Posted by randfish
In this week's Whiteboard Friday, Bing's very own Duane Forrester will be joining us in the Moz studio to personally walk us through the newly released Bing Webmaster Tools.
Let us know how you feel about these Webmaster Tools in the comments below. Duane will be keeping an eye on them as well so let him know what you think.
Happy Friday Everyone!
Rand: Howdy, SEOmoz fans. Welcome to an extremely exciting edition of Whiteboard Friday. It’s SMX here in Seattle, and that means I’ve got Duane Forrester of Bing Webmaster Tools here with me.
Duane: Hey guys.
Rand: Duane, it is possible that you have taken some flak in the past for Bing’s Webmaster Tools being of middling quality. But today, today you’ve got to be feeling great.
Duane: It’s a whole new world.
Rand: It’s amazing. In fact, we’re going to do something we’ve never done before on Whiteboard Friday, which is Duane and I are actually going to use Kenny’s beautiful, not a Mac, it’s a PC laptop. We’re going to use this machine, and since Kenny’s recording this, we’re going to able to show you, the video’s going to go back and forth between Duane and I talking through a bunch of the stuff that’s in the tools. Going to be using my account which has SEOmoz and my personal site. We’re going to be exploring some new links with their Link Explorer, replacing Yahoo! Site Explorer.
Rand: We’re going to be looking at some of the SEO reports and click- through data. This thing is sexy.
Duane: Yeah, we’re going to find some stuff that might be wrong with your sites maybe. I don’t know.
Rand: Let’s do it.
Duane: Surprised the heck out of me this morning with my sites.
Rand: Here we are, we’re on the My Sites page. This is the first page I get to when I login.
Duane: Absolutely. There’s a requirement for this. In order to see the My Sites page, you have to have more than one site registered and verified. If you only have one, you go immediately to the dashboard. No sense adding the extra click in there.
Rand: Much appreciated. Very smart. I’m going to go, just dive into SEOmoz to start us off.
Duane: Absolutely. One thing I will point out here too guys, as you guys are seeing this recording, there will be thumbnails that are showing up. As the system continues to populate today, because we literally turned it on this morning at 8:00 a.m, as it all starts to populate in there, you’ll see thumbnails for your websites starting to show up in there too.
Visually you’ll know what’s going on. You’ll know immediately, “Oh yeah, I’m still on that website. This is what I’m working with.” Makes for a really nice experience too. You feel like a nice warm cup of tea with honey. It just feels good.
Rand: I’m getting some cool data here already, because I can see the amount of clicks I got from Bing search, how many times I appeared in search, my pages crawled, my crawl errors, my pages indexed.
Duane: And all customizable through the calendar dropdown, so you can set your own date ranges, put six months’ worth of data in there for you, so lots of chances to look back. All of those folks who haven’t run the reports this week, you don’t need to panic about it. Didn’t run it this month, don’t need to panic about it. You can go back and fetch the data. It’s all in there for you.
Of course, we have the trend lines in here as well. What these spark lines are telling you is what the trend looks like for that data set. In this case, we’re looking at clicks from search. It’s a very thick line that comes across, up and down. We see that variance over I think it’s three months here.
Rand: Looks like weeks and weekends.
Duane: Right, exactly. That’s what you’re seeing is you’re seeing the weeks and weekends at play. Next one is pages indexed here. You’re seeing a nice, steady increase with a spike at one point that I think you had mentioned. You got some really mainstream exposure.
Rand: Yeah, and that wouldn’t surprise me if this is actually when we got funding.
Duane: Exactly. We would have picked up on those signals and come in and just grabbed everything from the site.
Rand: That’s super-slick. Let’s dive into some of these reports.
Duane: Absolutely. Yeah, this is some cool stuff. You want to hit Refresh on that.
Rand: Okay. This is my page traffic, and I love this. We were looking at this earlier, and I could see the pages that are getting traffic to the site. These are among the top three pages that are trafficked on the site, tools, beginners’ guide, home page, search ranking factors.
Clicks from search, how many times I appeared, my click-through rates, that’s going up and down.
Duane: Exactly. Your average position and the average position where you appeared in search. Obviously, we’re trying you, right? There are two different things here. One is where we’re trying you, and the other is where you got the click. Those could be different numbers.
