Reviewing Link Explorer and Fetch as Bingbot

With our release on June 6th, our Webmaster tools took a big step forward in usability and features.  This week let’s take a deeper look at a couple more of the newest features we added.

Link Explorer

The ability to explore link information for any domain is back! Dive deep with this beta tool which allows you to explore links associated with any domain. Simply enter a URL and the tool will supply a list of known links pointing to the specified destination. The default setting will be to display external links pointed at the specified URL, though this can be switched to show internal links as well.

Users can also change the scope to show links pointed to either a domain, as shown below, or an individual URL. Other refinements can help you search by anchor text and by keywords found on a page pointing to you.

Link Explorer, through the filters and options provided can help you uncover a wealth of information.  You can search for links to any website.  You can search for links with specific anchor text.  You can search for pages linking to your target that have select words that appear on the page by entering the desired word or phrase into the Additional Query box.

Choose between viewing links pointed at either a domain or a URL using the drop down box labeled as ScopeDomain shows you links pointed to the entire website.  URL shows you only links pointed at the URL you entered.

Filter by site allows you to narrow your search.  An example would be to request the links pointed at Site A, which come from Site B.  Links from any site other than Site B would be ignored in this example and not shown.

And while Link Explorer is capable of showing you a view of your own site’s links, the Inbound Links report makes managing that information easier.

Fetch as Bingbot

This tool is very handy for troubleshooting.  On the surface it’s a great tool for determining if a page on your site can be crawled.  You simply enter in the URL from your site and click Fetch.  This tool runs in real time, so it’s normal that it takes a few seconds to run your request.
Just below the URL entry form, the URL you requested will be displayed.  When Bingbot is finished with your request, the message shown for the URL will update to say Completed.  To see what Bingbot found at your URL, simply click on Completed, and scroll down the page to view the code found.

Viewing your code in this manner ensures you know exactly what Bingbot is seeing when it crawls the URL.  This is especially useful in helping find areas where your site may have been compromised.  By scanning through the code, you could note things like links injected into blog posts or any other manner of additive items you did not place on your website.

Fetch as Bingbot is also a reliable way to test if a URL is being blocked by your robots.txt file.  It’s polite, so sending it to a URL blocked via robots.txt will get you a notice explaining that barrier is in place.

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