Get more useful metrics out of your Site Dashboard in Webmaster Tools

Yesterday we released a change to the way we calculate % Change in the Site Activity widget in the Bing Webmaster Tools Dashboard section.

For the metrics Clicks from search, Appeared in search, Pages crawled, and Crawl errors we will now show you the percent change for the selected date range (as selected in the date selector near the top of the dashboard) compared to the prior date range of the same length.  So when you log into your Bing Webmaster Tools account and are looking at changes for say a 30-day period in your Dashboard (which is the default setting), the percentage in the Site Activity widget will reflect your relative increase or decrease compared to the prior 30-day period.

The Site Activity widget in your site dashboard

As shown in the screenshot above, we are now also showing you the absolute numbers for these metrics for both the current and the prior period. For Pages indexed we will show you the % change between the last day of the selected period and the last day of the prior period. Before the update we were showing you the change from the beginning of the period to the end of the period, which was, well, simply not all that useful to see how you were faring for these site activity metrics.

How far back can I see the new change information?

It’s worth noting that since we store up to 6 months’ worth of data in Bing Webmaster Tools, we are — as a consequence — able to show % change information for periods up to three months counting back from the last available date. For shorter date ranges we can show change information as long as they and their prior period fall within those 6 months of data we store. In other words, you are not limited to just seeing change information for say, just the last 30 days. Note however, that we only provide data for your site from the day that your site was registered with Bing Webmaster Tools (one more reason to sign up now if you haven’t done so already), so if you’ve only recently registered your website, try selecting a shorter date range to see change information.

Keep an eye on the longer term trends

I invite you to take a look at your own Site Dashboard and see how your metrics have been changing for the last 7 days, 30 days, and 3 months (or a custom date range that you can select yourself). Keep looking especially at those longer term trends to validate your search strategy and I urge you not to fret too much about day-to-day fluctuations. As I matter of fact, I personally really love looking at 6 months’ worth of data in the Reports & Data Graph and see if and how the various metrics correlate over the long term (click to enlarge):

Reports and data: site activity over a 6-month period

In addition to the Site Activity widget, the changes described here also apply to the change information shown on your My Sites page.

How do you like to look at your data? Do you have charts or metrics that you prefer most? Leave me a note in the comments!