Bing Webmaster Tools Walk Through

Bing’s Webmaster Tools are completely free and can be very useful in many ways.

Video transcript:

David: So, Bing Webmaster Tools. So, Figure Fine Gardens doesn’t have any data because it’s a test site, and there’s no traffic. I’ve also noticed that If I do put any effort into Figure Fine Gardens, the landscape architects in the area are so terrible, I will outrank them very easily. So, I’m almost a little scared…

Tricia: So, get some clients in there and say, look…

David: Yeah. So actually, let me go to Curious Ants because it actually has data. Alright. Where are you? Okay. Let’s look at Bing Webmaster Tools for Curious Ants. So, advertisements on the top, which are interesting.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: I don’t really know the value of this profile thing. Here is what’s interesting but also my biggest frustration. So, on Search Console, I say to everybody to check the dashboard every week because all the information you need is in the dashboard, and it will tell you whether or not you have to act on something. This dashboard sucks. So, we get clicks and impressions, which are fine. And we can get to the complete report, which is fine. But if I want to look at my crawl requests, that’s interesting to know how many crawl requests Bing has on my website, up to 195 a couple of weeks ago. But there are errors. If there’s an error, I want to fix it.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: Now I have no idea how to fix it. I don’t even know how to find them.

Tricia: Oh, wow.

David: So, thankfully, it’s not a lot of errors. But you’re telling me I have errors, and then you don’t tell me how to find them. So, I was trying to go to pages and stuff like that. Maybe that would list the errors, but no. This is just pages by impression. That’s kind of frustrating. Now here are index pages, which is another interesting graph. It’s just like crawl requests. It’s an interesting graph. It’s not necessarily a helpful piece of data, except that I know we are regularly adding new pages as we add Office Hours to the site. It is nice to see that we’re growing in the index pages as we add Office Hours pages. Right? Crawl requests, that’s interesting to know that Bing finds my website interesting enough to send the crawler to it frequently. If I saw this to be zero, I would suspect that Bing thinks I have a low-quality website. So, these two work as graphs. But this just cheeses me off. Like, okay, you’re telling me that I’ve got problems, but where are they? What do I need to do? This is why Search Console is better for this. Besides, you know, the starting point for BING is at 20% market share. I kind of don’t care about what Bing thinks of my website.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: Right?

Tricia: Yeah. I mean, I guess with the crawl, the main thing is if you are looking at Google Search Console and make sure that Google says you’re good?

David: But the Search Console crawl errors are much better because it’ll tell you these are the crawl errors and gives you example pages that the crawl error’s on, and you can submit it to Google and say I fixed it; hey, will you look at it again. With Bing, it’s warning me there are errors, but I have no idea what they might be or where they might be. Alright. So that’s disappointing. Like Search Console, there’s a URL inspection tool where you can pull in things like…, and you could put in a URL, and it’s going to get the information. Oh, there’s an SEO issue an alt-attribute is missing. It successfully indexed, and it found several types of markup. Okay. That’s interesting. Search Console has something very, very similar to that. So that’s good. And as with Search Console, that’s a really good tool to check like… Why isn’t Google indexing a page? Or things like that. It’s helpful. Yeah. Alright. Cool. Site Explorer, here’s where we get to the point where we’re like, oh, maybe you don’t have to pay for an expensive subscription to Screaming Frog. I mean, I love Screaming Frog.

Tricia: Mhm.

