Bing Webmaster Tools: Diagnostics & Tools
Bing Webmaster Tools provides a number of tools to analyze your website. Somehow, they managed to squeeze these into one page in Bing Webmaster Tools as the dashboard page for the section Diagnostics & Tools. Fortunately, all tools also have a separate page…
In this post, we will go over all tools and tell you how to use these to your advantage.
This is already our third article on Bing Webmaster Tools. In case you have missed the first two, go read these here:
Keyword Research beta
Out of the five tools described in this article, Bing classifies most as ‘beta’. With all these tools, we also have to keep in mind that we are dealing with data from organic search at Bing. Let’s start with the Keyword Research tool:
I have tested this tool using a number of WordPress SEO related keywords for our website. As you can see, you can set a country and language, as well as a time frame from your research. I chose the US, US English and changed the default last 30 days to January 2015. Note that, as with Google Webmaster Tools, there is a gap between today and the end of your data; Bing Webmaster Tools goes up to 3 days ago.
The tiny ‘Strict’ option in there is to determine whether you want the research to be done for exact phrases or phrases containing the keyword. As I’d like to investigate general keywords (WordPress, plugin, seo), I have left this option unchecked:
All results can be sorted, by the way. Just click the (blue) title of a column. First thing that comes to mind is that the Google Keyword Planner shows 550K searches for WordPress in January 2015. Bing Webmaster Tools shows 60K. We’ve already mentioned that the search volume in Google’s keyword planner isn’t always useful, and the same must apply to these Bing numbers.
The $-icon behind the keyword is a hint. You can actually buy the keyword here directly. That’s pretty straightforward :)
I still feel that if you properly optimize your website, you can get more clicks as well from organic results. Not trying to ruin your revenue model here, Bing. Paid results seem to work fine if you have narrowed down your niche and target these specific visitors. If the ad / paid result tells me what I need (to know), I’ll click it without a doubt.
In the first table, you see search volume and trends. These are not just going up, by the way :) If you choose a longer period of time, it also won’t be just a straight line :) It will tell you what the rise or drop in search volume is as well.
You can click all the results, but doing so will just filter the results, it won’t give you more details. By the way, just to be complete, you must have seen the Suggestions as well in the screenshots above. These keywords are additional keywords, related to your original keyword by relevancy.
It’s a nice tool, but being used to the keyword tools we normally use, this isn’t one I’ll use very often. Perhaps the release version will have some features that will make it more attractive?
- Filter by site: only pages on your website linking to that URL.
- Anchor text: only links that use this anchor text.
- Additional query: only pages that link and that rank for the search keyword as well.
- Scope: links to the URL entered only or all pages from that domain.
- Source: only links from the site at hand (internal) or all links to that URL (external).
For that last one, you probably want to use the inbound link tool at Reports & Data instead. It’s more comprehensive and for instance provides you with the exact anchor text for each link.
The result of the Link Explorer tool is something like this:
Clicking the Source URL will perform a link analysis in Bing Webmaster Tools for that domain, clicking the title will get you to the website itself.
What I am missing here is total search volumes, and some more details on the domain. MajesticSEO adds Trust and Citation flow, Moz’ OpenSiteExplorer adds both page and domain authority. Right now, the filters are what making this section on Bing Webmaster Tools interesting, not per se the (outcome of the) general exploration. if I wanted to check all the pages that link to our domain using “WordPress plugins”, this tool works fine.
Fetch as Bingbot beta
Like Fetch as Google, this will tell you how the search engine bot sees your website. Simply enter your URL and click Fetch:
After the fetch is done, status will change from Pending to Completed. Now you can click the Status and see how Bing sees your website (clicking the URL will simply get you to the page itself). Where Google Webmaster Tools (now known as Google Search Console) actually renders your website as well, Bing displays the server response and your source code, as seen by Bingbot, of course. It will tell you if a page is redirected, or blocked by your robots.txt, for example.
Markup Validator beta
I really like this one, to be honest. As it is totally unrelated to search traffic in terms of volume, this tools is a nice substitute for Google’s Rich Snippet Test tool. I don’t know if it is just getting used to something new, but I liked the clean setup of that Google tool like it was a few weeks ago. Bing tells me just what I need to know; is schema.org implemented correctly?
And yes, I understand the new Google test tool explains what is wrong (according to Google, that is*), but if you just want to see what schema.org / RDFa / OpenGraph is on a page, this tool actually works just fine!
* The Rich Snippet Test tool keeps on telling me to link the last element in my breadcrumbs, but why should I link to the page the visitor is already on? From a UX stand, that seems odd…
SEO Analyzer beta
There we go: Bing Webmaster Tools gives you a free SEO analyzer to cover all the basics (for more in depth analysis, check our site reviews).
You can simply insert a URL and see what basics can be improved. This is very much like the HTML Improvements in Google Webmaster Tools. There is also some overlap with the SEO Reports in Bing Webmaster Tools, but the SEO analyzer is a single page analyzing tool.
It will tell you if H1’s are missing, which images lack ALT tags and for instance if a page is missing language information. I especially like the way it is displayed, with a direct reference to the ‘error’ on the Analyzed tab on the right:
Two things to keep in mind when using the SEO Analyzer:
- SEO Analyzer, unlike Bingbot, will ignore robots.txt directives, so you can basically check any page on your site.
- SEO Analyzer follows any redirect and analyzes the page it end up on. It will tell you that a redirect is detected and followed (right below the SEO Suggestions).
Verify Bingbot Tool
So why would you want to know what IP address the Bingbot is? Well, the Bingbot might be ‘overcrawling’ your website, unintendedly sending more than the usual server load your way. With this tool, you can verify if the IP address that is causing this load, is indeed Bingbot, which is needed for your support request. By the way, Bing does respect that crawl-delay line in your robots.txt. That might already help.
It seems to me that this tools should be incorporated in a workload. The fact that it is displayed here as a separate section, seems a bit too much honor for that tool.
If you are moving your site to a new domain, be sure to let Bing Webmaster Tools know. It’s pretty easy:
Just make sure both sites are verified. This can be done for entire domains, subdomains and directories. If you are moving a larger part of your website, like yoast.com/plugins to yoast.com/wp-plugins, this is also the section where you can see if all went well. Note that this is just a notification, it has nothing to do with actually moving a site or directory.
That’s section three of Bing Webmaster Tools
When comparing Bing Webmaster Tools to Google Webmaster Tools (and of course we do), this section holds some nice surprises. As mentioned, I like the simplicity of the Rich Snippet test, and the way the SEO Analyzer highlights the improvements on your page.
As mentioned in our earlier posts, I’d never replace Google Webmaster Tools entirely by Bing Webmaster Tools, but a combination of might have its benefits. In the next post in this series, we will cover the remaining three sections of Bing Webmaster Tools we’d like to discuss: Security, Widgets and Messages.