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Bing Webmaster Tools

Well, I did it: I broke down and joined up with Bing Webmaster Tools. No, it wasn't because searches from Bing have become important to this site - they definitely have not. In fact, they represent such a tiny percentage that I would barely even miss them:

Search Engine Visits February 2011
Google 205,659
Bing 3,963
Yahoo 2,930
Ask 356

However, Bings search market share is apparently growing: "Compete Says Bing's Combined U.S. Market Share Rose To 29% Last November", for example. It's obvious to me that few of them are techie types, but some surely are, so I have to swallow hard and play along, right?

Yeah, and you really do have to "play along". The first thing they make you do is sign up for a Windows LiveID. They've made that a bit more palatable than it used to be: at least I can now use my ordinary email address. But they don't stop there: your next need is Microsoft Silverlight.

That was almost enough to make me quit right there. It makes me angry, first of all that Microsoft programmers are too lazy or ignorant not to need this and secondly because it galls me to be counted as a "Silverlight" user.

Yes, Microsoft, I'm now a "Silverlight" user. Under protest and only because you leave me no choice..

I suppose I should be grateful that Silverlight even exists for Mac browsers. I don't know what you'd do if you ran Linux - will Moonlight work for Bing Webmaster Tools? I do not know.

Weak, weak, weak

Bing doesn't begin to tell you the sorts of things Google does. It's very limited.

They haven't crawled or indexed much of this site either. That migh be from lack of interest (those non-techy users again) or it might be that I hadn't given them a sitemap. Where's the link to do that in Bing Webmaster Tools? I don't know - I couldn't find it.

However, in Googling (ayup, NOT Binging!) around, I found that you can do it through a web load:

http://www.bing.com/webmaster/ping.aspx?sitemap=yoursite.com/sitemap.gz

(yes, they can use the same XML format as Google). I did that and got a "Thanks for submitting" response. However, Google Webmaster Tools shows me when it last read my sitemap (usually yesterday) and will tell me if I messed up anything in it (which I certainly have done now and then). Bing tells me nothing, so how would I ever know they are fetching it?

Well, by looking in my logs, of course. I had updated Yahoo today to use that sitemap file instead of the urllist they used to want; I see them fetching it:

72.30.142.253 - - [28/Feb/2011:11:36:31 -0500]
"GET /sitemap.gz HTTP/1.0" 200 70251 "-"
"Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Yahoo! Slurp;
http://help.yahoo.com/help/us/ysearch/slurp)"
 

But, so far at least, nothing from Microsoft. Maybe they are just slow.. after all, they DO run their stuff under Windows, don't they?

By the waay, another reason for this is that Yahoo Site Explorer is (sadly) going away:


The Yahoo! Site Explorer team is planning tighter integration between Site Explorer and Bing Webmaster Center to make the transition as smooth as possible for webmasters. At this stage in the transition, it is important for webmasters to continue using Yahoo! Site Explorer to inform us about your website and its structure so you keep getting high quality traffic from searches originating on Yahoo! and our partner sites - even from markets outside the US and Canada that haven't yet transitioned to Microsoft systems. To keep things simple, we will share site information you provide on Site Explorer with Microsoft during this transition period.

When Microsoft fully powers the Yahoo! Search back-end globally, expected in 2012, it will be important for webmasters to use Bing Webmaster Center as well. The Bing tool will manage site, webpage and feed submissions. Yahoo! Site Explorer will shift to focus on new features for webmasters that provide richer analysis of the organic search traffic you get from the Yahoo! network and our partner sites.

Too bad, because it is a lot better than what Bing has now.



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