In the world of online search, we all know that Google is the top dog. According to True List, the search engine racks up a whopping 3.5 billion searches every single day, giving it about 96% of the total market share.
That’s impressive, to say the least. Additionally, it underscores just how important it is for businesses today to take full advantage of the management, marketing, and optimization tools that Google provides.
That said, there are millions upon millions of potential customers who don’t use Google. If Google is the world’s number one search engine, who is the number two? The answer to that question is Bing.
Although Bing has only about 3% of the total market share, that still makes it the second most dominant search engine after Google. No other competitors even come close. And while Bing’s average of 900 million daily searches isn’t enough to challenge Google (yet), it’s certainly nothing to sneeze at.
Simply put, ignoring Bing means potentially ignoring a huge segment of your target audience. What’s more, that segment is underserved by businesses too busy single-mindedly focusing on their Google ranking.
This not only makes Google a much more saturated and competitive market, it also makes Bing a massive reservoir of untapped potential. So, then, how do you actually tap into the power of Bing to reach a whole new audience of online searchers?
The first step is to start a Bing Webmaster Tools account. This will enable you to make use of the platform’s full arsenal of optimization systems, performance analytics, configuration settings, and digital marketing options.
How to Set Up Bing Webmaster Tools
First, create your Bing Webmaster Tools account by going here, then clicking on the “Sign In” button in the upper right-hand corner.
This will cause a pop-up window to appear giving you the option to create a Bing Webmaster Tools account and connect it to a preexisting Microsoft, Google, or Facebook account. If you don’t already have one of these accounts (and you really should), start one.
Next, you’ll be brought to an empty dashboard. Here, you can begin adding websites to your account by clicking on the dropdown menu located beneath the “Microsoft Bing | Webmaster Tools” banner in the upper lefthand corner. Later, if you have multiple websites on the same account, this dropdown menu will list them all and allow you to manage each site individually.
For now, though, we’re going to click on the “Add a site” option at the very bottom of the menu.
Alternatively, you may be prompted to add a site before being taken to your dashboard. This can be done in one of two ways: by importing a site from your Google Search Console account or by entering your site data manually.
Adding a site manually requires entering the URL, then verifying it by doing any one of the following:
- Download a custom XML file from Bing Webmaster Tools and upload it to your website’s root directory.
- Generate a custom line of code from Bing Webmaster Tools and insert it into your website’s meta tags.
- Generate a custom line of code from Bing Webmaster Tools and insert it into your website’s CNAME record.
Upon verifying your website, it may take around 1-2 days before all of the site’s data is displayed in your Bing Webmaster Tools account dashboard. Once you’ve done this, though, you will be able to easily monitor your site’s performance on Bing.
Two of the most prominent and useful tools for doing this are clearly displayed on the main dashboard for every one of your websites. The first is the Search Performance Report. This presents you with a graph showing measuring a number of metrics over the course of several months.
In the screenshot below, the Clicks and Impressions metrics have been selected. If you hover your cursor over any point on the graph, a small window will appear showing you precise numbers for that specific date.
For a more detailed report, including what keywords you’re ranking for, your average position, and the performance of specific pages, click on the “View complete report” link in the upper right-hand corner.
The second major tool available on your site’s home dashboard is the SEO Report. This helps you identify technical issues with your website’s SEO. It shows you exactly how many issues Bing’s crawlers have found, as well as the severity of those issues.
Again, for more information, click on “View complete report.” This will bring you to a new page listing all of the different kinds of SEO errors on your website, from missing H1s and meta descriptions to images that need alt attributes and uncached HTML.
Mind you, these are just two of the many, many functions that Bing Webmaster Tools puts at your fingertips. In the section below, we’ll take a look at six of the most useful and important ones.
6 Essential Tips for Using Bing Webmaster Tools
Like Google Search Console, even a cursory glance at your Bing Webmaster Tools account will reveal a whole universe of possibilities. The amount of data, management, and configuration options available to you is staggering, so much so that we can’t delve into every feature here.
We can, however, provide a helpful overview of six Bing Webmaster Tools features that we think are utterly essential. If you get nothing else out of your time using Bing Webmaster Tools, you should at least take advantage of the following tips.
1. Use URL Inspection to Search For Errors
Earlier, we saw how helpful the SEO Report feature can be in providing a broad overview of the health of your site. But when you want to get really granular and proactively fix issues with your site, the best way to do that is with the URL Inspection tool.
The URL Inspection tool can be found in the main sidebar on the left side of the page.
Like the SEO Report, URL Inspection will show you if there are any SEO problems on the page you’re inspecting. However, it will also identify any problems with crawling, indexing, or markup the page may have. What’s more, it can make recommendations for how to fix those problems, making it easier than ever to take care of small issues before they become big ones.
Best of all, URL Inspection can provide this information to you without actually indexing the page. Instead, it will crawl the URL in a staging environment, allowing you to submit it for testing, with the final version only being indexed once you have made the necessary corrections.
2. Prevent Data Theft with ‘Verify Bingbot’
Not all bots are created equal. Bingbot is the standard crawler used by Bing, performing much the same function as Google’s Googlebot. It’s a “good” bot. By contrast, the cybersecurity specialists at Imperva estimate that around one-fifth of all web traffic comes from “bad” bots.
Bad bots are designed to look like good bots at a glance, only to steal valuable data and web credentials. That makes verifying the legitimacy of bots crawling your site a critical aspect of site security and maintenance.
You can find the Verify Bingbot feature in the “Tools & Enhancements” sections of the Bing Webmaster Tools sidebar.