David: But here, it shows me stuff. Because what this does is it shows me different pages of my site organized by the kind. So, here are all the pages under Game Plan, and it’s telling me it found one page is excluded. Here, there are ten pages that are indexed under technical SEO, and what they are. I can request indexing. I can test things. So, you can kind of go through these and see what’s going on. Oh, okay. In the last six months, there have been five URLs under keyword research; they’re listed here. These got so many impressions, clicks, and even backlinks to these pages. I can click on a particular page, and I can view it. So, I was looking at a couple of other clients that I don’t want to share on this screen, but like, I found a link that was going and creating a loop where because the URL is written wrong, it would send it to the wrong page that then created a new page said it’s the wrong page. It’s called a spider trap, and you know, Google or Bing for that matter, when they crawl a website and always crawl the whole site, they crawl part of it and if it gets caught in a loop, where it goes to a page and then it goes to another page then goes to another… And these pages don’t exist because of the content management system or whatever, you waste the search box’s time, and they don’t end up crawling what you wanted to crawl. So, you can catch that stuff. In other words, this is a helpful tool because if you know the site well, you can say wait, where are the other pages? Or wait, this page doesn’t really exist, why is that page created? I can go and look and see where the broken link might be, or the loop might be. So, this is a lot of things that are really helpful. Another thing that is helpful is in all the things it doesn’t say. So, I have a really, really extensive blog, and there are a lot of Office Hour posts, but only three are listed. Oh, sorry, 156 six are indexed. I’m wrong. I bet you I have more than 156. But you know, I can look and see some information about all these. But I guess what I’m saying is the value too is things that aren’t showing up here. Bing, in this case, is not indexing. So that might make me worried that if Bing is not indexing, maybe Google is not indexing them, and there needs to be work put into those pages. I can confirm that in Search Console. So that’s really interesting to me. They found three site maps on my website. One is a site map. This is the Yoast-created site map. You can use RSS feeds as site maps, and WordPress automatically creates RSS feeds. Not ideal. Because I mean, a good RSS feed only shows the most recent post. So, you have ten here. But, this gives you an overview, and then you can view it. I can download the site map. I could delete the site map out. So, for instance, if I wanted to get rid of these RSS feeds as site maps, I could just delete them. Yeah. So okay, Google or Bing discovered 289 URLs thanks to my site map. Okay. Cool. Cool. None of this is very exciting compared to Search Console. Oh, there’s also the submission tool, which we actually did a test with a long time ago, remember?

Tricia: Mhm.

David:  And it basically didn’t do anything. If you recall, from our test.  

Tricia: Yeah.

David: I set the Index Now API for this website. Index Now is a… You all have been on WordPress long enough you know what Pingdom is. Right?

Tricia: Mhm.

David: Well, this is what Pingdom wishes it could be. A way of telling the search engines, hey, there’s a new page on this website. Index Now is used by Bing, Yandex, and a couple of other search engines. Not by Google, but Google says they’re testing whether they want to use it or not. As you can imagine, any ability to send a page directly to Google would be very, very valuable and easy to be spammed. So, I’m sure Google is, trying to decide if people would just spam the crap out of this or not before they integrate it because literally, you can send one page to the search engine several times a day if you really want to. I don’t know how valuable it is, but these are the latest office hours Youssef helped me publish yesterday, and it’s acknowledging that I received them yesterday. That’s cool. Okay. So that’s a little bit different. You can also submit a URL manually or line by line if you really want to probably doesn’t matter all that much, but if you need to. Okay. Here’s where we get cool. SEO. Backlinks. This is not much different from Search Console’s backlink data. Very, very incomplete. Thirty-five pages from this website I’ve never heard of. I probably don’t even care about it… Blogging Fusion is a blog directory I’m in. Dirjournal, or just a couple of things, Word Camp, I guess; I’ve spoken at three Word Camps. Oh, oh, it’s all Birmingham. Right. You got to ask for those links from those speaking engagements. So, some of these matter, iThemes links, great links, some of them don’t matter. Some of them are organic. Okay. That’s the links. Here are the pages on those websites that are sending me links and the anchor text. We talked about anchor text and how important that is. I can also look and see what the status of my anchor text is. So, for instance, if there’s one new thing that you couldn’t do before when you get a new website, you want to check to make sure your anchor links aren’t abusive. Brand name, safe. Brand name with a little bit of a keyword, safe. Domains, always safe. Old brand name, what’s new. Kind of nondescript. Now we’re getting links that are the actual post names. Anyway, we can use this to evaluate whether we have a problem with bad anchor text links in the sense that too many links with keywords in the anchor text that someone has been doing some link-building spam. We could identify our website to see if… Let’s say we get a new client. We can use this to say, have they done SEO before, and are we at risk of being in trouble. Because everything is SEO to the homepage, but the brand name is Curious Ants. That would be a red flag. Alright. That’s cool. And I know you’re underwhelmed with that. So, let’s go to similar sites. Here are 23 referring domains 37 different anchor texts for Curious Ants. Hey, that’s cool. How does this compare to Not that I’m a competitor to Moz. Actually, it should be, because we’re doing… Oh, anyway. The point is you put a competitor in, or you can put several competitors in.

Tricia: Mhm.

