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Some SEO experts are recommending that we seriously consider using both Google and Bing Webmaster Tools to gain valuable insight into the factors that are contributing to our SEO success (or failure.) Both sets of tools include diagnostics such as indexing and crawling. Recently, (November 2013), Bing introduced “Connected Pages” to help you glean valuable information from your social media pages as well. (Will this be something that Google will follow suit with?)

Webmaster Tools

For those of you not familiar with webmaster tools, they’re free tools that help: improve the visibility of your website in the search results, diagnose problems, analyze data about internal and external links and much more. To learn more about using Google Webmaster Tools, visit the Google Help Center and to learn more about Bing Webmaster Tools, visit the Bing Webmaster Getting Started Checklist page.

XML Sitemaps

For starters, one of the first things that you need to do (to get the most out of these tools) is make sure that you have a search engine sitemap on your website. A search engine sitemap (in XML format) is a file that contains a list of the URLs of the website pages that you would like indexed by the search engines. Actually, it contains more than that. It also contains important metadata (an additional information layer) with information such as when the page was last modified, how frequently it changes and how it ranks in importance relative to other URLs.

If you’re using WordPress, you can install an XML sitemap plugin, or if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you can create a sitemap file manually and FTP (file transfer protocol) it to the public folder of your website. (I use XMLSitemaps.com to generate the sitemap and Filezilla client for my FTP program.)

SEO Analyzer

From what I’m reading, Bing is really differentiating their tools from Google’s through their new SEO reports and analysis features. For example, Bing’s tools will let you know if you’re missing meta descriptions and alternate tags on your images. (For those of you who aren’t quite sure what those are or why you need them, check out my post 4 SEO Tips to Optimize your WordPress Blog.)

Resources to Learn More

For those of you looking for more information (including screenshots), check out Google Webmaster Tools vs. Bing – Which is More Informative? by Kristi Hines. If you’re interested in a comparison of the two tools (along with some detailed insight) check out “Bing vs Google; Webmaster Tools Comparison” on Website Magazine’s website. I found both articles to be very interesting.

Now, over to you: Are you using Google webmaster tools? Bing’s? Both? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Note: This article was originally published on July 17th 2012 and was updated on December 4th, 2013. Interestingly enough, when I wrote this article, Bing was introducing their “disavow” tool. As we all know, Google has since followed suit. Now that Bing has introduced a way for us to connect our social media pages, will Google follow suit again?

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Published by Sherryl Perry

Welcome! If you're looking for help building an Internet presence that fits your needs and works for you, you're in the right place. I blog common sense articles about WordPress, social media and SEO. My goal is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs understand their core business. Together, we can develop and implement business strategies that make sense to you.

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134 Comments

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  1. Hi Sherryl,

    I use Google Webmaster tools, but not to much. At this point the only thing that interests me is to narrow the niche for my blog. However, I have just created a Bing Webmaster tools account. Actually, I don’t remember why I did this but I did it. Now I am waiting for the data to come.

    I am absolutely sure you must use both. I think I will be able to do interesting comparisons by using both.

    What is even more important is that I need to learn how to use Bing to find keywords. I hope I will succeed this year. 🙂

    Have a wonderful day

    1. Hi Silviu,
      I use both Google and Bing Webmaster tools but I don’t look at either one often. I usually re-submit a new xml sitemap once a month and I “fetch” my site with the different options but that’s mainly it.

      Now that Bing has provided us with the ability to connect pages from our social media sites, I’ll look at that too but I probably won’t frequent Bing more often.

      In the past, I have been notified that Google was unable to crawl my site. (If I hadn’t received that notification, I would not have been aware of the problem.) So, there is definitely value in having our sites verified and these tools set up.

      As always, thanks so much for taking the time to drop by.

  2. I use both right now but don’t quite get all the information I’d like from them. Google used to be very useful at telling you through what keywords people find your site, but not so much anymore. It also seems to not get accurate traffic stats (it tells me I’ve got zero unique visitors in the last month and a half).

    I like Bing better. I am not sure why it worries so much about the fact I have 2 h1 tags on each page (blog title and post title) when from what I’ve read this shouldn’t be a problem.

    To me the big question is, is there another analysis tool other than Bing’s and Google’s, that provides you with accurate traffic and keyword information?

    1. Pau,
      I wonder why Google is providing inaccurate traffic results for you. I haven’t heard of that happening before.

      I haven’t personally used Clicky before but I know some people love it. I believe that there are a few readers here who use it. I’ve also heard good things about Woopra.

      1. It’s really strange with Google. It tells me zero visitors yet I get comments plus my click count through my link goes up. Really strange.

        Thank you so much for the suggestions!! I have looked into Clicky and seems really good – I think I will give it a try.

  3. Sherry, I use both, however I am new to Bing. I initially got more traffic from Bing. I put more relevance towards Google because that is where most visitors search with.

    It is a good tool on Bing, but I do not know how to use it. In the future I am going to look into the relevance.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to let us know that you have worked with Bing and that you were initially receiving more traffic from it. I don’t expect to receive as much traffic from Bing as Google but it is a nice additional resource. it will be interesting to see what info I can garner from it regarding my social site.s

  4. I will admit I am not as well verse as I should be on these tools. You have pointed out some things I should look into. My goal for next year is to make some necessary improvements on my blog and a new website in 2014. The information that these tools could provide some valuable insight.

    1. You’re planning a new website for 2014? That’s great Susan.

      I’m glad that you found my article interesting. I think a lot of people aren’t aware of Bing Webmaster tools and some may not be aware of Google’s either. They’re very helpful tools. As always, thanks so much for dropping by.

  5. Are there any drawbacks of using both at the same time? For example, I’m using Google, but have also now signed up for Bing, so will my Google one be effected? I’m pretty new to all this, so it would help m out loads! Nick

  6. I’ve used both, still do, but I have serious issues with Bing’s webmaster tools. Mostly with sitemaps. At LEAST once a month I will get messages stating that they “have an issue” with a sitemap from one of my websites (standard XML sitemaps in accordance with schema.org’s guidelines). Google webmaster tools do not ever have a problem with the sitemaps. I get messages from Bing that I need to submit a sitemap, I go to the console, submit the SAME one that has always been there, and it accepts it fine and crawls it. It’s very irritating.

    Of course Microsoft is absolutely zero help in their forums.

  7. I personally use both as I think it gives me the best chances to rank in both search engines. Bing is really getting much better for webmasters to use and take seriously now though!