I have some bad habits I need to get rid of. I bite my nails, forget to turn off the TV when I leave a room, and pay way too much attention to Google. Google is the largest search engine, but with Bing Powered search engines accounting for 30.8% of the market share, it can’t be ignored anymore.
This post will provide a walk-through of Bing Webmaster’s features to help you better understand and take advantage of these tools to enhance SEO. (If you haven’t already, you need to set up a Bing Webmaster account for your website.)
When you log into Bing Webmaster center you will land on the Home page. Here you can see a list of messages about any issues affecting your site. Below the messages box is a list of all the sites in your account and general performance statistics. To view more details on a site, simply click the URL. (Click on an image to enlarge)
The dashboard tab provides you with an overview of your site’s performance. It shows both statistical data as well as chart data to help analyze performance trends.
Bing bases the statistical data on the last crawl data and compares it to the previous month. Below are the definitions of these metrics:
- Clicks (%) – number of users who clicked on your website’s link displayed on the Bing SERPs (search engine result pages)
- Impressions (%) – site link impressions displayed on Bing’s SERPs
- Pages Indexed (%) – pages on your site that were crawled and indexed
- Pages Crawled (%) – pages of your site that were crawled, regardless of if they were indexed
The example above is comparing the metric values on March 25th to the metric values on February 25th. The arrow indicates the trend in the data over the past month. A green arrow means performance on that metric has improved while a red arrow means it has decreased. You can get more data on any of these statistics by mousing over them.
The charts at the bottom of the page show last 6 months’ data for the crawling, indexing, and traffic of your site. Pause your mouse over a point on the chart to see values for that specific day. You can click on any of these charts to take you to the corresponding page or click on the tabs along the top.
Crawl Summary: When you click on the crawl tab you will be taken to the Crawl Summary page. Here you can find the pages crawled chart and pages with crawl errors charts from the Dashboard. Hopefully, your crawl errors chart looks like the one below, with no errors reported.
Crawl Settings: On this page, you can add or remove the query string parameters you want the crawler to ignore. This is important if you use dynamic parameters for tracking as it can create multiple URL variations that all point to the same content. Adding these parameters helps to prevent duplicate content, avoid splitting index value, and reduce unnecessary site bandwidth usage when crawling your site.
Crawl Details: The Crawl Details tab shows you information about errors, redirects, malware, and exclusions detected by Bing during the last crawl of your site. You can also see when your site was last crawled.
To view more information on any of these details, just click on the type and a new box will open at the bottom of the page with the specific URL information.
Sitemaps: This page is pretty self-explanatory. Here you can see when your sitemap was last uploaded, if it was successful, and upload new sitemaps.
Index Summary: The index summary page shows your sites directory and all the pages in the Bing index. Mousing over the chart shows how many pages were indexed each day.
Index Explorer: This page provides a list of all the URLs of the indexed pages. You can filter the indexed pages by HTTP Code, crawl date range, discovery range, and pages with malware infections or excluded by robots.txt.
Submit URLs: You can submit URLs that are currently not in the Bing index or that have been recently updated and need to be re-indexed. Pages submitted through this feature will be crawled more quickly than if you wait for Bing to discover the update on its own. We had a client who recently moved its products into different categories, so we submitted URLs for those pages to be re-indexed. You can submit up to 50 URLs a month and 10 URLs a day.
Block URLs: From here you can block or unblock indexed URLs from appearing in Bing search results. If you need to remove content from your site quickly the search engine’s cached version of the page will still contain the old content. Entering in the blocked cached version here will expedite the update.
Links: Here you can view the number of inbound links to your site. Below the chart you will see a list of target pages and the total count of links pointing to that page. Click on a URL to view link details and anchor text. Link details window will open showing the source URL and anchor text of the link. You can export the links to a .csv file.
Traffic Summary: This page allows you to review traffic data and analyze search query performance for the last 6 months. The chart at the top of the page shows the number of impressions and clicks for your site on the SERPs. Below the chart, is a table showing the search queries, number of impressions, clicks, Click-Through Rate, Avg. Impression Position and Avg. Click Position for each search query. If you click on a query, it will display each page of your site that showed for that query.
Page Traffic: This page provides detailed information on your top performing pages in Bing. You can view the same metrics for each indexed page that you can for the search queries. Click on any page to view its performance by each query is appeared for. Looking at the performance trends by page can help you determine which pages you need to optimize.
This post should provide you with enough information to feel comfortable getting started in Bing Webmaster Tools. Now go, set up your account, and explore all Bing has to offer. If you have any questions or comments along the way, please post below!
Bethany is an Account Executive at Hanapin Marketing, a search engine marketing firm focused on generating results through PPC and SEO.