David: Right? And now I can see, compare me with referring domains, 23 domains versus 66,000 domains, I’ve got a long way to go. Anchor text match is significantly lower. Here are the websites linking to Moz more often than Curious Ants. Blogspot, WordPress, CloudFront, HubSpot, Toolszap… Now, if this was not such an egregious example, this could be a real treasure trove of websites linking to Moz but not linking to me. Well, the first question is, why would this website, in this case, it’s BlogSpot, link to Moz, and if there’s a legitimate reason, well, then maybe they would link to me too. Right? I could put more competitors here and see how they go. So instantly, I am able to do something with this Bing Webmaster Tools that I have to pay for an expensive link-building tool to do. Right? So, that is helpful. That is pretty big to me. Because, Youssef, how much of your time is spent doing competitive link building?

Youssef: A lot.

David: But this isn’t as expansive and as detailed as Majestic. For instance, we don’t get any metrics to see. Well, is this even a good link? But boy, there’s a lot of opportunities here, and we could look and see. Well, why do they link to these guys but not me? Well, it’s Moz is one of the reasons. But that’s really helpful. That’s something we don’t have to pay for, a very expensive tool; all we have to do is have Bing Webmaster Tools access on our account. And we are seeing Moz’s backlinks. There you go, Moz linking from this site to Moz. Right? There’s an SEO tactic for you. What is SEO? Now we can do stuff like Skyscraper. You know what? What if we take this post, What is SEO? And write a better version of this. I don’t know what a better version might be, and reach out to this website and say, “Hey. You’re linking to some old obsolete article on Moz from two years ago, ancient history in the SEO world. Right? You should link to ours instead.” Right? We’ve gotten Moz’s backlinks without having to pay for it. That’s huge. That’s huge. So, if that’s the only thing Bing Webmaster Tools brought to the party, that would be worthwhile. I’m going to skip keyword research and go to SEO reports. This is like a list of stuff on the website that should be done for SEO best practices. So, what I really like about this is that this is really simple. There are four pages that have a high severity issue that I could fix. These pages do not have a meta description on them. Alright. Right? And I can add a meta description. Right? Now I’d argue that this is not a high issue, like the biggest thing.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: And boy, this is really easy. And frankly, meta description may not be a high issue. That’s kind of an easy thing to do. Right. It’s an easy opportunity. The image alt tag is not defined on nine pages. Okay. There are nine pages that have images with no alt tag. Now literally this morning, I read an article by John Mueller about how an alt tag doesn’t help a page rank. It helps the image rank in image search.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: Right? So, you know, we always hear, “what alt tag should I do?” Well, do you want the image to show up in image search? That might be a strategy. Right? There are all kinds of benefits from that, but still. For some of these, it might be worthwhile. So, that’s the SEO reports. But you also get to scan your website. So, you can tell Bing, hey, I want you to scan my website, you can up– Oh, I have a quota left of a thousand pages because apparently, I must have crawled this recently. You have up to ten thousand pages, I think, a month. And you can say do the website; you can say, okay, just use the site map, or I’m going to give you a list of URLs to crawl. You can get an email when it’s done. And then you go here, and you see what other errors Bing has found… There’s the missing meta description. What is this issue about? Blah, blah, blah. Actually, that blah, blah, blah is pretty nice. It’s pretty good. How to fix blah, blah, blah. Okay. It’s a little more technical because this is platform agnostic. We use WordPress. We typically use Yoast plugin so that it’s really easy to get a meta description. But what I find really hilarious, on Bing’s documentation describing site scanner and the SEO reports, is it says fixing these issues may help you perform better in other search engines too. I don’t know. Do you know any other search engines besides Bing?

Tricia: Yeah.

