SEO tools from Google and Bing
Knowing how search engine crawlers interact with your site is crucial for organic rankings. Crawler activity reveals discovered web pages, links to follow, code accessed, and more.
Many trading tools mimic the behavior of search robots. But none beat data coming directly from the search engines themselves: Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
Both tools are essential for search engine optimization. They are free and easily connect to your site.
Google Search Console
Search Console has many useful reports for both beginners and experienced SEOs. The tool augments basic search information with details of how Google’s bot interacted with the site.
To get started, verify your site with Search Console by connecting it to the Google Analytics account or using a plugin.
Search Console discloses the pages indexed by Google and provides helpful tips for improving other metrics, such as click-through rates, page speed, and more. The platform also displays the keywords that users search for to find your site.
I listed six critical Search Console reports last month. But there are other useful sections including.
- The “Enhancements” tab deals with your rich snippets and whether Google has used them. The section only displays snippets for which you have quality. For example, you won’t see “Product” in this section unless you’ve applied “product” markup to your site (using Schema.org or similar).
- “Deletions” allow site owners to request removal of any URL from Google’s index.
- “International targeting” (Legacy tools and reports > International targeting) allows site owners to specify a country in which to rank.
- “Address change” (Settings > Change of address) notifies Google of upcoming domain name changes to help mitigate the impact.
Bing Webmaster Tools
Bing Webmaster Tools provides useful (and free) SEO tools. Bing provides an easy way to import your data from Google Search Console into a Webmaster Tools account. Verification is almost instantaneous. In my experience, completing all reports can take up to 48 hours.
Webmaster tools look similar to Search Console. Site performance reports include search queries and clicks. Other reports display crawl errors and inspection results for any URL to ensure that search engines can access and index it.
For indexed URLs, Bing offers an improvement report with optimization tips and missing items.
“Site Explorer”, another useful feature, provides an overview of your site’s structure and a detailed examination of each section or URL. It’s basically a free crawler to see how a search bot might interpret your site and its hierarchy. Site Explorer shows crawl errors, page size and header response, and errors on Robots.txt that prevent crawls.
The Webmaster Tools “Keyword Research” report can uncover new keyword opportunities and new competitors. Click on any word or phrase in the list to see:
- Related Keywords,
- “Question Keywords” those in question form to include in your copy,
- Recently discovered and trending keywords.
Unlike Search Console, Webmaster Tools does not assess the security of your site. But it does reveal the status of a site’s copyright infringement claims, in which a verified owner has filed a copyright infringement notice with Bing against another site. This is an example of the complementarity of the two tools.
Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools can help site owners improve organic traffic. Both provide information on their own search engine. Still, each offers a different angle, making it a good idea to use them simultaneously.