An SMX sneak-peek at the new Bing Webmaster Tools

The wait is over (almost!). After gathering much appreciated feedback from our valued customers over the past year, the Bing Webmaster team held a session today at SMX Advanced Conference in Seattle where we showed a preview of the next version of Bing Webmaster Tools, our no-cost toolset for webmasters and search engine optimizers (SEOs). Bing Webmaster Tools were rebuilt from the ground up to offer more data, including a new user interface and enhanced charting functionality.

If you weren’t at SMX Advanced today, no worries. You’ll get your own opportunity to see the new tools in action yourself in the very near future.

What has changed?

Actually, a better question is “what didn’t change?” In short, we wiped the slate clean and started over. We prioritized key features webmasters wanted most. You spoke, and we listened.

Silverlight enhanced

The new Bing Webmaster Tools remain web-based, and basic functionality is available through most web browsers. But to achieve the full potential of the new Bing Webmaster Tools user experience, you’ll want to install Microsoft Silverlight 4.0. Silverlight is a browser plug-in (approximately 5 MB in size, installs in less than 10 seconds) that helps organizations design, develop, and deliver rich applications and experiences on the Web. Silverlight works across multiple browsers, platforms, and devices, including the Mac OS, Windows, and Linux.

Silverlight enabled our development team to provide a smooth, visual experience, enabling webmasters to better analyze important trends through connected visual data about their websites.

Tool features

The Bing Webmaster team chose to focus on three key areas of interest to webmasters: Crawl, Index, and Traffic. Each area will offer detailed data going back as far as six months with dynamic charting capabilities, enabling webmasters to focus on the timeline trends that are most meaningful to them.

A key, new feature to Bing Webmaster Tools is Index Explorer, a tree-view that enables webmasters to see at a glance all of the crawling and index data for their website. Each level in the tree view offers webmasters access to specific data management controls, such as URL blocking, cache blocking, and recrawl requests.

Bing Webmaster Tools has added a feature to Submit URLs that allows webmasters to send Bing a list of URLs that should be prioritized. URLs submitted through this tool will be recrawled or crawled and added to the index if not already included (as long as they are not employing malware or web spam techniques).

The Bing Webmaster Tools not only give webmasters control of what content to add to the Bing index, but the new Block URLs tool gives webmasters control over what content to block from the SERPs. Webmasters can choose to block cache links, block URLs to individual pages or whole containers of pages, or to even block their entire website from appearing in SERPs. The tool records a history of submitted blocks, and webmasters can easily reverse a block at any time.

Today’s demo

Eric and Sasi gave a live demo today of Index Explorer, showing not only how webmasters will be able to use the tool’s tree view control to see detailed data about their websites as gathered by the Bing crawler, but how they can also control the index data through blocks and recrawl requests.

For those of you couldn’t join us in person for the preview, keep your eye on the Webmaster Center blog. There will be more information coming soon on the new Bing Webmaster Tools, including the official release announcement and details about using the tools to learn more about your website from the Bing search engine perspective.

More to come

We are really excited to finally be able to talk about this project! But ultimately, it’s not about us. The new Bing Webmaster Tools are about you: helping you be more successful in search with more transparent tools that offer simplified, visual control; offering you more data over a longer period of time (six months!) to allow you to make better decisions; and providing a more intuitive and powerful user interface to help you get the most from the tools. And this is only the first step. Bing is committed to enhancing the tools on a regular basis to respond to webmaster needs. We will publish regular Webmaster Center blog posts to alert you to new releases and features, and answer your questions about the tools in the Webmaster Center forums. We look forward to having you join us — it’s going to be fun!

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to post them in our Webmaster Tools & Feature Requests forum. Later…

– Rick DeJarnette, Bing Webmaster Center

Join the conversation

20 comments
  1. Quality Directory

    I can't wait to see this new Webmaster Tools!

  2. pieseczek

    do we get some images of the new webmastertools?

  3. JohnCz

    Thanks…I'm also really looking forward to the tools update.

  4. G3CreativeScotland

    Do the tools work with the mac platform ?

  5. pieseczek

    Yes they should work.  

  6. JustinFreid

    Cool- maybe this will light a fire under Google to update theirs.

  7. dan.browne

    I'm really looking forward to seeing these in action! When's the release?

  8. sean.carlos

    Excellent news that you're revisiting webmaster tools – and I would love to see you out Google Google on this front – a tall challenge.

    Yet Microsoft's commitment to a cross-platform Silverlight is missing – Silverlight sites consistently break on Linux and Bing's webmaster tools, using version 4.0, will be no exception.  If the goal is to be a perpetual number 2, this seems to be the right approach.  Harsh words, I know, but it gets tiring to see Silverlight breaking websites left and right.

  9. ryannel

    Fantastic News! When will there be a beta preview available?

  10. Mark Vozzo

    Rick, this is fantastic news! I can't wait to get my sites verified and start using Bing Webmaster tools. I have been a long time user of Google Webmaster Tools so I'm looking forward to see how Bing's toolset stacks up. It's good to see some competition happening, especially in Australia where Google has close to 90% query share. Go Microsoft!  

    Regards,

    Mark Vozzo – Sydney Australia

  11. fabianlaurie

    i am very excited cant wait

  12. sampatrik1

    Its nice that Bing webmaster tool is coming with advanced form to provide more help to users

  13. ianmacfarlane

    A revamped Bing Toolbox is great news. The Silverlight requirement is clearly not, however. Silverlight is not well supported on Linux and won't work at all on newer devices like the iPhone/iPad and Android. There really is no excuse for using Silverlight instead of HTML5.

    You say this is for your users – tell you what, take a poll of your users and ask them if they'd rather have it in Silverlight or HTML5. Hint: The answer won't be the one you want (sorry).

  14. tsalvador

    I can't seem to get the Bing Webmaster code verified, am using a mac, and got two items not working regarding a compression setting. I haven;t a clue what that means? Why make it so difficult for blog owners to verify their sites.

  15. paulantz22

    Keen to see this as well. The more information we see from a webmaster pov the better.

  16. ajwatt92

    When are the new tools likely to be available?

  17. Quality Directory

    The launch of this new Webmaster Tools seems not in sight. No news again.

  18. tommyfun

    the new silverlilght interface does not work on my ppc mac in safari, awesome.

  19. jonnyWeb

    Come on bing, the webmaster tools are worthless if you can't or don't want to run silverlight. Please give us another option.

  20. sohel

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