On Bing’s updated webmaster tools

It is always important for consultants to keep a close eye on what Bing is up to. It might be way behind Google in terms of international dominance, but a large number of people use it on a regular basis. A proportion of a target audience can often be found there. Unlike Yahoo, Bing’s performance has been steady over the last couple of years. Therefore when it updated its SEO tools it was very much worth paying attention.

The best SEO tools might not have a dramatic impact on user experience straightaway. However, efficient tools make it much easier to optimise sites than would otherwise be the case. The data they can highlight can be very useful. In addition, new tools can help the image of a search engine.

Are users likely to change search engines?

Search engines need a positive image. Users can use alternative search engines if they read a lot of negative stuff about their favourite search engine. The competition between the search engines is quite intense. If users read favourable articles about a search engine they are likely to be encouraged to stick with it.

Google has attracted quite a lot of bad publicity in the first part of 2012. Some of the criticism Google receives is misplaced. It can be attacked for doing things that many other search engines also do. This comes with being such a successful search engine. However, some negative comments about its behaviour may be valid and whether valid or not they can spoil its image.

It is in this context that Bing’s improvements to its webmaster tools are best looked at. Some experts were generally happy with the innovations, but it may be that some of them were rooting for them to be good in the first place. Consultants often complain about Google changes and some would be happier if its dominance was less impressive.

Improvements to Bing

It is hard to discuss the precise improvements Bing has introduced without using too much jargon, but some simple points can be made. The dashboard has been given a makeover which will be handy when you want a quick look at how you are doing. Other tools needed a bit more effort to become accustomed to and one expert confessed to being a little confused with one of them.

Any confusion is the last thing a search engine wants when introducing new tools. Duane Forrester from Bing has been active in demonstrating the fresh tools to minimise the chances of people finding them awkward to use. He has made it apparent that a lot of thought had been put into the way people will feel when they are using them.

When it comes to tools, the key thing to remember is that initial verdicts may be misleading. It is good for Bing that early reception of the change has been positive, but the test will be whether or not they are efficient and pleasing in action. There will be a time lag of a couple of months before it becomes clear if most people are happy with them. Bing will o nly want to make further changes at a time of its own choosing.

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