We are almost all guilty of doing it, interchanging “Google with “search engines.” We use Google Webmaster Tools, we love Google Analytics. We have a love hate relationship with Google. But then there is Bing. They had a few large advertising campaigns to get more users on their search engine but they aren’t making head way there. Yet. I believe that the more competition there is, the better for us all. Remember back in the day we had Yahoo, Google, Bing (Live), Ask and so many more search engines? Hell it was Ask that came out with some of the innovations that Google and Bing take credit for today. Integrated search and the three column layout. Ask totally did it first. So I am rooting for Bing. I am also rooting for a third player at some point. There will be plenty of comments with ideas as to who the third one is, but there isn’t anyone making a true dent yet. I am waiting for that. Until then, I root for Bing … and use Google. (Sorry Bing, I was 5/5 for Google in #BingItOn) Since I am rooting for Bing, I want to point out some of the things I think that they are doing fantastically. One is Webmaster Tools. Have you been in there lately? I mean holy data, batman. It’s cleaner, easier to access data, and there is more specific data there than over at Google Webmaster Tools. I’m Serious. Apparently I missed all the updates around June of 2012, here are my favorites.
This is my favorite find in Bing Webmaster Tools (BWMT). This report lists out all of your pages with known links. Clicking on a page then takes you to a list of pages (pages, not domains) linking to the site and what the anchor text is. Do that with Google. You can’t. Click the “Export All” and it gives you all the links from that report in a time frame up to 6 months previous. I got over 62,000 links for a client. Now, these aren’t all the links you have, but it’s a better list than we get from Google.
There is a section under Reports and Data that gives you the onpage SEO suggestions for your site. This is somewhat like the HTML Improvements section of GWMT, but this has more detail. I see suggestions of missing meta descriptions, alt tags and missing h1 tags for my site. While I am less worried about those things for my personal site, the detail is so much better over at Google. There is another area called the SEO Analyzer that is under Diagnostics & Tools, but I am a bigger fan of big picture stuff when it comes to my clients. But if you are looking for a template quick check, it might come in handy. The Analyzer can only be used for sites that are verified in your account.
This is a tool that will remind you of AHREFs, OpenSiteExplorer and MajesticSEO. It’s not nearly as powerful, but still good information from the search engine itself. Given any URL, it’ll return internal or external links (or all) to the URL in question. You can’t sort by strength of the page or see strength, but again, it’s information from the source. Something we have been missing for so long. (Who else remembers the day when the link: command worked?)
Bing + Google Tools
There are a number of tools that I am so happy Bing has, but alas, I think Google might have the same but better. That’s beside the point. I want to bring these to your attention because I think all webmasters should be checking this data on both SEs.
This was a major shake up in the industry. It happened around October 2012 right? Wrong. Google officially released their disavow tool in October, but Bing released theirs in June 2012. That’s right, Bing was first. I am not going to dig into it too much, the releases tell you exactly why and how you would disavow links, but let’s just say that the painful days of link clean up are now over. Kind of. I mean at least now you can do something about the link from that the Emu Farming Directory (h/t Keri Morgret of Strike Models).
Markup Validator Tool
First off, thank you to Keith Fraley for suggesting this on Twitter. He was the only one to reply to me about favorite BWMT tools. This is a fantastic tool that takes any page (ANY PAGE, not just your own) and validates the rich snippet markup on it. They scan for HTML Microdata, Microformats, RDFa, Schema.org, and Open Graph. You can use this to test your own pages and that of your competitors. Release and more information from Bing here. Related Google Product: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets
I think I’m just old, but this feature makes me happy regardless. I jumped for joy the day Google gave us the ability to add people, rather than verify everyone with a new upload. Bing followed up a year later. I was so pleased to see this last year so I thought I’d add it to my list. It’s so important to every website with multiple users.
It’s there. I am not as impressed because you can’t get to it out of BWMT itself. If you want some more information, check out this write up from Daniel Butler over on SEOmoz. It’s important for people who do in depth keyword research though. This is data from Bing. Data from Bing + Data from Google = Pretty Complete Picture. Bing too uses this to push their paid platform. Just warning you now.
Challenge: Check BWMT Out
I went through one of my client’s sites and found a few things I hadn’t been seeing in Google. That meant a quick email to the client and a small win for the site in question. So I challenge you to verify, add the necessary users, and start using Bing Webmaster Tools like you use Google. What did I miss? Anything else you love or would like to see? I am sure Duane would love to hear suggestions.