Remember Yahoo Site Explorer? With it, you could take a look at all the links pointing towards your site – or your competitor’s. It was an SEO’s heaven!

Then, it was gone. And we missed it.

But there’s great news for Yahoo Site Explorer fans – Bing’s brought it back. Well, to say “brought it back” would be an understatement.

Bing’s gone above and beyond what Yahoo Site Explorer ever did. Using a development team made up of SEO’s, Bing’s provided us with what might be the best free SEO tool optimizers can get their hands on.

Can you tell we’re excited?

In today’s article, we’ll be going over the highlights of the new Bing Webmaster center.

By SEOs, For SEOs

Right off the bat, you can tell Bing’s Webmaster center was designed by SEO’s. Why? Because everything an SEO could ever ask for is there.

A lot of it is in the little details. For example, when looking at your traffic sources, you see keywords – just like any other analytics service. Here’s where Bing’s different: not only do you see keywords, you see what ranking you are for those keywords. And you see the corresponding click-thru rate.

Let’s say one of your keywords is “steel drums.”

Instead of saying, “Steel Drums: 1,000,” Bing will say, “Steel Drums: Rank #5, CTR up 1.95%.”

This gives you a goldmine of information. Using this, you can tweak your metadata to up the conversions from the search engine index.

Full Site Analysis

Besides giving you keyword and traffic data, Bing also gives you a full crawling analysis. You can literally see all the pages that the Bing search bots see. And you can see what links are pointing to those pages.

There’s a ton of value in this, but here’s one example. Often, website owners will have 404 errors without knowing about them. Sometimes, people will link to pages that cause 404 errors, removing any “link juice” that link could have.

By using Bing’s Webmaster Tools, you can easily see if you have links pointing to pages with 404 errors. If so, it’s simple to reclaim that SEO juice by fixing the errors. Many webmasters do not even realize how harmful 404 errors are to their site but believe me when I say…THEY ARE HARMFUL!

Consider this; a visitor is on your health and wellness site. They see that you are selling several products but want to know more about them. If they click a link on your site to find out and it leads to a page with a 404 error, chances are they are not going to come back to your page to buy your products.

Now, let’s go a step further. You have links on your site to other pages, some you advertise for others, some you just endorse or want to share with your community, even though you do not have control over those pages if visitors click from your page and get that 404 error, you are going to pay the ultimate penalty. So, using Bing’s webmaster tools provides you a quick view of any and all pages that are linked to your website, either internally or externally that are broken.

Additionally, for every keyword you have, you can also instantly see the price per click on Bing’s Ad Center. This allows you to see if a PPC campaign could help your site. If so, you can easily bid for keywords within the Webmaster Tool Center.

SEO Reports

Now, this is where things get intense. Bing’s Webmaster Center has a section called “SEO Reports.” Clicking on this section gives you a full rundown of your site. They show you if you having missing title tags if your images don’t have alt tags – basically everything you need to know about making your site’s on-page SEO as good as it can be.

With one click, you can see if there are any obvious on-page problems that are stopping you from reaching rank #1.

No, it’s not quite as in-depth as our free SEO analysis tool (if we do say so ourselves), but built right into the webmaster center? We’ll take it!

Site Explorer is Back

Lastly, what SEO’s have been dying for. The site explorer is back, better than ever. Yes, you can instantly search all the websites that are linking to your site. But what’s more, you can instantly search all the websites that are linking to your competitors.

You could do this with the Yahoo Site Explorer, though. What’s new about Bing is the sheer amount of options they give you for sorting. You can see all the links based on keywords. You can see all the links from specific domains. Virtually everything you could want to know about links can be found through the Bing Site Explorer.

Keyword Research

And last but certainly not least (and remember, this is just an overview of a few features), you have the keyword research tool.

It’s a lot like Google… except they show you real search data. Unlike the Google keyword tool, which takes its traffic stats off of ad volume, Bing provides you with real searcher data. And they don’t round it off, either!

So when you’re searching for keyword data on Bing, you’re getting the most accurate search volume results possible.

How to Get Started

It is easy to open a Bing Webmaster Tools account. Just follow the four easy steps below and you are on your way to a better website, and better SEO.

Step One: Visit the Bing’s Webmaster Tools sign-in or sign-up page. Click the link “Sign Up with a Microsoft account” and create a Microsoft account if you do not already have one here.

Step Two: Add and verify your website(s). Just enter the URL in the “Add a Site” box and click “Add”. Next, choose a verification method and verify your website(s).

Options 1: XML File Authentication – Click BingSiteAuth.xml and save the XML file to your computer. Upload the file to your root folder on the site you wish to add.

Option 2: Meta Tag Authentication – Copy the tag that displays your personal authentication code and paste the code into the section and save it.

Option 3: Add a CNAME record to DNS – Inside the domain hosting account, edit the CNAME record to contain the verification code provided to you and hit save.

Click “Verify” on Bing’s Webmaster Tools page once you have inserted the code into your site. A green checkmark will appear once it has been properly verified. A red cross mark is displayed if the site is unable to be verified. In this case, go back and check that you have entered the code in the correct place or try another method.

Step Three: Create and upload your sitemaps. You can use a variety of tools to create sitemaps.

Step Four: Start planning your search optimization strategy. SEO Reports is found under the Reports & Data and SEO Analyzer is found under Diagnostics and Tools. Both of these tools can help give you great insight into where your website needs work.

Ultimately, provides the same great webmaster tools for free. 

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