Bing has released its latest update, and it is an impressive one to say the least. Cleverly dubbed “Bing Phoenix”, this update introduces a range of new tools as well as updates to existing tools. With a sleek and fresh user interface, it only takes a few minutes of playing around to see how useful these tools are.
There are quite a few updates to mention, but I will go through those that could benefit Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
• Link Explorer: This feature is still in the beta stage, but it looks promising. You can explore links from any domain. That’s right; any domain, for free! Not only does it allow you to examine your own backlink profile, it can also function as a mini competitor analysis tool. With the internal feature, you can see what internal pages point to a specific URL. Another useful feature is the ability to filter via anchor text, and by keywords in the page content. For example, if I wanted to optimise for “cars”, entering this keyword in either box will give me the links that contain it in anchor text or in the surrounding content.
• SEO report (beta): The Bing Phoenix update gives you approximately 15 bi-monthly SEO recommendations to help you improve your site’s standing in search engines.
• SEO Analyser (beta): This expands on the SEO report. This tool gives you the ability to drill into the source code and it identifies the lines of code that have errors. It also highlights on-page issues, making it easy to visualise and rectify them. As the webmasters team at Bing state, this feature could prove useful when analysing new pages, as it makes it easier to ensure that minimum SEO standards are being met. However, it is important to note that this feature can only be used for domains verified in your account.
• Fetch as Bingbot (beta): This tool lets you see how the Bing crawler crawls a specific page on your site. A simple feature but beneficial nonetheless. Duane Forrester, a developer from Bing, mentioned in an interview with SEOmoz that the tool could be used to find code injected into your site by hackers.
• Keyword Research tool (updated): The changes Phoenix made to the Keyword Research tool include the possibility of searching for multiple keywords instead of being restricted to a single keyword or phrase as was the case when it was first launched. Something to note is that the data comes from organic search at Bing, so the figures are not rounded as they are with other keyword tools. You can also search multiple countries under a specific language, which could give you more insight into a keyword’s performance.
There are few other Phoenix updates worth highlighting, which I will discuss in a future blog post. These are:
• Canonical Alerts
• URL Removal Tool
• URL Normalization
All in all, I have to commend Bing on the usability of this tool. A lot of care was clearly taken to make sure that users do not get lost or confused while using the webmaster tool. With the simplicity, data and insights the update gives, I am definitely going to soar with the Phoenix.
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