How to Setup & Use Bing Webmaster Tools
Even though Google is the leader in the search engine space, Bing is a viable alternative that has the potential to drive serious traffic to your website.
With approximately eight percent of search engine market share with 6 billion monthly desktop searches, trailing only Google and Baidu, webmasters should focus some attention on obtaining traffic from Bing.
Additionally since 2011, Bing Webmaster Tools has been showing integrated data from Yahoo within certain areas and reports. Given the combined effort their search alliance, it’s an extra benefit to see relevant data from both engines within one webmaster account.
Getting Started with Bing Webmaster Tools
The first step in winning big with Bing is to understand the finer details of Bing Webmaster Tools. Much the same as Google Search console, it provides a variety of information pertaining to your website.
Here is some advice to follow if you’re just getting started with Bing Webmaster Tools:
1. Verify Your Website
It’s simple to add your website to Bing Webmaster Tools. After creating an account and logging in, enter the URL for your website and click “add.” From there, you’re asked to provide some basic details and a sitemap URL.
Before you can view any data and take steps to maintain your website, you first need to verify it. There are three ways to do so:
- XML file verification by placing the BingSiteAuth.xml file in the root directory
- Meta tag verification by adding a line of code to the homepage of your website
- DNS verification, conducted by editing the CNAME record through your hosting account (this is the most difficult method)
After successful verification, it takes approximately 24 to 48 hours for Bing to collect data and display it on your dashboard.
2. Review Your Dashboard
Once your site is verified and Bing indexes your web pages, you can review the dashboard for an overview of site activity, including but not limited to:
- Clicks from search
- Appeared in search
- Pages crawled
- Crawl errors
- Pages indexed
- Inbound links
- Organic search keywords
While the dashboard provides a high level overview, you can click through on each piece of data for more detailed data.
3. Submit URLs
It’s your hope that Bing crawls your website and indexes every page on its own. However, since this may not happen – especially if you have a large website – you can request the search engine to re-crawl a specific URL.
This tool is designed to share URLs that are not currently indexed or require reindexing as the result of a recent change. You can add up to 50 URLs at once, thus cutting down on the time it takes to notify the search engine.
4. Crawl Control Settings
Bing is designed to pull a variety of information from your website, all without your intervention. However, there are times when you may want to adjust your crawl control settings.
To start, Bing chooses a crawl rate that’s best for your site. If you’re concerned about making a mistake, you can leave this setting as is for the meantime.
Conversely, you have the power to create a customized crawling pattern, such as asking Bingbot to visit your website during the evening hours, as to not take up too much bandwidth during your busy time.
5. Reports and Data
You could spend hours on end inside Bing Webmaster Tools without ever touching on everything that’s available to you.
One of the most powerful features of Bing Webmaster Tools is the ability to generate reports and analyze data, all with the idea of understanding how your site is performing and the changes you can make to boost your rankings.
Through the reports and data tab, you can access:
- Website activity
- Page traffic
- Search keywords
- SEO reports
- Crawl data
With the ability to combine this data in one report, you can obtain a high level overview of your website’s health and performance. You then have the opportunity to pull data for each section, such as highest ranking keywords, click through rate, and crawl errors.
Note: you can export reports into an Excel file, as to share them with coworkers, review with your marketing agency, or to compare current data to past performance.
6. Inbound Links
Just the same as Google, inbound links are a top ranking factor in Bing. For this reason, you should closely monitor your links, both for quality and quantity.
This section provides an overview of the number of external links pointing to your site, as well as where they come from. Furthermore, you can use the chart to determine if you’re gaining or losing links.
For more detailed findings, such as the anchor text for a link, click on any URL on the list.
Although Bing Webmaster Tools can do more than what we discussed above, this is a great place to start.
Once you understand the basics and have everything setup the way you want, you can rely on Bing Webmaster Tools to keep you current on your progress.