Doing this with Google typically means performing a complex and time-consuming manual DNS lookup. Using Verify Binbot is much easier. Simply enter any IP address you might feel suspicious of into the text bar, then click “Verify.”
The tool will then automatically compare the IP address you entered with a complete list of all authentic IP addresses utilized by Bingbot. If the address you entered doesn’t match, you’ll know right away that the traffic your website is receiving is trying to conceal its origins by imitating Bingbot.
3. Disavow Backlinks From Shady Websites
One of the best ways of increasing your site’s authority and search ranking is through SEO link building. When a page receives a lot of backlinks from trustworthy, high-quality sources, that tells Bingbot that your page is also trustworthy and high-quality.
That said, when those backlinks come from spammy, low-quality sources, that tells Bingbot that your page is also spammy and low-quality. This can result in penalties that negatively affect your search engine ranking, making it harder for users to find your content. Fortunately, you can disavow backlinks from shady websites via your Google Webmaster Tools account.
To do this, click the Backlinks option in the “SEO” section of the sidebar.
This will take you to a page where you can monitor all of your website’s backlinks. More importantly, you can disavow bad backlinks. Do this by clicking on the “Disavow links” option at the top of the page, then submitting the links you want to disavow in the text box that appears.
Disavowing backlinks communicates to Bing that your page should not be associated with a shady website linking to it. This ensures that the link won’t be counted against you when Bing calculates your search ranking.
4. Jumpstart Indexing with URL Submissions
Time is of the essence when it comes to online searches. Whenever you add or update pages on your site, it behooves you to see that those pages are indexed as soon as possible so that users can start finding and engaging with your content.
With Bing Webmaster Tools, you don’t have to wait for Bing to find, crawl, and index new pages whenever it gets around to it. Instead, you can fast-track the indexing process using the URL Submission feature, found in the left-hand sidebar of your home dashboard.
On the URL Submission page, you can enter the web addresses of one or more new (or newly updated) pages. This will tell Bingbot to crawl and index these pages right then and there, which means that they will start appearing in user searchers immediately.
When using the URL Submission tools, it’s important to note that you can submit as many as 10,000 URLs in a day. To submit more than that, you’ll have to wait for the URL quota to reset. Aside from that quota, there is otherwise no limit to the number of URLs you can submit in toto.
5. Assert Crawl Control to De-Stress Servers
Here’s one feature that your Bing Webmaster Tools account has that your Google Search Console doesn’t. Crawl Control lets you control when and how Bingbot makes requests for pages and resources on your website.
The Crawl Control tool can be found in the “Configuration” section of the Bing Webmaster Tools sidebar.
Using the Crawl Control tool, you can easily select what times of day you want Bingbot to crawl your site. You can also control how quickly or how slowly it crawls, which in turn enables you to make the most of the bandwidth you have. Last but not least, Crawl Control allows you to use preset or custom crawl patterns, giving you significant power and decision-making in the day-to-day functionality of your website.
Crawl Control is especially helpful for websites that experience high traffic volumes during specific windows of time, such as ecommerce sites that run “flash sale” promotions or blogs that post updates using predetermined intervals.
Telling Bingbot to avoid crawling your site during specific times of day can help reduce stress on your servers. Too much server stress can result in slowed page speeds, which results in frustrated users and higher bounce rates.
6. Get Into the Nitty-Gritty Using Site Explorer
Like Crawl Control, Site Explorer is a feature exclusive to Bing Webmaster Tools. It’s an extremely versatile tool with many options that Google Search Console doesn’t have. Notably, its flexibility enables you to hyperfocus on the moving parts of your site at a granular level, or you can step back and look at the big picture from a broader perspective.
To start using this tool, select Site Explorer from the sidebar on the left of the Bing Webmaster Tools home page.
This will take you to a page that breaks your website down into a trees of interconnected folders and subfolders. This is essentially the same way Bingbot “sees” your website when it crawls and indexes it, thus making it a very valuable perspective to have access to.
Using the Site Explorer filter options, you can quickly and easily navigate your entire site, no matter how big it is or how many subdomains and URLs it comprises. As you highlight specific parts of your site, a window nearby will display a wide range of data, including clicks, inbound links, how many times that page has appeared in searches, how many folders/URLs are within it, when it was last crawled, and more.
You can also inspect URLs, find and fix errors, and request indexing from inside Site Explorer, making it a convenient “one-stop shop” for website SEO monitoring and management.
Additionally, your website files can easily be filtered in Site Explorer, so you only see the specific information you need at any given time. This is especially helpful for large websites with millions of subdomains and URLs to sift through.
Get More Out of Your Bing Webmaster Tools Account! Call LSEO
In today’s competitive business environment, even well-established enterprise-level businesses need to use every weapon in their arsenal to increase traffic and sales. If this post hasn’t made it abundantly clear already, your Bing Webmaster Tools account is a lot more than just “the Microsoft version of Google Search Console.” It’s a powerful weapon all on its own.
Bing Webmaster Tools offers a variety of features and functions that help set it apart from Google Search Console, much in the same way that Bing offers businesses a chance to connect with a whole new segment of their target audience. Now that you know how to set up Bing Webmaster Tools and are armed with our 6 Essential Tips for Using Bing Webmaster Tools, it’s time to take things to the next level.
Whether it’s for Bing or Google or Yahoo or DuckDuckGo, no one understands the importance of search engine optimization better than the experienced digital marketing professionals at LSEO. Our mission is to help enterprise businesses of all kinds harness the power of online search to achieve bigger and better things.
Here at LSEO, we have the expertise and resources necessary to help you grow your brand. Let us put our skills to work for you. Contact us today to get started!