Bing WMT — the underdog in SEO

Do not underestimate their power!

Bing Webmaster Tools are one of the most underrated SEO tools, especially if you work with large enterprise websites. Here are some examples why you would want to add it to your tool set, eg. for monitoring and QA.

1️ Easy notification management

Within just 1–2 clicks from anywhere in their dashboard, you can set which emails you want to receive. Do you want to receive any communication at all? You can even choose which ones, eg. only crawl errors. If you have ever managed a lot of websites and received Google’s monthly “Your month in Search” updates all at once, you know the pain.

There is a menu appearing when you click the settings wheel: API access — Communication preference (all options are activated) — Receive communication, Alert preference: crawl errors, index issues, account related, promotional
Bing Webmaster Tools Communication Settings

2 URL tree view

Neat overview of URL structure and filter options for crawl and indexing issues — reminding you of the tree view of your favourite crawler — enabling you to see crawl and indexing stats at a glance for any filter. Practical!

They also have an API. At the time of writing this, our favourite SEO tool Screaming Frog have not yet enabled to use Bing Webmaster Tools API to add their data to our crawls but there is hope!

Bing’s Site Explorer. On the left is a tree overview of URL patterns they have found, eg. www.deepl.com, support.deepl.com — in the upper corner you see crawl information for this URL type, which is a diagram showing you the number of indexed URLs, errors, waiting to be processed, excluded. On the bottom you can see a list of URLs that follow the selected pattern. On the right you can see additional info for indexed pages in that URL pattern, eg. impressions, clicks, last crawled, discovered.
Bing Webmaster Tools Site Explorer

3 Flexible crawl control

You can choose a time zone and even the times in the day when BingBot should crawl your site more slowly. Might not be necessary for many of you but if it ever was — they make it easy, granular, and visual!

A graph with times when Bingbot crawls more or less often, and the settings to select the time zone, showing what time you’d have according to your selection, and you can make the following choices for the crawl frequency: 
 Default, 4AM-9AM, 9AM-5PM, 5PM-11PM, 11PM-4AM, Custom.
Bing Webmaster Tools Crawl Control

4 Great documentation: crawl error notification

Neat overview of error types and explanations. You can use this to filter notification emails by error code and only pull those most interesting to you into your #monitoring folder or channel for #seo #qa!

Bing’s list of crawl error alerts — a table, showing the type of error and a description, for instance: 
 Issue category: 400–499 — Specific type: 401 (unauthorized) — Alert: We encountered a large number of request that returned the following status: 401 (Unauthorized) — Action message: Your server is refusing access to your pages and requires additional information, such as a login and password. Check if you are unintentionally blocking your pages behind a login and password. …
Bing Webmaster Tools Documentation: Crawl Error Alerts

Last year, I explained to you how you can use free tools to pull & push specific notification emails from Google Search Console into a dedicated notification channel. With the list above, you can apply this to Bing, too!

5 Backlinks report with competitive insights

Bing Webmaster Tools’ backlinks section offers you to add similar sites to compare backlinks and anchor texts. Oh, the things you can do with that! If you click to add a site, Bing makes some suggestions for you. (Yes, it does work for sites you do not own, too!)

Backlinks feature in Bing Webmaster Tools. There are two tabs, Backlinks for your site and Backlinks to any site — the latter is selected and shows: Your site https://www.deepl.com/, https://www.linguee.com/ and it allows a third site to be added to compare. If you click on the plus sign to add a site, Bing will suggest you what they think are similar sites to add.
Bing Webmaster Tools Backlinks Report

6 Keyword research with question filters

Bing WMT’s Keyword Research feature lets you automatically filter by question keywords or newly discovered terms related to your target query, incl. your impressions — and receive an overview of ranking websites (yes, also competitors) and the topic cluster Bing identified! In Google Search Console, you’ll have to learn how to use regular expressions to filter for question queries, and while it is not too hard to learn — this feature makes Bing the more accessible tool, especially for beginners.

Keyword research tool: List by related keywords (the selected tab), question keywords, newly discovered keywords. The table below is showing a list of keywords that have been hidden with grey rectangles, trends for each of them, and impressions (also hidden with white background). Below the table is a list of Top 10 ranking URLs for this keyword, which is showing deepl.com URLs in the top 2, and topics for each of the URLs.
Bing Webmaster Tools Keyword Research

7 URL inspection

If you inspect any URL, what you see is similar to Google Search Console but the report is enriched with addtional data such as missing alt attributes for images. I’d suggest you use other tools for that kind of monitoring at scale but it can come in handy, esp when you’re on a budget, as this is free!

URL inspection in Bing Webmaster Tools: URL to inspect was www.deepl.com/es/translator — Bing Index: Indexed successfully — 3 SEO issues found: alt attribute to images is missing, 3 instances found — meta description too long or too short, 1 instance found, HTML size is too long, 1 instance found. At the bottom, 1 markup type found for structured data.
Bing Webmaster Tools URL Inspection

DYK they are set up within one minute?

Like, literally: If you already have verified your site in Google Search Console, you can simply hook it up to Bing Webmaster Tools and are all set! It really is that easy.

Remember: Bing are not Google

Bing do however not show you how your site is performing on Google or other search engines obviously but can be a very helpful addition to your tool set. Discover more interesting keywords, use it for site health monitoring, etc. UXwise they do what SEOs love — tables!

This post is based my Twitter thread about Bing WMT but pulled into here for better accessibility. If you find it useful, please like it, share it, implement what you learned and let me know in the comments on LinkedIn, Twitter, or here what was useful to you! 🐙

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Gianna Brachetti🐙Truskawa

Gianna Brachetti🐙Truskawa

Interntl. SEO Expert by day. Flatmate of an octopus & amateur poet by night. Non-binary. Tends to prefer music over people at times. ʎ|y