David: Duck Duck Go.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: Yeah. Obviously like, they don’t want to say Google because they’re too proud. And honestly, I pulled these scans for all my clients, and they’re pretty good advice. Like, I wouldn’t call a missing meta description an error. But blocked by robots dot t x t, you know what? I need to make sure these are the ones I really do want to be blocked. And in this case, yeah. Block these bad boys. I don’t want Google and or Bing indexing them. So that’s correct. Block those. Here’s, here’s an opportunity. The title is too long on these pages. Okay. And maybe I can make it a little more concise. Now it’s a 70; Google seems to suggest 60. So that might be a difference between Bing and Google, but you know, there’s an interesting debate we could have about how long the title tag should be, but to have these kinds of ideas to say, oh, I’m going to go through work through the website on this, could be a really, really big help. You know? And the value is knowing which one of these is really valuable or not. Like, I’d say, hey, you got time to write 74 meta descriptions, you might as well. Is that going to hurt you? No. Not at all. Is it going to transform your life? Probably not. But it could be missed opportunity. I like to say that meta descriptions are really important on landing pages or service pages and not as important on blog posts. All the search engines are going to replace; if you don’t have a meta description, replace it with text from the page. So in a blog post, it’s probably less valuable. But if you’re selling something on the page or you have a service? Even if it’s not a ranking factor, it’s a sales opportunity factor. It’s why you should click on this as opposed to the other nine blue links on the page. So this is the kind of thing that Screaming Frog could tell you. But you don’t have to pay for Screaming Frog.

Tricia: Mhm.

David: So if you just go in once a month and say hey, what don’t you crawl my website? You know? See if there are any issues. You know, I like the robots ones because it kind of says, hey, are you sure you don’t want the refund policy indexed. Right? That’s a good question. Yeah. So it helps with that. So these are really good things that you’d otherwise have to pay for expensive tools to do. But keyword research is great too. I like the keyword research tool. First of all, if you have an established website, you’re going to see some suggested keywords that Bing thinks your website is related to. Can I tell you how excited I am that Bing thinks my website is about DIY SEO?

Tricia: I know. Yeah.

David: Right? Yeah. So I click on that, and unfortunately, this isn’t a great example. But it tells me some impressions over this is three months, I guess. So now, you know, one of the important things with doing keyword research is having a number rather than an intuition to decide which keywords are most important. So I can use this to collect not only numbers… SEO techniques. This is a legal user interface. Okay. It wants you to do that. Alright. SEO techniques, SEO digital marketing, SEO meaning… probably not a great keyword. What is SEO? Search engine optimization. Google. Ironically Bing is suggesting Google SEO. That might tell us a lot about this. Learn SEO, yes, please. SEO optimization – it’s a pet peeve of mine. What do you think the O in SEO means?

Tricia: Yeah.

David: Yoast SEO, SEO tools. Okay. But then I can download these and kind of compare. I can sort these by impressions to see what words are searched for more often. I don’t know what SEO is doing on the great barrier reef.

Tricia: Great barrier reef and Paul Walker and Bermuda Triangle.

David: Right.

Tricia: Black mamba, that’s a snake, isn’t it?

David: It is. But here we go. Search engine optimization. Again, Google SEO. Oh…

Tricia: No, that says Google CEO.

David: Google CEO. Yeah. What is SEO? SEO meaning… anyway, let’s see if this works. No. Alright. This hasn’t worked for me yet. If it was promising, what questions do people ask about this topic? I have yet to see any query generate anything there. I thought that would be really good. Newly discovered isn’t there. But again, that not only helped me think of new keywords that I might have overlooked but gave me numbers to compare to say, okay, is this really a good example. So I did it with Figue Fine Gardens on our test site… I don’t even have to change to that account. I can search any keyword I want from this.

Tricia: Hmm.

David: So landscape architecture, architects near me. Right? So one of the things we know about the near me phrase is that Google and Bing treat that word a little differently. So that tells me they know people want a landscape architect in their town. So then I don’t have to look for a landscape architect in Charlotte as a search volume because I know that near me says there are people who want a landscape architect near me, right? I can limit to the United States if I want to. That changes things a lot. But here’s the other thing that really short circuits the keyword research process. One of the steps is to do some Google searches to see if that keyword is generating potential competitors. Well, we don’t get Google here, but we do get Bing, and it’s still the point. If I’m a landscape architect, how to become a landscape architect is not a competitor to me.

Tricia: Mhm, correct.

David: I don’t teach people. Landscape architect dot com. I don’t know. Let’s take a look at it. Oh, let’s see what it’s doing. Yeah. There we go. So we can actually look at the website. Is this a real competitor of mine? Or is this something very different? Oh, this is a magazine.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: Okay. So that’s not a competitor, but boy, that might be a link-building opportunity. Right?

Tricia: Yeah. But yeah. Definitely.

