Boost Your SEO with the New Bing Webmaster Tools

Bing Webmaster Tools - Phoenix UpdateAnyone that cares about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will have used Google Webmaster Tools. Webmaster Tools provides users with detailed reports about their pages’ visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). But what about Bing’s version? Yahoo! and Bing combined may only send you minimal organic traffic, but not checking out Bing Webmaster Tools could be a big mistake—especially with the latest update, dubbed “Phoenix”.

The Phoenix update includes a new user interface, a range of new tools including Link Explorer (the long awaited replacement to Yahoo Site Explorer) and SEO Analyzer/SEO Reports. It also includes updates to current tools such as the Keyword Research Tool, and the URL Removal Tool. Some of these are still in Beta, but look great so far for managing SEO initiatives.

Here are the top 4 new SEO features to check out:

New User Experience
Bing has given its Webmaster Tools a complete revamp which gives it an entirely new look and feel. Silverlight is no longer required as everything is done in HTML5. The navigation is noticeably easier and the layout is intuitive. Overall this is a huge improvement on the old UI. As soon as you log in to your Webmaster Tools account you will immediately see your verified site (or sites). This dashboard now presents all the main features in a nice simple dashboard layout. The green and red arrows look like they might have been borrowed from Google’s version, but are nice none-the-less.

Bing Webmaster Tools new SEO Dashboard

Link Explorer (beta)
One tool that those of us in the SEO world have been waiting for is the Link Explorer. This tool was promised back when Yahoo!’s Site Explorer tool was discontinued. This tool is great not only for checking links to your own site, but also for checking on what links your competitors have. Just enter a URL and the tool will supply a list of known links pointing it. You can also change the input settings to show links pointed to either a domain, as shown below, or an individual URL. Other refinements can help you search by anchor text and by keywords found on a page pointing to you.

Bing's SEO Link Explorer

SEO Reports (beta)
According to Bing the SEO Reports (beta) will run an SEO report every other week for any domains verified in your account. Each report is compiled using approximately 15 SEO best practices and tells you whether or not your pages comply with the noted best practices. This tool is great for finding even the most minor of errors. For example, we discovered that the homepage was missing alt text in an image. We also found a few old pages that had duplicate title tags.

The report format is excellent. It identifies any errors, lists the number of errors, lists the severity of the error type, explains the errors, and gives recommended solutions.

Bing Webmaster Tools SEO Reports

SEO Analyzer (beta)
The new SEO Analyzer tool is really cool. This will scan any URL you enter from one of your verified domains and build a report to let you know if the page scanned is in or out of compliance with each best practice.

Bing Webmaster Tools SEO Analyzer

The only way to really discover all the features of the new and improved Bing Webmaster Tools is to verify your site and play around with the tools and features. There are too many features to cover in this post, but the full dashboard menu gives an outline of what’s included:

  • Configure My Site
  • Sitemaps
  • Submit URLs
  • Ignore URL Parameters
  • Crawl Control
  • Deep Links
  • Block URLs
  • Verify Ownership
  • Users
  • Reports & Data
  • Page Traffic
  • Index Explorer
  • Search Keywords
  • SEO Reports
  • Inbound Links
  • Crawl Information
  • Diagnostics & Tools
  • Keyword Research
  • Link Explorer
  • Fetch as Bingbot
  • Markup Validator
  • SEO Analyzer

Overall, some features are similar to Google Webmaster Tools and that is good for users in general—it gives a little consistency to the world of SEO. This makes everyone’s job (and life) a little easier when it comes to optimizing a website for search. Even if you’re not worried about the 8% or so of organic traffic that Bing and Yahoo! provides you, you should still make the most of Bing Webmaster Tools. It’s just another weapon in the SEO arsenal. With the Phoenix update, Bing have shown that they are serious about search engine optimization. Hopefully their search engine will be next to get an upgrade, followed by their paid search platform.

What would you like Bing to upgrade next? And how? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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