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How to Set Up and Use MSN’s Live Search: Webmaster Central

January 5th, 2009 | | Crawlability

Like that of Google Webmaster tools and Yahoo! site explorer, MSN also has a tool that can help people find and enhance their site to increase their SEO performance.  As I have in my Google Webmaster Tools post and my Yahoo! Site Explorer post, today I’ll go into detail on how to set up and use the MSN live search webmaster central (MSN WMT) tool.

The set up is identical to that of GWMT and YSE.  You must first create an account in order to access MSN WMT.

Once you create an account, you will be asked to add your site and your sitemap, which should typically be labeled as www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml.

Once you have added your site and sitemap, you can click the submit button. You are then brought to the verification page.  You have two choices, either add the meta description provided to you to your homepage, or add the xml verification file to your root directory in order for MSN to validate you are the true owner of the site.

Once this is complete and MSN has validated you are the true owner, click on your site name so you can begin learning valuable information about your site and make changes that will improve your SEO performance.

Summary:  There are a few main categories that are listed in the top navigation that I’ll go over. The first is the summary page.  This page tells you information like when the last time your site was crawled, how many pages are indexed, your domain score and if any pages are blocked.

This page will also tell you the top 5 pages as far as crawl date.  It can tell you which page was crawled and when, and also the score of that individual page. I think this is a really cool tool because if you have one or two pages that have a much lower page score, you know to work on those pages to improve their performance over any other page.

Profile:  Your profile page just tells you the name of the site your using, which verification method you chose and who is the main contact of the account.

Crawl Issues:  This page is pretty useful as it will help you find which pages of your site are having crawl issues whether due to 404 errors, blocked pages from your robots.txt file, long url’s, malware or unsupported content. In the tool you can select which type of error data you want to see and MSN will give you a list of url’s that pertain to the error you have selected.  At this point, you can locate that page and make necessary changes in order for MSN to crawl that page successfully.

Backlinks: Use this tool to find out which web sites (even your own site) are linking to your site. This information is great to see who is linking to your site from blogs to paid or non paid directories. It also gives you the page score for each of these websites/pages.  This kind of information can also help you gather more information about your target audience.

Outbound Links: Outbound links are just the opposite of backlinks. Outbound links will show you which pages your site is linking to.  This will help you see where users are going once they leave your site.

Keywords:  This is probably the most useful tool. With the keywords tool you can enter certain keywords you are trying to target and MSN will list which pages are ranking for that particular keyword. Again, it will show you the score of that page, the date it was last crawled and if it’s a blocked page or not.  Again, I find it useful because if there is a page that has a lower page score, you can begin optimizing that page for your particular keyword in order to improve your seo performance.

Sitemap: the sitemap page simply allows you to submit your xml sitemap.

MSN WMT also has some additional tools via the left hand navigation.  One of them is a robots.txt validator, which allows you to enter contents of your robots.txt file in order for MSN to check for incompatibilities. If you have incompatibilities via your robots.txt file this may affect how your site is indexed on Live Search.

The HTTP verifier tool allows you to enter a URL and test to see if it supports HTTP compression and conditional get.

Well there you have it.  I think adding your site to the MSN live webmaster tools is another essential part of managing your SEO accounts.  It does give you valuable information pertaining to your site and will allow you to prioritize which pages of your site you need to optimize first.

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