When it comes to SEO, Google tends to steal the show.
Every SEO guide has you set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console, and rightly so - they are great tools. But what about Bing?
Cue laugh track.
While Bing gets dominated by Google on a regular basis (Google sits at 92%, Bing at 2.75%), don't count Bing out as a valuable tool for your SEO strategy. In fact, I would go as far to say that Bing webmaster tools is a necessary tool for any effective SEO strategy and should be one of your go-tos.
Bing Webmaster tools is Bing's version of Google Search Console.
If you are familiar with Google Search Console, then this should look pretty familiar. Bing shows you impressions, clicks, and position in search for keywords and for pages found on your website.
You can also submit new URLs to Bing, as well as check the crawl status for existing URLs.
That is where the comparisons end though, as you can actually do more with Bing Webmaster tools than you can with Google Search Console.
Yep, you heard that right.
Bing Webmaster tools is a cinch to set up for your website.
The process is similar to setting up Google Search console, you have a few options. You can read the full setup instructions here, though we'll break it down for you as well.
This is by far the easiest option, if you already have a site connected to Google Search Console you can import it into Bing Webmaster tools. However, f you are not currently using Google Search Console don't worry there are still plenty of options to set things up manually.
To set up Bing Webkaster tools with their XML file, click BingSiteAuth.xml to save the an XML file to your computer. Next, upload the file to the root folder of the site you are trying to add.
Slightly less technical is the meta tag setup.
Copy the displayed <meta> tag with your personal verification code to the clipboard. Then head to the editor for your website and paste the provided code into the <head> section.
This option requires access to your domain hosting account. Inside that account, edit the CNAME record to hold the provided verification code (a series of numbers and letters) Bing provides you. Depending on your hosting provider, this can take 30 minutes to verify or up to 24 hours.
You'd be surprised how versitile Bing webmaster tools really is. Not to knock Google Search Console, but there are some seriously cool things you can do with Bing.
Let's dive into my favorites.
The robots.txt has a reputation for being pretty darn technical. If you're unfamiliar with what a robots.txt file is check out our complete guide to setting up a robots.txt for your website and head back here.
In all of the platforms I have seen there is no sort of check on whether you are setting up a robots.txt correctly.
For example, we use Yoast which allows us to set up a robots.txt, but it would also allow us to use a format that Google could not understand. Bing has a validator that shows you whether your robots.txt checks out, and how to fix errors if there are any:
Pretty cool, huh?
That's just scratching the surface though as there are a few other tools you can use with Bing
We've written on backlinks before too so check out our guide for a primer, Bing has some pretty amazing free tools when it comes to backlink analysis to power your SEO strategy.
Bing provides some pretty basic data at a surface level to show you how many backlinks and referring domains you have. This is useful to keep track of because the more backlinks you have the better your rank will be. Think of backlinks as votes. These are where other websites are signalling to Google 'this site is worth paying attention to.'
Bing makes it extremely easy to see how many 'votes' your website is getting.
The cool thing though is that you can go a level deeper and compare your website to a competitor to analyze their backlinks next to yours.
You can see how many backlinks they have and which domains are linking to them.
That's a huge chip to play, and Bing provides it for free.
Not only can you view the keywords your site ranks for with Bing, you can also research new keywords that you should be targeting in your content.
If you want to rank for a broad industry topic, then you need to know and cover all the related keywords for that topic. We've got plenty of strategies to research keywords, however Bing provides this out of the box too.
Simply enter a root keyword and Bing will show stats like search trends, where in the world searches are coming from, and related keywords that you can examine more closely.
While Google always seems to take the cake in SEO, I was pleasantly surprised by Bing.
Yes, Google commands the vast majority of market share. However the tools available in Bing Webmaster tools are not exclusive to Bing, they can help you improve your rank on Google too. So don't count Bing out just yet, if you aren't already I'd recommend setting up Bing webmaster tools today to start leveling up your SEO strategy.
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