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July 1 2011

Bing Webmaster Tools Overview

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In a previous post, Google versus Bing: Webmaster Tools, I discussed the virtues of both Google and Bing’s webmaster tools websites. Today, I will give an overview of Bing’s main categories and how they can be used to improve the functionality, both for SEO and for the user, of your website:

Dashboard
Overview page, much like the Dashboard in Google Webmaster Tools, that gives you a “snapshot” of the most pertinent data for your site, such as recent trends pertaining to crawling, indexing and traffic. Newly added sites begin showing data within 3 days of gaining access.

Crawl
With this section, you can view six months of crawl data like the amount of pages crawled and crawl errors. This is a really useful place to identify any potential problems with the Bingbot accessing pages on your site to include in its index.

Index
See which of your site’s pages are in the Bing index. You can also view your inbound link data here, too.

Traffic
What kind of traffic is being driven to your site? This section provides six months of traffic data and analyzes search query performance over time.

New Features:
Index Explorer (Index Tracker)

One really helpful new addition is the ability to locate any “broken” pages on the site; 404 (removed), 500’s (server errors):

New Index Explorer Function in Bing Webmaster Tools

What makes this new tool even more useful is the ability to “filter” your results and actually display the errors on your site manually, page by page. You are even able to locate directories on your site that have been infected with Malware.

Crawl Delay Function
There is also a new crawl delay function which allows you to ask Bing to crawl slower during peak business hours and crawl faster during off-peak hours, allowing for better load times on pages from your site.

Crawl Parameters for AJAX
Lastly, you can even set crawl parameters for AJAX websites (sites that use Asynchronous JavaScript and XML for dynamic data). Search engines have always found most kinds of JavaScript problematic, but with this new function, you can be certain Bing can crawl, index and rank AJAX pages on your site.
 

March 23 2009

What Are Some Good Methods For Keyword Research?

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Keyword research can be quite a laborious task. Keyword research allows those attempting to optimize their site for search engines to increase their reach for multiple search terms. It may, at first, seem like a reasonably simple task to match a two to four word phrase to each of the most important pages on the website. That is not the case, however. The keywords you pick are extremely crucial as the query a searcher enters weighs very heavily. Here are some tried and true methods for making keyword research for your website a little easier:

– Brainstorm a number of keywords you would like to target for all of your most important pages on the site.
– Once you have compiled that list, research them to see which ones are the most searched and the least competitive.
– Utilize tools such as Wordtracker, Trellian and the free Google Adwords Keyword Tool to discover a keyword’s popularity and add to your list by seeing possible alternatives to your keywords.

Of course, once you have compiled the list of the most valuable keywords with the free tools, it is not the end of the process. There is no “magic bullet” that will pick the most appropriate keywords for your site. Picking the right word for a page also takes a fair amount of knowledge about the product or service your website is providing and sometimes just good common sense and experience with your field can make all of the difference.

On a final note, it is very important to not just choose words that are really popular. The higher searched a term, the more likely it is to be very competitive. This can be tricky, because if a keyword is not popular enough, what are the chances that you will be able to get that precious organic traffic to your site? Always keep the searcher in mind when researching and find the closest match. Once those keywords are selected and you are ready to make the changes to your pages, add them to all the pertinent places on the page for the most optimal results. The key areas to add your targeted primary keyphrases are in the meta data (titles, descriptions and keywords) and in the content of the page. Try to get the primary keyphrase to a keyword density (what is the total occurrence of the keyword in relation to the content) of 3-4%. Of course, the longer the keyphrase is, the harder it will be to utilize in the content and still have it make sense. For “longer-tail” keyphrases, a keyword density of around 1-3% would suffice.

May 14 2008

How SEO Can Influence Last Minute Shoppers

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While thinking about what to write, I realized that I had an experience this weekend that is a perfect testimony of why having a presence within the major search engines is so important.

I was racking my brain trying to figure out what I was going to get my mom for Mother’s Day (yes, a little last minute) and the first thing that I did was hop onto Google and search for “Mothers Day Gifts, Raleigh, NC”. Within about 5 minutes I had purchased a gift card from a spa just down the road from my mom’s house and ordered a bouquet of flowers to be delivered to her the very next day. After my sigh of relief that it was taken care of and I could go about enjoying the rest of my weekend, I sat back and realized just how important Search Engine Optimization (SEO) really is. If it wasn’t for that particular spa and florist taking the time to effectively optimize their sites using the keywords that I had searched for (including local keywords), I wouldn’t have stumbled across their site and would have been forced to find another gift. But because both of these links appeared within Google’s organic search results, I found them easily. In addition, my entire shopping experience (a total of about 5 minutes) was quite painless. The ease of making purchases through these websites was almost effortless and very user-friendly.

Having just moved to Florida, I truly appreciated the ability to find something so easily near my hometown. So keep in mind when optimizing your site that you can take advantage of last minute shoppers. I also highly recommend including local keywords as these can help searchers from out of state, like myself, find your products or services.

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