David: Which is one of the other values of doing the keyword research. What is landscape architecture? So again, not a competitor. So the phrase landscape architect is probably not a great word, but if I narrow that down and say, landscape architect near me. Not only is this where I want to show up, but I’m getting websites. I should be on House. I should be Home Adviser. I should be on I should be on phone tag. I need to be in the BBB. Right? Yelp. God forbid, but still, it’s in there. Right? So I’m getting a ton of information. I also see topics. So this, Bing says, is almost a topical orientation towards what it thinks this website is about. So, you know, remember Google and Bing are not just thinking so literally about the words. They’re thinking topically, right?

Tricia: Mhm.

David: So it’s suggesting that even though this may outrank this, if this is in my space or related to what I do topically, it’s probably a good competitor. So then what I could do is I could pull this website into the competitive backlink tool, and now I’ve got a competitive research campaign going on. And that’s just all from the keyword research tool. So the value we can get out of Bing webmaster, too, it’s huge. And so, I’m going to revamp the processes to include more of these tips because there are so many great things to get out of it.

Youssef: I also found a free Chrome app that can find broken links on pages.

David: Oh, good.

Youssef: It’s called Check My Links.

David: Oh, does it find it on the page or find it in the domain?

Youssef: I think on the page, I’m not sure. I didn’t test it. I just saw it in a video.

David: Hmm.

Tim: Oh, yeah. That’s a Chrome extension. I just installed that like last week because I also heard it on something.

Tricia: What was it?

Tim: I was checking that out. Check My Links. I was going to play around with it but never did.

Youssef: I will just compare it to Majestic to see how accurate it is, and maybe we can add it to the processes too.

David: I would suggest that the plugin probably looks on a page-by-page basis.

Youssef: Yeah. I think that’s what it does.

David: Helps you find where the broken link might be, but not necessarily find a website that has broken links.

Youssef: Mhm.

David: So it could be helpful, especially if you’re troubleshooting things. But yeah, play with it and see what you can find out. Anyways that’s why I’m so excited about Bing webmaster tools. There’s so much in there that kind of fills in gaps.

Tim: Yep. Cool. Thanks for sharing all that.

Tricia: Yeah.

Tim: That’s really interesting.

David: It does take like, 48 hours or so to collect the data once you sign up. So if you do it this week, maybe by Monday, you’ll have some data. That’s what I’ve been learning.

Tim: Yeah. That’s big deep rabbit holes. Right?

Tricia: Yeah.

Tim: Yes. Diving into data.

David: Yeah. Well, I really like that it’s very actionable. I think their SEO reports and sites scan can be a little bit of a misnomer, but if you spent time doing it, it’s not bad advice. It just might not be as impactful as it seems to imply. And so if you just did that, okay, that’s going to help. Is it the earth-shattering most important thing? Maybe not. But there are some things in there, and there are some options, some things it’ll tell you. It’s like, hey, it’s a notice, which is the lowest level of importance, and, I’m like, oh my god. That is huge. Like, Bing warned me that a couple of my client sites have HTML greater than 125K. I’ve never heard of that before. And then you read on, it says you’re less likely to be cached by the search engines because your page is too big.

Tricia: Oh.

David: Oh, I’m very interested in that. I found a client’s homepage that was bigger than 125 k. Which Bing was saying we might not cache that page. It tells you what to do. You might have too much CSS, you might have too much embedded CSS, you might have the code at the top of your page, and it doesn’t get to the bottom. Oh, yeah. I think that’s a high priority. Bing’s downplaying it like it’s a low priority. No, no, no. If I ever see that, I’m going to stop everything to fix that problem. Because especially on a home page, you bet your butt, I want that indexed. I want that cached. Yeah. So, anyway, I was like, oh, stop, full stop. Stop everything. We’re going to fix that problem—so really huge helpful insights.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: They’re just, their priorities are a little out of line.

Tricia: Good input, but not in the right order for you?

David: Right, exactly. You know, missing H1 tag on a page. Okay. Doubled H1 tags. Okay. Missing title tag. Yep. Fix that. So there are about fifteen data points that we’ll share with you. And I was looking, and I’m like, yeah, they’re all worthy of paying attention to. So I’m going to release a kind of a definitive list of all the different things that Bing webmaster tools will show you and my humble opinion on what is the most important what is less. So that’s what I’ve been accumulating today.

Tim: Yeah. Cool.

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