Bing doesn't have Google's trademark, but neglecting the traffic it generates can be a huge mistake.

Bing Webmaster Tools may lag behind the popularity of Google Search Console, but you might be surprised at what features they offer.

If you want to drive traffic to your website, using Google is a breeze.

But Bing should be in your tool arsenal too.

To capture every available search engine traffic, you have to put up with Bing.

Google attracted 92% of the global search engine market share, while Bing scored 2.4%.

Bing also supports Yahoo's search, which accounted for 1.4% of the market share. Together that is almost 4%.

It may seem like a skimpy number compared to Google, but think about how many eyeballs it represents.

Read on to learn all about Bing Webmaster Tools and how to use them for your business.

What you will learn about Bing Webmaster Tools

What is the 411 on Bing? It's all here.

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This guide is everything you need to know to get started with Bing Webmaster Tools, which are different from Google Search Console, and to troubleshoot issues and improve your website's performance.

This guide is divided into sections to make it easier for you to read:

My Pages (old version)

Previously, the first time you signed in to Bing Webmaster Tools, you were directed to the My Sites page.

This is where you can access your websites on the platform, view all the websites you have set up, and quickly jump to other sections of the tool.

Bing Webmaster Tools my website

Similar to the Google Search Console, users can now switch between websites in the upper left corner of the dashboard.

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Add site (old version)

Adding a site to Bing Webmaster Tools is pretty easy.

In the old version, users entered their url.

Then you will be taken to a screen asking you to add your sitemap and the most popular time of day for your website.

Add Bing Webmaster Tools WebsiteNow you can add a site from the drop down menu in the top left corner.

bing Webmaster Tools Guide add website

The next step is to verify that you own the website you are adding.

Previously, Bing Webmaster Tools only offered three ways to do this:

  • XML file authentication: Download a custom XML file and upload it to your root directory.
  • Meta tag authentication: Copy and paste a custom one Tag on the home page of your website.
  • Add a CNAME record to the DNS: Edit your site's CNAME record with a custom verification code.

If your website has already been reviewed by Google, then Bing has a feature that allows you to easily import it.

Review of webmaster tools

Home page (previously Dashboard)

Once you've added and reviewed a website, what used to be the Dashboard is now called the Home Page.

This is what the old dashboard looked like.

Webmaster Tools Dashboard

And here is your new home.

bing webmaster tools home

The "Home" area gives you an overview of the performance of your website.

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The first section under Reports is Search Performance, which shows clicks, impressions, average click through rate, and average position.

You can click on which points you want to review without having to view the full report.

The next section, SEO Reports, breaks down the overall errors on your website and categorizes the errors into high severity, medium severity, and low severity.

Then, under the Send URL section, users can send any URL for Bing to crawl and index.

This is one of the reasons why you should be using Bing Webmaster Tools.

Why leave it to chance when you can be proactive?

You've probably noticed that the Bing Webmaster Tool's new home dashboard is now similar to the Google Search Console.

To access the more detailed information offered by the Bing Webmaster Tool Dashboard, you need to use the left menu bar to get a deeper look at each report.

That's pretty comprehensive, isn't it?

Now let's go through the features that can be accessed from the navigation pane on the left side of the home page.

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Search performance (previously reports and data)

A new section in Bing Webmaster Tools called "Search Performance" again corresponds to the Google Search Console.

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Users can segment data in the following ways:

  • Total number of clicks
  • Overall impressions
  • Average click rate
  • Average position

Then you can segment that data even further by:

Webmaster Tools Search Performance

The best part of this new section?

The ability to segment by date.

You can use the Bing Webmaster Tools to get data by 6 months, 3 months, 30 days, 7 days, or custom.

Webmaster Tools Date

Before Bing Webmaster Tools released the Search Performance Report, here is an example of an old reporting dashboard.

Bing Webmaster Tools organic search above

All search queries that led to the pages on the left are displayed here.

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URL verification (previously obtained as a Bingbot)

Bing Webmaster Tools has added the URL Inspection Tool to its new version.