Again, if you drill into this, you click on the view area there, you’re actually going to see those keywords. If you drill down on the plus symbol, you will actually see the actual ranking position you’re in and the click rate data applicable against the keyword for that URL at that location, over the period of time you’re looking at. You want to talk about rich data to help you understand . . .
Rand: Just the depth of detail, really phenomenal.
Duane: Exactly, exactly. Can you tell that there were SEOs who actually worked on these tools?
Rand: That is damn cool. Tell me a little about Index Explorer.
Duane: You can think of Index Explorer like a filing cabinet. It’s our way of understanding and your way of understanding how we have you inside our index. Like a filing cabinet, we have folders aligned in there, and all your content is in those folders. If you want to drill down, you open a folder, you see what’s inside the folder. You open the next one, you see the page inside it. You click on the page, you see what we know about that page.
You can continue to get very deep in here. What’s really handy about this is, as you continue to drop down into more and more information, we actually have bread crumb navigation that populates across the page. So you don’t have to go all the way back to the beginning to start again. You can say, “I only want to go back to that second level folder and then review all of that information again.”
Rand: Very, very cool. I can filter based on all these menu pages?
Duane: Yeah, there’s a bunch of filters you can look at. Exactly. So maybe you only want to see the 404 errors that are showing up. We’ll actually show you that. On those pages, a little snippet that you’ll see there will actually show you the number of links that are pointed at those URLs that we’re aware of.
Rand: Where do I see that?
Duane: This is a great tool. You can find this elsewhere. Continue to drill down . . .
Rand: Oh, inbound link count, I see.
Duane: Yeah, inbound link count, 153,000.
Rand: Then if I go to . . .
Duane: Filter in and then continue to filter in. You want to click on one of these elements.
Rand: Sure. Let’s go to category four. That’s our link building category.
Duane: Lovely. I thought you guys were losing your minds because it was all numbers. Over on the right-hand side now, you see all this and we’re saying, “Okay. It’s a 200 OK code page. This is your document size. This is pretty good for this size.”
I can tell you right now that as we get into this, we’re going to show you an SEO analysis tool, and the rule in there triggers at about 125KB. Pretty big page. Obviously, this is fine, and the inbound link count is 30.
Now if you filtered for 404 pages and you had inbound link count on here, suddenly you know what to go reclaim. Then you can go back into inbound links, you can filter again in there, and then say, “Okay, these are the actual URLs. Links are pointed at these. I need to reclaim this stuff.” Very handy.
Rand: Very, very, very cool. Let’s dive into some of our keywords that are sending us traffic. You guys are reporting this in . . . where’s not provided, Duane?
Duane: We don’t provide not provided. Not provided is not provided. I’m sorry. You’ll need to look elsewhere for that.
Rand: Are you telling me you’re providing all my keywords?
Duane: They’re your keywords.
A couple of things to note on this page that are really standardized. First off, the data we’re showing you here is organic. Always keep that in mind. If you hover over one of the currency symbols, what we’re going to do is show you the cost of that keyword in adCenter.
Duane: You’re doing your look at this and you’re saying, “Okay. I know that’s a high value page on my website. I know I’m getting traffic from it. Maybe there’s some stuff I could do to optimize it.”
Rand: I need to have a free $50 coupon.
Duane: If you want it. We’re happy to fund you guys too. There you go, $50. Waiting for it.
Rand: Help cover my soda.
Duane: Exactly. Then you can look at the data and say, “All right. You know what? It’s worth me bidding on these phrases. I like the phrase. I think it gives good traffic. It’s a high value area for me. I should go bid on these phrases.”
Rand: Then this will send me over to adCenter?
Duane: Exactly. Now what we’re hoping for at this stage is, at some point in the future, we want to do a federated login. There’s a lot of big blocks to move on that, but it just makes sense that we work toward it so when you click on it, it takes you into your account. Much better experience for the user, obviously better for everyone.
Rand: I can’t imagine your conversion rates will suffer if you do that.
Duane: No, exactly. Exactly. Again, if you click on View on this, what’s going to happen is against that keyword, you’re going to see which URLs are actually ranking. Then when you click to expand, it’s going to tell you the position, the clicks you got, the click-through rate, everything.
What’s pretty cool about this is, up until only a few years ago, none of the engines would talk to you about what click-through rates were on positions. Even now, it’s not something that’s paraded around a whole lot. It kind of doesn’t matter, because applicable to your website at any time, that data is raw.
