When you hear the words “Webmaster Tools” you immediately think Google, yes? Google has THE webmaster toolkit – all the bells and whistles. Others need not apply, right?
Well, up until a few weeks ago, you’d be absolutely correct. Since 2006, Google has had a lock on the available webmaster tools. Advantage, Google. Market cornered. Even those who preferred another search engine over Google had to recognize the importance of leveraging Google’s Webmaster Tools for optimizing various aspects of their site for the fullest recognition from the world’s leading search engine.
But this article isn’t about Google. You see, there’s an up and coming player in town, gaining market share and gaining more friends from the SEO and Webmaster community. It should come as no surprise that it’s Bing. Now, many of you may already be saying “but Bing Webmaster Center/Tools has been around since 2009, so what’s up?”
You’re absolutely right. But for the last three years (almost to the day), Bing’s Webmaster Tools have been – shall we say – less than impressive. The “newly re-launched” version of Webmaster Tools is feature-rich, a genuine player.
Not to be left out of the search marketing game, Bing has staged a huge roll-out for their updated version of Webmaster Tools. A few weeks back, during the Search Marketing Expo 2012 (SMX) in Seattle, Derrick Connell, Corporate Vice President of Bing’s Search Program Management Team led a keynote address and proudly hailed “a new version of our Webmaster Tools,” along with an introduction to Bing Link Explorer and their new SEO analysis tools.
A few days later, Duane Forrester of Bing Webmaster Tools appeared with Rand Fiskin of SEOmoz for a special edition of their never-can-miss Whiteboard Friday video blog – in which they deconstructed Bing’s revamped webmaster toolkit and showed off all the cool inner-workings. There are some features that look remarkably like those at Google, and there are some new developments that have many in the search marketing game particularly excited. Let’s break it down.
Here’s what you might be interested in knowing about Bing Webmaster Tools:
- Page traffic – The overview gives you impressions, clicks, click-through-rate, average position, on a per-page basis. You’re also able to drill down into any page that has appeared in search and view Traffic Details that show you keyword-level data for each of those search results, as well as ranking position for each keyword. It’s the rich data and depth of detail we love.
- Index Explorer – Shows you how Bing has indexed your site and allows you to drill down through many folders in their “filing cabinet” to see the data that Bing has collected on every page, including the number of links pointed at each URL. Very handy for the snooping data nerd in all of us.
- Search Keywords – Shows you all of the organic keywords for your site (pretty standard) but a quick hover over the keyword will show you the cost detail on each at Microsoft adCenter. In an instant, you can decide if this is a high-value word or phrase and something you want to bid on. One click takes you to adCenter. Still waiting on the federated login there, but nice nonetheless.
- SEO Reports/Analyzer – Right up front, this provides a look at a number of SEO suggestions from Bing to improve your pages and rankings: suggested fixes, severity rating, and error counts. One click shows you color-coded errors on your site in real time, along with expanded info about the issue. We’re waiting on filters for different file types (XML, CSVs, PPTX) but still worth its weight in gold.
All in all, Bing has done us a number of favors with their revamped Webmaster Tools. We give Bing mad props for making the interface easy to use and the drill-down aspects highly-intuitive. For those managing big sites, the Index Explorer (and filters) will be a real blessing when it comes to looking at a master list of inbound links to your 404 page and then being able to easily go out and reclaim those links. The SEO Reports and Analyzer is clearly a tool that most of us will be hammering with for days.
Bing Webmaster Tools: It’s pretty freakin’ sweet. Go get some.