Similar to the Google Search Console, the URL verification tool allows users to check for any crawling, indexing, or markup errors that might need attention.

You can check in real time for SEO issues.

Bing Webmaster Tools URL Inspection

Here's a deeper breakdown of what you can do with it:

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  • See what your HTTP headers and page source look like for Bingbot.
  • Make sure Bingbot sees the same content as your users.
  • Test to see if a URL is being blocked by your robots.txt file.

This new URL inspection tool pulls the curtain back between you and Bingbot.

Here's a quick snapshot of what the old Fetch looked like as a BingBot.

Bing Webmaster Tools bring Bingbot

Site Explorer (previously Index Explorer)

Bing Webmaster Tools launched Site Explorer, one of my favorite features that Bing has that Google Search Console doesn't.

Here's a look at Site Explorer.

Bing Webmaster Tools Site Explorer

Here is a snapshot of the older version called Index Explorer.

Bing Webmaster Tools Index Explorer

The best thing about Site Explorer?

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It comes into the mind of Bing.

Site Explorer lets you see how Bing displays your site in folders and files – much like Windows Explorer.

Users can see clicks, impressions, backlinks, HTTP code, the date of the last crawl and much more.

The crawling information is divided into:

  • Indexed: The number of URLs indexed in this particular folder.
  • Error: The number of crawl errors that resulted in URLs not being indexed.
  • Warning: The number of URLs that had crawling problems or that are not allowed in robots.txt files.
  • Locked out: The number of URLs with low rankings, spam issues, etc.

This report is complex, but once you dig in it can be very powerful.

You can see all of the data Bing has collected on the pages it crawls.

View all your redirects, broken pages, malware infected pages and urls blocked by robot.txt.

With this level of detail, you can really optimize your website's performance.

GSC provides the same information through its index coverage report but does not have the same visual structure.

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This is one area where Bing's navigation is a step ahead of Google.

Sitemaps

As the name suggests, all of your submitted sitemaps are here.

Bing Webmaster Tools Sitemaps

Bing Webmaster Tools offers several formats for submitting your sitemaps:

  • XML sitemap
  • RSS 2.0
  • Yahoo mRSS and Bing mRSS (Media RSS)
  • Atom 0.3 & 1.0
  • Text (a plain text file with one url per line)

Would you like to give Bing an overview of all the pages on your website at the same time?

The XML sitemap is best suited for this.

If you would like Bing to be notified of new URLs on your website, Bing recommends using the RSS or Atom format.

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After submitting your sitemaps, you will be given a list of the URLs indexed by Bing and any issues found.

GSC's sitemap feature allows you to view the same data, but only sitemaps in XML format.

URL submission (submit urls beforehand)

Let's say you've launched new services with their own landing pages and some blogs.

Similar to the URL inspection tool, the Bing Webmaster Tools allows you to send URLs to be crawled with the URL inspection tool and the URL Submission section.

Bing Webmaster Tools URL Submission

This was previously known as sending URLs.

Bing Webmaster Tools send URLs

You can send up to 10,000 URLs per day. The number of URLs per month is unlimited.

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To add a URL, simply click on "Submit URLs" and enter them in (one per line). Then click on "Submit".

Bing Webmaster Tools send URLs

From there, Bingbot goes to work immediately.

If your pages meet Bing's quality criteria, they'll appear in search results. Voila!

With the updated version of Bing, this feature has now been automated so you don't have to update every time you make changes.

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SEO

Backlinks (previously incoming links & disavow links)

Which websites link to yours? And on which pages are the most inbound links drawn?

This report contains the goods just like the old Google Search Console link report.

You get a lot more functionality with the new updated backlink tool.

bing webmaster tools backlinks

You can now segment backlinks by domains, pages and anchor texts.

Here is a screenshot of the old Inbound Links dashboard.

bing webmaster tools link details

With the new backlinks you can also deactivate links.

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Just like with Google, you can deactivate certain pages, directories or domains with Bing.

