While Google remains the undisputed leader of search engines, you shouldn’t be ignoring other offerings when it comes to ensuring your site ranks as highly as possible. According to the latest estimates from Statista, Bing accounts for roughly 6.76% of the market share in the UK & Ireland and represents a significant opportunity to bring more traffic and relevant users to your site. Bing Webmaster Tools are the answer to Google’s Search Console, allowing you to add your site to the Bing index crawler, as well as routinely crawling the site for errors, view search keywords reports, and disavow detrimental inbound links.
Just as Bing Advertising’s user interface is heavily influenced by Google Ads, Webmaster Tools function in a very similar way to the Search Console. We’ve put together a selection of top tips to help you get started with Webmaster Tools, including locating the Bing equivalent to the Search Console’s most widely used features.
How do I verify my site on Bing Webmaster Tools?
There are four options for verifying ownership of your site when first registering a new site with Bing. These verification methods are: Placing an XML file on your web server; Copy and paste a tag in your default webpage; Add CNAME record to DNS. All three of these are perfectly valid and well explained on the verification page, but there is a fourth method that we think is even easier. If your site is currently using Word Press and Yoast SEO, getting verified on Bing is even easier. All you need is the authentication, or verification code, from the tag provided by Bing as part Option 2. Copy this code (highlighted below), and navigate to the SEO > General section of your site’s Word Press dashboard. Simply paste the code next to Bing verification code, before returning to Webmaster Tools and clicking Verify.
How do I add users to the account?
Providing access to additional users on Webmaster Tools isn’t a complicated process, but there is a potential roadblock along the way. You’ll find the option to manage users at the bottom of the Configure My Site tab. Simply enter the e-mail of the user you’d like to add and confirm their permissions. Simple enough! Well, almost.
You might run into trouble here, and be presented with a message reading “This may be a momentary issue; try again, or check back later.” The most common reason for getting this error message is that the user you are trying to add does not have an existing Webmaster account. To avoid this, make sure that the user you are trying to add to the account has already signed up for Bing Webmaster Tools under that e-mail, and logged into their own account at least once. If the problem persists, contact Bing support to make them aware of the issue.
What search keywords were used to find my site?
Knowing how users are finding your site organically is a fundamental aspect of any effort to improve SEO and website functionality. One of the first things we recommend checking out in Bing’s Webmaster Tools is the Search Keywords report, found under Reports & Data. This highlights your site’s top keywords from Bing and Yahoo, as well as various metrics and attributions, including clicks, impressions, and the average position the site appeared in search results.
Where can I disavow links?
The Disavow Link Tool allows you to tell a search engine not to consider links from specific sites when determining how highly you will rank in organic search results. The initial steps of the process involve obtaining a list of external or inbound links to your site. You can find this on Bing Webmaster Tools under the Reports & Data section of the left navigation menu, aptly titled Inbound Links. When you’ve identified which of these linking sites you’d like to disavow, the process differs slightly between search engines. While for Google, a text file containing this list of undesired links would be uploaded to the Search Console, Bing requires you to enter these manually. As shown below, you do this through the Disavow Links tool under the Configure My Site section. Don’t forget that you can specify whether you’d like to like to disavow each entry at Page, Directory, or Domain level.
Where do I find the crawl error reports?
Crawl error reports, now known as the coverage index in Google Search Console, are used to identify errors, solve outstanding issues, and validate those fixes. If you’re having trouble finding Bing’s version of these reports in Webmaster Tools, you can locate them at the bottom of the Reports & Data section, titled Crawl Information.
Bing groups similar errors into various categories, organised by the nature of the issue, such as request errors and internal server errors. Clicking each category will provide you with a list of the URLs that presented the error, or you can use the Export All button to download a complete list of flags. When you’ve addressed these areas, there’s no need to manually validate your solutions, as these will be automatically reviewed when the Bingbot next crawls the URL.
You’re ready to get started with Bing Webmaster Tools!
There are many other useful features within Bing Webmaster Tools, such as the Mobile Friendliness Test and Keyword Research tool (currently in Beta), so it’s worthwhile exploring the interface and finding what’s most useful to you. If you have any problems implementing any of the discussed features, please get in touch. We’re always happy to help.
For more information on Bing’s Webmaster Tools and Advertising offerings, keep an eye on the GlowMetrics blog by subscribing to our newsletter here.