Sorry, what? Bing Webmaster Tools? … Bing? Really?
Yes. That’s what we said.
Now, Bing gets a lot of bad press: Google is, of course, the daddy of search engines. But take a look in your Google Analytics. We had a glance at TheMoveChannel.com recently and 5.22 per cent of our traffic comes from Bing. That’s not a lot – but it’s still thousands of visitors each month. So it’s worth paying attention to Bing too. Even if it does have a silly name.
How do you do that? Bing Webmaster Tools. Any SEO expert worth their link juice will recall that Bing recently introduced a whole host of new updates to their free service. And to demonstrate just how useful it can be, here are five cool things we like in Bing Webmaster Tools:
1. SEO Reports
SEO Reports scans your site once a fortnight and gives it an SEO health-check using 15 different best practice techniques. A tool that lists (some, not all of) your webpages and tells you how to make them rank better? That’s a useful thing to have.
Does your image tag have ALT text defined? Are you missing an <h1> tag? Do you have too many? Those last two are what Bing ranks as “High” severity. How well do you know the code on your site? It never hurts to double-check.
2. Link Explorer
Head to “Diagnostics” and “Tools” and you’ll find the equally handy Link Explorer. It does exactly what it says: explores links to help you find where backlinks are coming from. And not just for your site: for your rivals too. Planning to sell property in Spain? Look at the big Spanish real estate portals and see who likes to link to them: learn what link building techniques have worked. Then beat them.
3. Disavow Links
Of course, if you’ve been a naughty SEO boy (or you’ve been a victim of a negative SEO attack), there’s always a chance of some bad backlinks coming to your site. Now this is where Bing Webmaster tools has beaten Google to it: head to “Configure My Site” and you can disavow inbound links that you don’t want, a vital way to cancel out shady associations.
4. Submit URLs
There’s nothing quite as annoying as waiting for a search engine to re-crawl your site and update its index. Luckily, Bing feels your pain: you can now submit URLs of new content to get it crawled as soon as possible. You can submit up to 10 pages each day – or 50 per month.
5. Schedule Crawling
No one likes it when a website stops working – especially a property website. One bad image or delayed loading time is enough to stop a lead going through. And leads cost money.
At the same time, you want search engines to crawl your site as regularly as possible. How can you limit the impact the crawling traffic has upon your non-robotic users? Bing lets you name the time of day when you have the least visitors – and then its robots won’t stop those leads coming through. After all, every little helps.
Have you used Bing Webmaster Tools? What’s your favourite thing you can you do with it?