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Bing vs. Google: Webmaster Tools Challenge (inspired by Disavow update)

October 23rd, 2012 | | Posted in category Bing SEO Google Keyword Research Reviews SEO Tools

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!

1. Dashboard

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.

Bing Dashboard

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.

Google dashboard

2. Settings

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.

Feature/Function Bing Google
Set preferred domain (www or non-www) No Yes
Set geographic targeting No Yes
Set crawl rate Yes Yes
Change sitelinks No Yes
Configure URL parameters Yes Yes
Change of website address No Yes
User management Yes Yes
Block/remove URLs Yes Yes
Submit and manage sitemaps Yes Yes
Submit URLs for indexation Yes Yes
Disavow links 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.

Reports/Data Bing Google
Keyword rankings (clicks, impressions, etc.) Yes Yes
Page rankings (clicks, impressions, etc.) Yes Yes
Inbound links Yes Yes
SEO suggestions Yes Yes
Internal linking No 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.

SEO/Marketing Tools Bing Google
Keyword research Yes No
Link Explorer Yes No
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

SEO SpyGlass

2009 8149 9859

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

Bing inbound links

Inbound links by Google

Google inbound links

Inbound links by SEO SpyGlass

SEO Spyglass inbound links

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.

Bing

Google

Actual Traffic

Webmaster Tools Data

Actual Traffic

Webmaster Tools Data

33

2

2939

3000

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.

Conclusion

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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  • http://www.tone.co.uk/ Anthony

    Interesting post Eugene. I'm intrigued as to why Bing finds so many fewer links?

    Eugene Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Hi Anthony, thank you for stopping by at my post and your question.
    1) Regarding Link Explorer, I think it simply omits less important and less trustworthy pages. I think the only person that knows for sure why they are doing this is Duane Forrester.
    2) As for the backlink report for the verified websites, it might contain fewer links simply because Bing's index is smaller in comparison with Google. Try to make the same phrase match queries
    in Bing and in Google and compare the number of results.

    Anthony Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    I see. Although Bing lets you research competitors backlinks it doesn't report all of the links. Therefore it is much better to use a tool like SEO spyglass or Open Site Explorer. Thanks for the reply.

    Eugene Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    I'd say that Bing backlink checker (combined with Excel if necessary) is a better alternative than Open Site Explorer.

    Anthony Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Just run a search on Bings Link Explorer to check the amount of backlinks to our website and it only finds 48. Am I right in saying Bing only reports the linking root domains and excludes duplicates?

    Eugene Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    There is a drop down selector "Scope". If you select "URL" - it will show both root domains and pages, if you select "Domain" - it shows only root domains. Also, you may use "Filter by Site" field to get more results from the same domain. I'm only wondering why they are displaying "Page title" instead of anchor text ))

    Anthony Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Hmm.When I select URL - only 45 links are returned. I only registered our site last week, maybe that has something to do with it? Either way, I'm happy using OSE for the time being :) thanks for your help Eugene!

  • James

    Hi Eugene, I'm still somewhat new to SEO and both google and bing webmaster tools. I was just wondering if it would be plausible to first use the bing disavow tool to remove suspicious links as a quasi test run before doing it with the google disavow tool. Maybe for ex. I could see how the removal of certain links with the Bing disavow tool affect my site's visability before deciding to do so with the google tool? I understand that they are 2 different animals but I'd hope the algorithims would be similar enough to agree on what a bad or untrustworthy backlink is. Some seem really paranoid about the new google disavow tool so that's why I ask.

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