Rand: Right. I was ranking in position three. I got 1.75%. Look at this, I was ranking in position 5 and got 1.95%.
Duane: Exactly. Exactly.
Duane: That’s the type of insight into the psychology of the searcher that the data gives you. It also helps you understand longstanding stuff in the SEO community. Do you really want to rank on the bottom of page one, or is the top of page two better?
Rand: It’s having a standout snippet and rich data and all that kind of stuff.
Rand: Can I ask you one question? With regards to this results position and click-through rate, when we talk about . . . let’s take a quick look. I think I’m signed into Bing. Let me sign into Facebook as well.
Duane: Oh, please do. Absolutely.
Rand: Let’s connect to my Facebook account here.
Duane: Close your eyes. I don’t want to see the password.
Rand: You can check it out. I’m sure it’ll be hilarious. That logs me in. All right, cool. Now I’m logged into Bing, logged into Facebook. Now if I start searching for stuff like, let’s go to “learn SEO.” I’m going to be seeing some annotated stuff here, these thumbs up from 30 of my friends who like SEOmoz. A bunch of my friends like SEObook.
Duane: Absolutely. Not really friends though are they?
Rand: They are. I’ve heard those Bing Webmaster Tools folks though, that might be some competition. I’ll have to talk to them. Don’t let him out of the building.
Tell me, when I see these kinds of things, am I going to be able to eventually get that data back here inside Webmaster Tools where you show me . . .
Duane: Yes. Annotations, the clicks, all of that kind of stuff.
Duane: Maybe. We’d love to have feedback from folks. If folks want that, that social integration . . . there are a couple of layers to this. Obviously, we can share what we have. Things that we don’t possess, much more difficult for us to access and then potentially share on.
If it’s showing up in our result, we can look at that and say, “You know what? That’s our data. We understand what’s going on with it.” If people want that, they think that’s valuable, knowing the annotations, knowing the number of times it’s appeared, knowing clicks that have happened on the annotations, all of these types of things, the number of times maybe they have trended from Twitter information that we’ve shown that’s popped in there, if that’s the type of stuff that you guys need to see in the future generations of the tool, we want to hear that feedback.
Rand: Oh, that’s one of my favorites.
Duane: I need that feedback because my job is to take that feedback and translate it through our team into the next generation of tools. I personally, as an SEO, my vote, I want it. So I’m one check box, but I’m one check box. So help me out.
Rand: I bet if we search for Bing Webmaster Tools, will we see some trending stuff?
Duane: We might be a little early.
Rand: Oh, because it just launched a couple hours ago?
Duane: Well you know what’s odd? The webmaster community tends to be about three weeks behind everything. We do these new things, we put them all out there, and then three weeks later suddenly we see everything ramp right up. Although maybe it is coming up under Phoenix.
Rand: Let’s see if people are whining about Penguin. Well, there’s tons of news. There you go.
Duane: The thing is we may actually be past the curve on trending for it. Trending is very now.
Rand: When we’re looking at these kinds of results, is that number one? Is Google, Penguin, Wikipedia, is that number one? Or is that number two, three?
Duane: That’s number one. Number one would be the Wikipedia. When the results stack up on the page, we have our organic stack.
Rand: That’s what the number is.
Duane: Exactly. Things that are annotated are added into the results on the page. Things like our advertising block at the top, an answer that may fire specific to something again would be at the top. Or in this case, big news or the video overlays or inlays.
Rand: Related searches.
Duane: Exactly. Those aren’t counted as your traditional search result on the SERP. Those are additive. When we’re talking positions in those search reports, we’re literally talking first organic, second organic through ten. It’s a true rank position. That’s what it is.
Rand: Awesome, awesome. Why don’t we spend some time . . . let’s go into SEO reports.
Duane: You’re going to go into that? Okay. I usually save that, because that’s like the money.
Rand: Inbound links is pretty money too.
Duane: Yeah, you’ve got a good point there. I’m on board with this.
Rand: This is a bunch of features of you saying, “Hey, I think these might be things you want to fix on your site.” Then you’ve got severity counts. Like image tags having an alt attribute, not a big problem. But title missing, big problem.
Duane: The way the SEO reports run, and there are two specific tools at work here. One is SEO Reports. The other is SEO Analyzer. SEO Reports runs every other week automatically on every domain that you have verified in your site. The reports are always there.
