Bing celebrated its first birthday earlier this month.
Since launch, Microsoft has built awareness of its “decision engine” through a massive television and radio advertising campaign, leading to an almost 10 percent “share of search” in the consumer search market. Although it may seem like a small slice of the pie in comparison to Google, Bing’s share represents over 1.5 billion US searches per month, a number that can’t (and shouldn’t) be ignored.
So how can a webmaster leverage this search volume for additional insight and opportunity?
At the recent SMX Advanced Conference in Seattle, Microsoft presented a preview of the next version of Bing Webmaster Tools (BWT) with a feature Microsoft dubs the “Index Explorer” which provides webmasters with a tree-like view of the crawling and index data for their website. Within the tree view, webmasters can access specific data management controls—URL blocking, cache blocking, and recrawl requests—at each level, something Google may want to emulate in their own Google Webmaster Tools interface.
For those less familiar with the Bing webmaster offering, now is a great time to revisit and recommend implementation and verification of sites under their control.
Bing’s current Webmaster Center Tools offers tools sectioned into seven parts:
- Summary tool: webmasters can check the status of their website, see data about the last crawl, check the domain score and page score, and the estimated number of indexed pages.
- Profile tool: webmasters can add information about their site profile and their contact information.
- Crawl Issues tool: provides an overview of issues identified by Bing during the crawling and indexing process.
- Backlinks tool: this tool generates a list of inbound links, which can be downloaded for offline viewing and editing.
- Outbound Links tool: similar to the Backlinks tool, the Outbound Links tool provides a list of URLs leading to other websites.
- Keywords tool: this tool allows webmasters to see how their website will perform against searches for a specific keyword or key phrase in the form of a webpage score.
- Sitemaps tool: enables webmasters to provide Bing with a comprehensive list of content to crawl.
- Robots.txt validation tool: this tool checks your robots.txt file for any incompatibilities with MSNBot that may affect how the site is indexed on Bing.
So why now?
Back in February, Microsoft and Yahoo won approval from U.S. antitrust regulators to embark on their search partnership, where Microsoft will be powering search results and paid search listings on Yahoo pages. Though Google remains the dominate global search with almost 72% percent, this Binghoo partnership will result in a worthy and “not to be ignored” competitor.
Now is the perfect time for webmasters to verify their (and their client’s) websites with Bing Webmaster Tools as well as make certain websites are optimized for Bing’s algorithm.
What are your thoughts on the Bing vs. Google competition?
What has your experience been with Bing Webmaster Tools?
What features of the next version of BWT are you most looking forward to?