Bing has announced on the Bing blog (and it’s corroborated on the Yahoo! Search blog yesterday) today that the testing with Yahoo! implementing Bing search results is underway. Of greater importance to webmasters and SEO experts, Bing is warning/encouraging webmasters to investigate how their site is showing up in search results using the newly updated Bing Webmaster Tools, also announced today.
During this testing phase, it’s important to look at how your site is showing up in search results on Yahoo! and Bing today, so you can assess if there are any tweaks you need to make or feedback you need to share with the team to make sure your site is accurately represented in Bing’s results.
In particular, now is a good time for you to review your crawl policies in your robots.txt and ensure that you have identical polices for the msnbot/Bingbot and Yahoo’s bots.
With a Windows Live account in hand, you can access the updated Bing Webmaster Tools and check your traffic, crawling, and keyword performance. The new tools take advantage of and requires Microsoft Silverlight 4 for charting and graphs before you can get in. You’ll be prompted to install Silverlight if you don’t have it and you’ll have to restart your browser if you install Silverlight.
Once you’ve met the prerequisites, you’ll be able to get in and see the Dashboard. This gives you a quick summary of Pages Crawled, Pages Index, Pages with crawl errors, and impressions and click-throughs from the search results.
You can then zoom in on each of these areas by using the tabs at the top. Under the Crawl tab, you can submit your Sitemaps and Crawl details. This can reveal any HTTP return codes 400-599, 301 or 302 redirects, malware detections, and files excluded by a robots.txt on your server.
Despite the update, I still find Google’s Webmaster Tools more useful. With the Google XML Sitemaps plugin for WordPress, my sitemap is automatically submitted to Google, Bing, Ask.com, and Yahoo! so I’m not too concerned about trying to drive more traffic to my site using Bing. However, it’s good to verify that Bing was not having any problems crawling 404 Tech Support.