Rand: That’s what I’m looking at right now?
Duane: That’s what we’re looking at right now. They’re always there. They’re always in the background. They’re always available. Generally, they are current to generally within about three days. It takes us about a week or so to scan all the sites, and then we put it in. But depending on when you come in, you might get it the day it updates, you might get it the day after. That kind of thing.
Bottom line is they’re still pretty current, and they’re still pretty accurate. There’s no possibility of you coming in and saying, “Oh, no, I did that work and that was six months ago.”
I’ll share an embarrassing example for you. This morning when we rolled everything live, the first thing I did was go into one of my own websites. I said, “Oh, look, I’m missing a title on that page. How is that possible? I’m an SEO. Come, come now, dear.”
Rand: Yeah, we never make mistakes, right?
Duane: Right, totally. Unbeknownst to me seven years ago, when I hand coded the HTML, I put the title tag outside the head tag. Of course, it’s not applicable, and the tool is telling me this. I’m looking at it, pinging my engineer going, “Dude, what’s up? The rule’s not working properly.”
Then I get this email back, “. . . not sure how to say this. Your code is wonky.” When I went back and looked at it, sure enough, on me. Fantastic stuff.
Rand: Let’s go dive in. Supposedly I have a bunch of multiple titles. We looked at our titles missing and that was CSVs and PowerPoint files.
Duane: On that point, you’ll notice different file types. You’ll notice some things like XML, CSVs, PPTX, those kinds of things. We’re actually going to add some logic that will filter those out, because we know that you’re not going to have a title on a PowerPoint page. It’s just not realistic. We’ll be filtering those things out. The tools are beta, but we are serious about investing in these things. We’ll keep at that.
Rand: This is a post from Joanna from a few months ago, maybe last year. I’m going to click on this.
Duane: This is the other important part. When you go into the report, the report’s going to give you the details and tell you the aggregate accounts against that issue. When you click on the URL, it bumps you over to the SEO Analyzer that runs on demand in real time.
Now it’s gone onto this page and said, “Hey, here’s my page. Here are the problems.” It’s color coded to let you understand what is an actual red flag issue, what is a little less important, and then what you can wait on.
On top of that, we will actually overlay on the screen where the item is.
Rand: This is beautiful.
Duane: You click on the little button, and then it expands to tell you that. If you hit the expand option inside that area, it will actually tell you what the code looks like that has the problem and what the meaning of the problem is. Really deep information.
Now hit the page source for me, Rand. What you’re going to see, as you scroll down through the page source, you’re going to see that the issue is actually highlighted for you, so you know exactly where it is.
Rand: There’s title number one. There’s my meta description.
Duane: This is pulling up everything. What you want to do is you actually want to click on, where’s the multiple title one?
Rand: “Page contains multiple titles.”
Duane: Yeah, that’s it. We know what that is. Now start scrolling down. What you’re going to see is we’ve got a title on here, and as we scroll down, there are our extra title tags in the middle.
Rand: How’d that happen?
Rand: SEOmoz didn’t even know that was there. Incredible.
Duane: We got your back.
Rand: Very, very cool. Tell me about these features like Fetch as Bing Bot and the Markup Validator.
Duane: I’ll start with Markup Validator. That’s a repeat performer. It’s a new look and feel but the same functionality as we previously had.
If you used one of the semantic languages to mark up your actual page and you put the URL in, we will show you the page code with that markup installed in it, if it’s installed correctly. If it’s not installed correctly, we’ll show you an error message.
Rand: Are you guys using video as a markup?
Duane: It’s not against what we’re using. It’s against what you’ve installed and the syntax for the language.
Rand: What’s a good thing to check?
Duane: I always go to IMDB and pull off a movie, because I know they’ve got them all marked up. It doesn’t really matter.
Rand: How about the Batman . . .
Duane: Batman, that works. I’m okay. I’m not judging.
Rand: Look, the Michael Keaton one from ’89.
Duane: I’m not judging. I’m observing. I may come up with a judgment later.
Rand: Isn’t he Canadian? You should love that guy.
Duane: I do like Michael Keaton. I don’t know if he’s Canadian. That’ll be interesting.
Rand: Maybe they’ll tell us when they validate this markup.
Duane: No. There is no OG code that tells you he’s Canadian or not.
Rand: It wouldn’t surprise me if that was a feature you put in there.