With Bing, you just enter the URLs you don't want to display, while GSC requires you to upload them via text file.

Reject bing webmaster tools

Another cool new feature is that you can compare the backlinks of similar websites to see if there are any new potential opportunities.

bing webmaster tools similar websites

Keyword research (search for keywords and keywords beforehand)

Bing's keyword research tool shows you search appearances and trends much like you can get from Google, SEMrush, and other keyword research tools.

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My favorite part of the new keyword research tool is the ability to spot query trends so you can tell by country, region, language, or device if enough people are searching for those keywords.

This is pretty easy.

Here you can view the keywords that are driving traffic to your website, view details per keyword and export them to a CSV file.

bing webmaster tools keyword research

This is also recorded in the GSC performance report. All you have to do is set the filters to show up when asked.

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SEO reports

Bing's automated SEO reports identify areas of your website that are not following SEO best practices.

Instead of searching for areas that need improvement in Site Explorer or individual reports, Bing does some of the hard work for you.

bing webmaster tools seo report

This report is great for the beginner or anyone who just wants to tackle low hanging fruits before moving on to more complicated topics.

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Site Scan (previously SEO Analyzer & Crawl Information)

The site scan tool can be used to conduct a site review that couples best practices when needed.

The difference is that it is done page by page.

Just start a new scan and Bing will download the page and look for SEO best practices.

The webmaster tools start the scan

Once the site is scanned, Bing will prioritize your issues based on errors, warnings, or notices.

Webmaster Tools site scan example

Click on an article for more information:

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construction

Crawl control

The crawl controls sound like "cruise control," and there are some similarities.

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This feature gives you control over how fast or slow Bing crawls your site.

bing webmaster tools crawl control

If your site usually has a lot of traffic on weekday mornings, the last thing you need to do is bing your servers.

This feature allows you to tell Bing to come back if your website isn't that full.

The new Google search console doesn't have this feature.

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You have to go to the older features to control the crawl rate.

Block urls (ignore url parameters beforehand)

URL parameters are great for mapping and SEO as a neck pain.

The search engines do not differentiate between URLs with and without parameters.

There are many reasons this is bad for SEO.

You can use Bing and Google to prevent these pages from appearing in search results.

Bing allows you to manually add URLs to be blocked from search.

Bing Webmaster Tools block URLs

GSC's URL parameters tool is much more powerful, but Bing lets you do the job, if not as optimally.

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Tools & improvements

Robots.txt Tester

The robots.txt tester is a newer feature in Bing Webmaster Tools.

The aim is to help you analyze your robots.txt files to identify issues that may prevent URLs from being crawled by Bing.

bing webmaster tools robots.txt tester

With Bing, webmasters can send a URL to the robots.txt tester to check whether the URL is allowed or blocked by Bingbot and BingAdsBot.

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You can also make changes to the robots.txt file using the editor.

Check out Bingbot

Up to a fifth of all Internet traffic can be attributed to bad bots stealing data and credentials.

If you want to stay one step ahead of these little gremlins, you need to watch out for the traffic that is coming to your website.

Bing wants to help you with that.

Use this tool to verify that an IP address is from Bing.

If you want to do this with Google, you'll need to do a DNS lookup.

Bing webmaster tools review Bingbot

security

Notes on removing the copyright

If someone flags content on your site for a DMCA violation, the URL will be displayed here.

Removal Notes for Webmaster Tools

You can also see the owner of the copyright url here.

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Do you think your content has been wrongly labeled?

Click "Reply to Notices" to object to the claim.

User administration (previously user)

Just like with the Google Search Console, you can use Bing Webmaster Tools to manage who has access to your account and their permissions.

It's pretty easy to manage your users.

Just add them with their email address and select their role.

You have three choices: Read Only, Read / Write, and Administrator.

bing webmaster tools user management

Other features available in Bing Webmaster Tools

Notifications (previously messages)

Once you've set up an account with Bing Webmaster Tools, Bing may send you all kinds of messages – from phishing warnings to crawl errors.

