You may remember how I wrote that Bing Webmaster Tools couldn’t hold a candle to Google Webmaster Tools a while back. Well, my friends, the table has turned. Bing just improved its Webmaster tools so much that it not only rivals, but in some respects kicks Google’s you-know-what. They’re calling it the “Phoenix” update.
Here’s the message I got from Bing yesterday:
|Dear Bing Webmaster Users,|
We’re excited to announce a major change to the type of data and depth of guidance found in webmaster tools with our Phoenix update to Bing Webmaster Tools. This update includes a new, fresh user experience, a range of new tools including Link Explorerbeta and SEO Analyzer/SEO Reportsbeta, and updates to current tools such as our Keyword Research Toolbeta, and our URL Removal Tool, among others.
Read more below to get all of the details about our update and sign into your Bing Webmaster Tools account today to explore on your own!
And so, I just had to toddle on over and check things out. I mean, I haven’t been all that impressed, but Bing’s Webmaster Tools has taken on a brand new look and a much more powerful dimension.
Sure, it has all the normal information that you’d expect — your search positions, your inbound links, click-throughs from search and so on. All cool because it was really hard to tell what the hell was going on over there from the information they used to serve and so, I never paid much attention. I figured that if I worked toward making Google happy, that Bing would be happy, too.
That’s generally true. But Bing has gone the extra mile here, and may have helped me to figure something out.
After Google’s last Penguin update, I lost some traffic. I wasn’t sure what the heck was doing it. I don’t buy or sell links. I have no link wheels crap going on in the background. There was nothing I could put my finger on. But then, while I was looking at Bing’s new set-up, it occurred to me…
I’ve got tons of links coming back from sites like “Up Downer” and “Matter.com.” I never solicited these backlinks, but there are thousands of them. So, I started to research a bit and see if anyone else was having issues because of those sites, and it seems that some people are. It remains to be seen, but I also found a fix.
How to Deal with UpDowner and Matters
Over at Warrior Forum, I found a mod rewrite that should fix that issue (it remains to be seen, until Google crawls my site again), but that was part of it, I hope.
Here’s a link to the forum page where you can find the rewrite to add to .htaccess: http://www.warriorforum.com/adsense-ppc-seo-discussion-forum/566582-google-punishing-guest-posts-2.html . Thank you to “Most Host” for that bit of code that I didn’t have to think about. My only caveat there is to be sure to save your original .htaccess file in case something goes wrong. Yet, I implemented the mod rewrite and had no issues.
However, back to Bing Webmaster Tools because there’s more!
Have Bing Analyze your SEO
They have a feature where you can plug in your URL and the page will be analyzed for SEO. This is very cool. Using it, I found a couple of issues that may be causing some problems, as well.
First, I saw that Socrates was causing double <h1> tags on my single post pages. Not good. I took a screen shot of my header, uploaded it to this site and killed the text in it in the Socrates options. But that wasn’t enough. I also had to go into header.php and wipe that part of the code out. It looks like this:
<div style=”margin-bottom:-5px; font-weight:bold;”><h1><a href=”<?php bloginfo(‘url’); ?>”><?php bloginfo(‘name’); ?></a></h1></div>
Socrates is supposed to be SEO-friendly guys. What’s up with that? I may have to bite my tongue and go back to Thesis, after all. I’m thinking about it.
Bing Webmaster Tools also told me that the plugin I was using for the Pinterest button had no ALT tag, and that was appearing on every single post page. So I tried editing the code for that, but it didn’t help. I ended up disabling the plugin, which I didn’t want to do. If anyone has a better plugin, let me know.
The cool thing is that Bing helped me to find those issues that I wasn’t paying close enough attention to. (You know what they say about the shoe cobbler, right? He wears crappy shoes. )
You’ll Have to Set Some URL Parameters
However, though I like the improvements to the Bing set up. Google Webmaster Tools is more aggressive about some things. For example, it understands that this site is a blog and ignores certain dupe content parameters, like category, tag, and switcher directories. Bing won’t do that, unless you tell them to . They sent me a message, telling me to work on my parameters instead of their indexing dupe stuff. So, if you’re working on a blog platform, go in and tell Bing what parameters to ignore, such as cat, tag, and author, for example. You can do that at Google, too, but most of it is already done for you.
Anyway, the new Bing Webmaster Tools is a huge improvement over what was there. They’ve also added a keyword research tool and a backlink checker that I want to play with. And you can validate your code through W3C. Those are nice additions. Go on over and check it out. Find out what kinds of issues may be denying you that free traffic that we love.