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7 June 2012

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Five Changes to Bing Webmaster Tools You Should Know About

On 6th June, Bing released its long-awaited update to its Webmaster Tools with some exciting new features and a significantly improved user interface. Having recently concluded its algorithm mash-up with Yahoo!, attentions are slowly drifting back to the Microsoft search engine as it looks to provide users with a search experience to rival the mammoth Google.

Bing Webmaster Tools

What’s changed?

Improved User Experience: The interface has had a makeover, with the styling being much cleaner and simplistic. What’s more, the “my sites” dashboard allows you to view your sites’ topline data relating to search clicks and indexed pages, which is great if you manage multiple sites, like us.

Link Explorer: Bing Webmaster Tools now allows users to analyse a site’s backlinks thanks to the Link Explorer. The tool shows users how many links are pointing to each of the pages on the site, which can be further drilled down to see the links themselves and their associated anchor text. This is great for users who don’t use enterprise level tools, because you can quite quickly work out what work needs to be done to improve keyword usage in link building. There is also the option to export the data for further analysis.

Fetch as Bingbot: A lot of SEOs spend their time making sure their pages are optimized properly for Google, but by using the new “Fetch as Bingbot” tool in Webmaster Tools, users can now see how their pages look to Bing and identify areas for improvement. This is very important update for SEOs, in particular, as it gives us greater insight into how to optimize for Bing, information about which is not as accessible as it is for Google.

Keyword Research Tool: The Keyword Research Tool has been updated to include multiple lines so that users can research a batch of keywords at a time. Very handy, but not really a major improvement considering this has long been available on Google’s Adwords platform.

SEO Analyzer: Perhaps the biggest and most useful update to Webmaster Tools is the addition of the SEO Analyzer. Based on 15 SEO best practices, SEO Analyzer allows users to scan a page on a verified domain and establish whether it complies with Bing SEO guidelines. Using the automated SEO reports provided by Bing, which are populated every two weeks, users can log in and see which areas of their site need to be optimized; and the handy explanations (similar to the recommendations on SEOMoz’s On-page Optimiser) make it even clearer about what needs to be done and why.

Bing SEO Analyzer

(Looks like we need to do a bit of work... :P)

How do I use Bing Webmaster Tools to manage my site?

Using Bing Webmaster Tools is straightforward. Simply visit the Webmaster Tools site and register your details. Once you’re signed up, add your site by filling in your domain name and providing some details about you as the user. You’ll then be asked to upload a verification file onto your server (ask your administrator/development team to do this). Once that’s been done and you’ve verified your domain, you’ll need to indicate that an XML sitemap exists as this will make crawling and indexation much easier. After that, you can start using the tools and finding out what’s happening on your site!

Google is the King of Search, that's certain. But that doesn't mean Bing can't still pack a punch. I'm quite impressed with the updated Webmaster Tools, as you might tell, and I'm looking forward to learning more and more about the SEO Analyzer in particular over the next couple of days.

I'd be really interested to hear how you're finding BWT. Drop me a comment or let us know on Facebook and Google+.

By Adam Cowlishaw

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