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You will receive notifications from Bing sent directly to your email.

Webmaster Tools Notifications

Previously, these were sent to the Message Center, your inbox within Bing.

Bing Places for Business

If you want to be found in local search, the search engines need to know where you are.

This can be found in the upper left corner of Bing Webmaster Tools.

bing webmaster tools more

Bing Places for Business gives you two options for doing this.

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If your location has already been verified with Google My Business, you can import it here.

If not, you can add or claim your business manually through Bing.

It's a simple process, but the steps vary depending on the type of business.

First, choose your business type.

You will be asked to choose between small and medium-sized businesses, chain businesses, online-only businesses, or managing offers for your customers.

Small businesses can manually look up their business by phone number or address.

If Bing has a listing for this, you can request one for your business here.

Next, you will be asked to review the business details (like name, website, etc.).

Once you're done there, you'll be given a few options for reviewing your listing: Bing will send a PIN via mail, email, text, or phone call.

For businesses with multiple locations, Bing offers a bulk upload file to make the process a little easier.

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Bing News PubHub

Do you publish news content?

Bing News PubHub helps you get your content in front of readers who are looking for the news.

Web sites that are added to the PubHub are made available to users in these Microsoft products:

  • Bing News Connector in Outlook that allows users to create their own news digest.
  • Cortana, the voice-activated digital assistant from Microsoft.
  • Bing News on the web and in the Bing app.

To be part of PubHub, websites must adhere to Bing's guidelines.

Bing rates websites for currency, originality, authority, and readability.

According to Bing, websites that are not published regularly, are too lax with grammar and spelling rules, or that are primarily designed to market products or services are not eligible.

Bing Manufacturer Center

The Bing Manufacturer Center helps product manufacturers improve the appearance of their products in search queries, product ads, and various Microsoft applications.

In the Manufacturer Center, you can add details like product IDs and descriptions to make your product stand out.

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As the name suggests, the tool is primarily intended for product manufacturers.

Retailers who don't sell their own products can use the Bing Merchant Center to manage their product lists.

If you already have a Google Manufacturer Center account, Bing will accept your catalog in the same file formats as Google.

This allows you to take advantage of both tools without doing a lot of extra work.

Once your products are set up in the Manufacturer Center, Bing provides analysis of their performance.

Bing solutions

With Bing Solutions, now known as Bing for Partners, you can integrate Bing with your apps, tools, websites and services.

There are a number of ways companies incorporate, or integrate with, Bing into their tools:

  • Twitter uses Bing's Translation API to translate Tweets.
  • Amazon uses Bing in the search function on Fire tablets.
  • Fandango links up with Bing to facilitate movie screenings on the search.

Bing advertises its affiliate program to improve functionality and reach new users.

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While the Bing for Partners website is divided into sections for businesses and developers, most of the good things are for developers.

Once accepted into the program, developers can use the Bing API to create maps and integrate language and translation tools.

Search capabilities are the most powerful part of Bing for Partners.

Bing offers five search APIs that range from basic web search to video search.

You can also create custom searches to control the search experience of users on your website.

The most impressive tools are Bing's Visual Search APIs and tools. You can recognize barcodes, pull text from images, and provide visually similar images.

Features that are no longer available in the new version of Bing Webmaster Tools

Below is a list of the tools and features that are no longer available with the new version of Bing Webmaster Tool.

However, as Bing continues to update its dashboard, these old functionality may be returning.

Until then, enjoy the nostalgia.

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Deep Links (old version)

Deep links are the links that appear in search results just below the main page of the website.

On Google they are called sitelinks.

Bing Webmaster Tools Deep Link Serp

This old feature allowed you to block certain pages from showing up here.

Bing Webmaster Tools Deep Links

Geo-targeting (old version)

In the past, if you wanted to instruct Bing to serve certain pages or sections of your website to users from a specific region, that was your role.

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You can do this for a single page, domain, subdomain, or directory.

You've just entered the URL you want to geo-target and country, and Bing has started showing your preference in the search results.

