For search engine optimization (SEO) specialists and other Web professionals, a search engine is only as good as its analytics. Using this measure of worth, Bing’s new Phoenix update to its Webmaster Tools is pure gold.
The Bing Team has upgraded its Web analytics platform with nine new tools and many more updated ones that are seated in a new user dashboard, which will give Bingers a much more dynamic experience and the ability to better track website performance.
Designers note that the new dashboard should make it easier for users to customize data presentation and organize relevant statistics according to specific needs across many different websites. A one-stop data graph with the ability to see everything at once while still viewing specific information via pop-up panels is expected to make things much more streamlined.
SEO experts will be happy to note some changes that are seemingly designed just for them. Instead of hiding the ball or making techs work for it, Bing has decided to present data prepackaged with the SEO Reports and SEO Analyzer tools. The Reports tool provides automatic SEO reports every other week on websites based on best practices, while the Analyzer can be used for an instant report. This makes it much easier than using individual data points to paint an accurate picture.
Many tech observers are even more impressed with the Link Explorer tool, which is a partial replacement for Yahoo Site Explorer. The feature allows users to uncover which sites are linking to their websites as well as determine what anchor text is used. It can filter by domain, anchor text and text on the linking page, which can help users better understand what others find so attractive about their pages.
This is significant because no other search engine tool aside from Yahoo Site Explorer provided data on which external domains linked to users’ websites, and the Site Explorer was shut down in November 2011. Now the utility has been restored, so between that and the other upgrades the Phoenix update may boost Bing’s Webmaster Tools into pole position in its race with Google’s Webmaster Central.
There’s little doubt that Bing’s Phoenix update has raised a few warning flags at Google, whose Google Analytics has ruled the roost in the arena of search engine analytics tools. It’s hard to measure how much the improved analytics will increase patronage for Bing, but it’s certainly not going to hurt anything.