Beyond Google: Using the Yahoo/Bing Webmaster Tools
It’s no secret that Google is the dominant force in driving search engine traffic to websites across the Internet. According to Net Market Share’s data pool, Google accounts for a staggering 69 percent of all search engine traffic worldwide as of October 2015. Naturally, this means you should be making Google your SEO priority no questions asked. However, that data implies that 31 percent of search engine traffic is coming from other sources: Bing accounts for 12 percent and Yahoo accounts for 9 percent. Together, the second and third place search engines make up around 21 percent of all search engine traffic, which is too big of a slice of pie to ignore.
You hire a writer to generate quality content for you and want to get the most clicks possible out of it, so you should make sure your content is getting properly indexed and ranked within all three major search engines. Like with Google, Yahoo and Bing both have webmaster tools that help you insure that your site content is getting properly indexed without any errors that will have a negative impact on SEO that are irrelevant to actual page content. Content performance is highly contingent on how well sites and content are processed and interpreted by search engines. These tools help the search engines navigate your site content to determine what is important to share and what isn’t.
Together Our Powers Combine!
One of the Bing and Yahoo webmaster tools selling points over the competition is that both sites actually use a shared service under the “Bing Webmaster” moniker. That means you only need to set up one account, install one tracking script on your site, validate the code once, and submit a single sitemap to get your site properly configured with both search engines. This is a big time saver and a great selling point for the service because while together the two search engines bring in less traffic than Google, their combined traffic makes a much more comparatively relevant case for your attention.
The Bing Webmaster platform has a few advantages over its Google Webmaster counterpart. It is a much simpler system to configure than what Google uses for people who run multiple sites through the same CMS or share a common code infrastructure. With Google Webmaster Tools, each site within the account gets its own unique identifier tag, which associates the site confirmation with the property itself. Bing’s system uses an account identifier instead, which means you copy and paste the same code to all the websites you run without having to make modifications. Webmasters that frequently add new sites to their online platforms will find this tool helpful, since they won’t have to build in a way to modify the Bing Webmaster tools code for unique sites.
Respect the Index
During the guided Bing Webmaster Tools installation process, the platform will ask for information about when your site is most active as well as for content sitemaps to aid in indexing site content. Making sure you have properly formatted and submitted sitemaps, or structured directories of all hub and content pages on your website, is the single most important part of adding your sites to the Bing Webmaster Tools. Instead of having to crawl your website, the sitemaps quickly update Bing and Yahoo with new content additions via a lightweight, fast communication method. Sitemaps help Yahoo and Bing quickly and accurately index your site content, which can help place it in searches faster than your competition, giving you an advantage with breaking news-style content.
Bing Webmaster tools also provides similar insights as Google Webmaster, including monitoring search traffic, appearance in search results, crawling accuracy, search keywords, and inbound links from other sites. The platform also offers several tools to help troubleshoot issues with your site in search results. If your site brings in hypothetically 50 percent of its traffic from search engines, you’re looking at a situation where Yahoo and Bing are bringing in about 10 percent of all traffic, so using these tools can provide a noticeable overall traffic boost.
Dan S is a former news journalist turned web developer and freelance writer. He has a penchant for all things tech and believes the person using the machine is the most important element.