Bing Webmaster Tools Geo-Targeting

Related Pages (Old Version)

You can tell Bing which social media accounts or pages hosting your apps are associated with your website.

Then it could tell you how many impressions and clicks you are getting from those pages.

bing webmaster tools affiliated sites

You can link pages from social media and the major app stores.

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That way, you can really see how people are finding you all over your web presence, not just your main website.

Mobile phone friendliness test (old version)

First, let's take a look at the Mobile Friendliness Test.

These days, if a website isn't cell-friendly, it seriously falls short.

Google puts more emphasis on mobile websites. Therefore, the Mobile Usability Report is critical to the performance of your website.

Even though Bing has stated that it has no plans to roll out mobile-first indexing on its platform, you still want to make sure your website is mobile-friendly.

The Mobile Friendliness Test allowed you to analyze your website to determine how well it conforms to mobile best practices.

You can actually analyze any site, not just the one you checked in BWT.

Bing Webmaster Tools mobile friendliness

Markup Validator (older version)

By using structured data, you can get any functionality out of search engines.

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Bing recognizes six languages ​​that give you more control over how your pages appear when you search. How so:

bing webmaster tools structured data

Markup Validator for Webmaster Tools

The Markup Validator tool told you if you got it right.

It worked in a similar way to the structured data tool in the Google Search Console.

You just entered a url and you're leaving.

Bing Webmaster Tools Markup Validator URL

Structured data is a pretty advanced SEO concept, so Bing included links to resources in the six recognized languages.

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Site Move (old version)

The website move tool was a quick way to tell Bing that you moved your website.

This is Bing's answer to the Google Search Console address change tool.

With Bing Webmaster Tools, you have several options to choose from for the scope of your move:

After you entered the source and destination URLs, Bing ran some tests to make sure everything was correct.

If all goes well, Bing will notify its crawlers of your new address.

Bing Webmaster Tools Move Website

Malware (old version)

The good news: websites infected with malware are on the decline.

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The bad news: 40% of malicious URLs were found on good domains.

The old Bing Webmaster Tool malware tool showed you all of the URLs that Bing detected malware on.

It also shows a brief description of the problem, when it was detected and when it was last scanned.

bing webmaster tools malware

Phishing (old version)

Cyber ​​criminals create a new phishing website every 20 seconds.

Search engines don't want to help drive users to these websites. Hence, they are constantly flagging websites that appear malicious.

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Bing relies on Microsoft SmartScreen's list of suspicious websites to get this data.

In the unfortunate event that your website is flagged, you can fix it using the Bing Webmaster Tool's Phishing Reevaluation Tool.

Once you identify the problem, you can ask Bing to check your website again using the tool.

bing webmaster tools harmful elements

Translator widget (old version)

Until July 2019, Microsoft offered a translator web widget that allows you to easily translate the content of your website. The widget wasn't without its flaws, however.

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Microsoft offered a few options, with Microsoft Translator being the most popular.

It used machine learning to translate everything from web pages into downloadable assets.

It supports over 60 languages ​​and there are several ways to incorporate it into your site:

  • CMS plugins.
  • CMS platforms with built-in support.
  • Integration of the Microsoft Translator API.

Webmaster API (old version)

If you want to access the functionality of the Bing Webmaster Tools (most of them) in the SEO or analytics software of your choice, you must use the Webmaster API.

It's a pretty straightforward process, just like any API integration.

What's next with Bing Webmaster Tools?

And there you have it – all that Bing Webmaster Tools has (and had) to offer.

It's more than you expected right?

Good news: Bing just keeps getting better.

As I write this, the Bing team is adding new features to the Bing Webmaster Tools Portal.

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Bing doesn't lack features that can help you improve the performance of your website.

This update will help make the experience more intuitive and flexible.

According to Bing, the move to the new portal will take place in the next few months.

I will keep you posted here as soon as updates are released.

More resources:

Photo credit

Selected picture and in-post photos: Created by the author, June 2020, October 2020
All screenshots by the author, June 2020, October 2020

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