On October 16, 2012 Google finally put an end to the annoying "please-remove-my-links-from-your-website" mails and gave hard times to backlink removal services and tools like Removeem (the guys spammed us pretty hard and they do deserve this link, after all, they may now disavow it, if they wish).
Those of you, who already expect yet another Penguin and Panda story, please, switch to National Geographic, this post is going to be animals-free. While the introduction of Google Disavow Links tool spurred lots of discussions, a few months earlier the similar functionality introduced by Bing was merely noticed. Bing Webmaster Tools deserve more attention; they have a good chance to win in our Bing vs. Google Webster Tools challenge. We thought it would be boring to describe the functionality of Bing tools alone; we hope all of you may Ctrl+F the “Help” link, thus we compared Bing tools against their counterparts by Google, and performed a few very simple tests. Read on!
The dashboard in Bing Webmaster Tools presents a snapshot of the most vital data for the selected period of time: clicks, impressions, errors, crawled pages, inbound links, and the keywords generating impressions. The dashboard is informative, the data reads well. What is more important, you may select the date range (up to six months) and carry on your comparison or historic data analysis.
Google Webmasters Tools dashboard is less informative, featuring crawl errors gauge, impressions and clicks graph, and sitemap indexing graph. You can’t change the date range. But that’s enough for the daily routine checks.
Both Bing and Google offer the same level of flexibility. As we previously mentioned they both now let users disavow links. However, Google took care of less advanced users who might harm their websites with it, and they put it in a separate interface. There is a bad news for websites targeted at particular countries; Bing won’t let you select a geographic target. However, taking into consideration its market share, it’s not a big deal.
|Set preferred domain (www or non-www)||No||Yes|
|Set geographic targeting||No||Yes|
|Set crawl rate||Yes||Yes|
|Configure URL parameters||Yes||Yes|
|Change of website address||No||Yes|
|Submit and manage sitemaps||Yes||Yes|
|Submit URLs for indexation||Yes||Yes|
3. Reports and Data
In terms of reporting and availability of the historic data Google is one step behind Bing. The latter offers data for the wider date range and users are able to adjust the date range for the output data as they need. This is particularly important when you are trying to find what caused a sharp decline or growth in visits, CTR, etc.
|Keyword rankings (clicks, impressions, etc.)||Yes||Yes|
|Page rankings (clicks, impressions, etc.)||Yes||Yes|
4. SEO/Marketing Tools
Here is where Bing takes over. Bing offers a descent keyword research tool (you might object that Google has Adwords Keyword Tool), but there is a big difference between them. While Adwords Keyword Tool reflects the number of searches from Adwords keyword auctions, the similar tool by Bing outputs the data from organic search at Bing.
Link Explorer copies Yahoo Site Explorer functionality but returns fewer results. Anyway, it’s better than nothing if you want to have a quick look at the backlinks of your competitors for free. As a better alternative, you might give a try to SEO SpyGlass.
It’s hard to imagine any good use cases for Verify Bingbot tool. It is intended to help distinguish real Bingbots from supposedly malicious crawlers that spoof user agent and generate unnecessary load on your servers.
|Fetch as Bingbot/ Googlebot||Yes||Yes|
|Structured data mark up validation||Yes||Yes|
|Verify Bingbot/ Googlebot||Yes||No|
|Google +1 Reports||No||Yes*|
* Google +1 Reports will be discontinued starting November 14, 2012.
5. Precision and Amount of Data
Let’s compare the number of inbound links found by Bing and Google Webmaster Tools (this data is available to verified users only), and SEO SpyGlass (no website verification needed, the functionality is available in the free version). The data is presented for http://www.seoinpractice.com/ (a free online book by Link-Asssitant.Com team).
Bing Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools
As you see from the spreadsheet SEO SpyGlass that uses numerous data sources to build the reports outperformed Google Webmaster Tools, with Bing Webmaster Tools on the third place.
Inbound links by Bing
Inbound links by Google
Inbound links by SEO SpyGlass
We consequently tested 10 URLs of prominent websites that presumably have thousands of inbound links. The Bing Link Explorer never returned more than 490 results, which is not bad for a totally free tool but obviously not enough for the deep research.
We performed another short test that reflects precision of the tools. In this test we compared the actual organic traffic from Bing and Google (according to Google Analytics) with the data presented in Google and Bing Webmaster Tools. Date range: September 1 – September 30, 2012.
Webmaster Tools Data
Webmaster Tools Data
Bing has an unacceptable margin of error, which makes us doubt the validity of the other data. These two small experiments are no way precise since we examined only one sample, however will be eager to learn about your experience and observations. Let us know, if the data provided in Bing tools meet actual numbers in your cases.
The Bing Webmaster Tools development team made a big leap forward and in certain areas outperforms Google.
Bing Tools Pros:
- Wider date range, you may select the date range for the output data;
- Link Explorer tool lets one research competitors’ backlinks;
- Keyword research tool provides organic search data, and;
- The functionality is comparable with Google Webmaster Tools.
Bing Tools Cons:
- Inbound Links report reflects fewer links, and;
- Lower credibility of the data (needs deeper research to prove it).
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