages for “Pages from South Africa” and click it.

Why has Bing not thought about this yet?

Truth is they were once doing it right and then someone got bad advice and was told to hide the pages from South Africa option. Maybe they are trying to save costs by not using the bing.co.za domain (not sure why Microsoft would need to save money) of maybe they are trying to strengthen the bing.com domain. Either way I believe it is a huge mistake on their part. Bing.co.za should simply go directly to Step 5 in the Bing puzzle.

Secondly, from a search engine optimisation  point of view getting a site listed in Bing for the first time takes weeks (sometimes months), something Google does in seconds. Come on Microsoft, speed up those crawlers, the demand is for real time search not news that is weeks old. Microsoft could even beta test a better search engine using Bing.co.za if they afraid it will effect their so called search quality on Bing.com which at the moment does not exist here.


Microsoft need to wake up and support the South African market. South Africa has proven that they can put on world class events like the World Cup, South Africa has proven that they have technology superior to most countries and quality websites are no exception there. If Bing cannot show the love for South Africa then how can South Africa show the love for Bing?


  1. Robert Bravery July 14, 2010 Reply

    Yeah, just tried this. Searched for “Website Design and development” Got a whole bunch of non related international sites.

    Did what you suggested, then only did I get SA site. My site listed on the second page.

    Tried the same thing on Google.co.za and viola, many more SA sites listed. Mine at no 3. I did not even need to select pages from South Africa.

    When I did select pages from South Africa, I did not see much difference in the SERP's, except that my site jumped to no 2 and that there were less pages in the results, 165 000 as opposed to 71 500 000.

    Typing in Google.com directly always re-routes me to Google.co.za

    I think Google is far far superior.

  2. Galen Schultz July 14, 2010 Reply

    Forget Bing – Google all the way. And Google.co.za ftw! It's now ranked as more popular than Google.com on Alexa! No.1

  3. Bryan Casson July 14, 2010 Reply

    You are #2 Internationally when I looked and #1 locally…maybe you just jumped one space over night 🙂

  4. Bryan Casson July 14, 2010 Reply

    Very interesting

  5. Nick Duncan July 14, 2010 Reply

    I really struggle to understand why Microsoft would remove the option to display South African websites. There is absolutely no benefit in removing it..!

    Maybe we should give them the benefit of the doubt here… just maybe they are coming up with a better algorithm for displaying other countries ranks.. yeah right.

  6. Bryan Casson July 14, 2010 Reply

    I would not hold your breath. Maybe they will read all these complaints on the various blogs in SA and do something about it… that would be smart

  7. ambience August 28, 2010 Reply

    Bing is useless. Why do they even exist when they can in no way compete with Google. For example, Google will index a new website in about 24 hours when bing takes months

  8. JK September 19, 2010 Reply

    Bing started off great! I liked the new interface and still do. It’s fresh and different from most other search engines… I used to go to Bing SA for searches all the time partly because I’m a MS fanboy, partly because I really like the new interface and partly for being an active user on Bing SA in order for MS to optimize and further build it. It was very sad to see Bing SA being removed… Google FTW!

  9. Christine January 10, 2011 Reply

    I suspect, although I might be wrong, that the whole change to the Bing South Africa thing is related to the Yahoo/Bing merger.

  10. Ramon Thomas February 17, 2013 Reply

    All this means is I can now remove Bing from my focus areas for SEO. CuteRank has been a valuable tool for comparisons between the major search engines. If Yahoo SERP = Bing SERP what’s the point of using both?

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