Duane: Trust me, the head of our PM team is English. He will not let me slip it in. We’re going to show you, as you can see here . . .
Rand: Schema.org . . .
Duane: Schema.org, OG, whatever language you’ve got in there, we’re going to show you. Obviously, they have it installed correctly, because we’re rendering this.
Now if it wasn’t installed correctly, you missed a character, your syntax is off, you used the wrong language, whatever, we’re actually going to show you an error message telling you, “Hey, you probably want to go check your syntax and just make sure that it’s all okay.”
That’s the Markup Validator. It’s making a return appearance. We want people to use it. The first step though is they’ve got to start adopting Schema.org or a rich meta language. They’ve really got to start doing that.
That is going to be a big part of the future, guys. Wrap your head around it. Don’t be afraid of entities. Get in there and help us understand it all. Very important.
Rand: At some point, you and I will probably have to do some Whiteboard Friday on entities in particular and what you think are good ones.
Duane: Absolutely. Definitely. So, Fetch as Bing Bot.
Rand: Fetch as Bing Bot.
Duane: Real time. Type something in, whatever you want us to go fetch. Bing Bot is like your favorite pet. You’re going to tell it, “Go fetch the paper at this URL.” It’s actually going to go and it’s going to bring back a page code in real time and show you what it is.
Rand: I’m not authorized to work with that site.
Duane: Of course you’re not. Come on now.
Rand: It’s Geraldine’s site. I don’t know why.
Duane: Pick a site that you own. Come on, jeez. I could slap him, but that would be abusive. There you go. That should work. Okay, there we go.
I’ll walk you through what this is going to do. It’s going to go out in real time, fetch the page, bring it back, and then show the code that we’re seeing. Super helpful for if somebody has maybe, I don’t know, cracked your site and is injecting something into it.
Last week we had this tool internally, and one of the guys was saying, “Okay, here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to go test this on one of our internal sites.” We knew the site had been hacked and people were injecting content on it.
Sure enough, code view comes up. We go look at it, and there’s the hack of all the Viagra and Propecia and all this stuff that was right at the top of the content stack. It didn’t show visually, but there it was in the code. That’s what Bing Bot is seeing.
Really useful tool to understand it. Now, while we’ve been talking, Rand has actually told it to go. It only takes a few seconds. Bing Bot gets on this code, takes his hat, walks out the door, goes find your spot, takes a look at it, comes back, has a cup of tea, and then prepares the report.
If you click on Completed now, what’s going to happen is lower on the page is going to expand to show you this actual data.
Rand: Oh, download not attempted due to politeness.
Duane: Oh, there we go. Now we’re okay. This is the code base for that page, and we’re actually just going to show you that. We do rely on you understanding if something is inaccurate or improper, right?
I was not shocked when I ran one of my own blogs that’s running a very old version of WordPress on it to find some stuff injected. Go figure. That matches perfectly with my update warnings that I have. So that’s on me. There you go.
Rand: And some spammer.
Duane: Yeah, exactly. I’d like to thank him for his role in all this.
What else do we have in here?
Rand: Keyword research, I want to save Link Explorer for the end, since that’s so cool. I love that this is in here now. How awesome is that?
Duane: Keyword research, a couple of really critical things. First, when we launched it, it was one query at a time. We actually got feedback on that, and people said, “You should open it up to more.” So we did. Now you can do multiple queries. You can just stack them in there, one per line, hit Go, and it will run everything in parallel.
Side by side, there you go, and it will give you your results on that. What’s really important about this data is this comes from organic search at Bing. This is not powered from the paid ecosystem at all. This data comes from organic search at Bing. It does not pull from adCenter.
Rand: Are you kidding me?
Duane: There is no other keyword research tool from any engine that actually gives you organic data like this. Really useful stuff. Again, we’ve got trend graphs on the side that are going to tell you . . .
Rand: Before I let you out, API?
Duane: API, yeah. If you go look at the API documentation, keyword research tool is not in there.
Duane: No, it actually is. We just haven’t updated the docs yet.
Rand: Oh my God, are you kidding?
Duane: No, I’m not kidding.
Rand: I would hug you again, but it would get awkward on the video.
Duane: It’s a little bit strange, yes. PR, PR. Keyword tool, the research information is available through the API.
Rand: Then these trend lines.
