I recently received an email from a client regarding their organic search results in Bing. They had discovered that a few links below their company listing were old and outdated. Within Bing, these sitelinks or “deep links” (as they are referred to by Bing) can be very helpful. As seen in the example below, the search result with deep links allows your listing to take up more “real estate” on the search engine results page, which helps present your business as more of an authority and visually pushes your competition lower on the page.
In 2010, Yahoo announced that its organic search results would be powered by Bing which led to many Yahoo properties being discontinued. So, as expected, on November 21st, Yahoo officially took down its free, search analysis tool, “Site Explorer”. What does this mean for Webmasters? Even though the data has been integrated into Bing Webmaster Tools, it seems evident that any type of robust (and free) online tool for checking things like backlinks is gone forever. There are, of course, a plethora of third party tools, but those tools are compiling an aggregate of a multitude of different platforms, and are not a true reflection of the “true” backlink data that a specific search engine has.
Bing Webmaster Tools has made some effective improvements over the last several months and the verified webmaster for a website will now be able to get even more comprehensive data. Bing Webmaster Tools will likely show an increased number of backlinks being reported for a website, as well as provide a central location for both Yahoo and Bing data.
However, many SEO’ers, including myself, will miss the practicality of the old Site Explorer. Site Explorer was the only free, public database from a major search engine that gave you an easy way to look at the amounts of backlinks to a specific page. While privacy was a concern, making certain information public inspired other webmasters to improve their own inbound link building techniques as well as making it easy for the more novice webmaster to take a quick glance at a competitor’s website for inbound link ideas, thus inspiring innovation in the world of SEO.
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:
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.
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.
See which of your site’s pages are in the Bing index. You can also view your inbound link data here, too.
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.
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):
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