Duane: Yeah, the trend line is basically saying, you gave me a range. The range is default here for us. This is what it started at and this is what it’s at now, so it’s giving you an idea that the trend over that period of time . . . in this, for example, we’re looking at Batman, the trend for the period of time that we’re looking at is that fewer searches are happening. Less people are looking for it.
If you think about it, just from your own awareness of pop culture, there really hasn’t been a lot about Batman in the news.
Rand: Until the movies come out, the new one.
Duane: Exactly. Just before that you’ll start to see the upswing. Then you’ll see all the long tailed phrases that are related to it do their little dance too as the related demographics start to clue in on those things.
There are a couple of nice little features built into this. If you click on anything, it’s just going to retask the research tool to go and dive deep on that particular phrase. Then it will just run everything and bring up that data related to it.
Rand: Ah, so now I can see all the searches related to the new Batman 3 movie, “Dark Knight Rises.”‘
Duane: Exactly, and it pivots around that.
Rand: You’ve got some semantic understanding there.
Duane: We do understand, that’s the beauty of pulling from organic.
Rand: “Dark Knight Rises” is Batman 3.
Duane: Exactly, exactly. Obviously, if you click on appeared in search, these will sort for you automatically, give you highest to lowest, lowest to highest.
Rand: I’m really curious. These numbers don’t look . . . you and I are both used to using adCenter and using AdWords. You get rounding. Why are these so specific?
Duane: There’s absolutely no value in rounding. There’s nothing.
Rand: Well, obviously not.
Duane; We don’t save anything. As far as we’re concerned, 426 is as good as 450 or 400. It doesn’t make a difference except to you guys. When we look at it on our end . . .
Rand: You’re just giving us the detailed data.
Duane: Absolutely. When we look at it on our end, there was nothing holding us back from sharing the detail. We obviously know that the detail’s better, so we go right to the detail number.
Rand: Dude, you rock. That is some strong mojo.
Duane: To be fair, it’s a team effort. We have an awesome team.
Rand: I meant you all. Bing rocks.
Duane: Bing, absolutely. Sorry, that’s clearly not for me. Thanks, and.
Rand: I wouldn’t compliment a Canadian.
Duane: Rightly so. Rightly so. A couple things that I do want to point out in this too. One other feature that we added to it, that was requested, was the ability to search multiple countries under a single language.
For example, let’s say you want to understand. You’ve got a phenomenon like Batman, and it spans regions. Batman is popular everywhere, and you want to get an understanding of U.S., Canada, and the UK. You can actually scope it to that level and say, “I want English in these regions. Give me the feedback on that.” It brings back all that data for you.
Rand: I just changed to Canada, and now I’m going to get new data that can show me specifically how many people in Canada do these searches.
Duane: Exactly. It’ll be like three, right? Because that’s it.
Rand: Canadians like comedies, not drama.
Duane: Totally. Well, it’s what keeps us warm in the winter, the laughter.
Rand: That’s not bad, 194.
Duane: No. I’m embarrassed for my country. More of us should like Batman 3. Come now.
What’s really cool though is if you click on the history dropdown here, what we’re going to do is actually show you all of the last keywords you did. We thought rather than make you go back and do something again, we thought we’d create a way you could just come right around the loop. That’s what the history function does. It just lets you click on it.
Really nice feature. There are a couple of nice UX features we built in here too. That hover that Rand just activated there, a lot of help is provided in situations. Where you’re at, you can hover over the I and it will tell you what the feature is about or how to use the feature. Really handy to understand some of these tools.
Rand: Strict is kind of like exact?
Duane: Strictly. I should not use “exactly.”‘
Rand: It is a strict match. So if I check this yes, things like “Dark Knight Rises” are going to go away.
Duane: Gone. Only a phrase with “Batman 3″ in it would then be returned. It’s that straightforward.
For a number of months now I’ve been asking this question. People have seen it on SEO chat, I did one of them.
Rand: You did it last time you were here on Whiteboard Friday.
Duane: Exactly. If you guys want data like Yahoo! Site Explorer, you needed to talk to me about it. Boy, did you. I heard the message. My entire team heard the message.
Rand: You’re telling me I’m going to type in any URL on the Web, and you’re going to give me link data?
Duane: Yeah, and you actually bring up a really important point too. Traditionally, the tools are scoped to a particular domain. Earlier, you typed in “Everywhereist” and you were told no, because it’s not in Rand’s account, so he can’t access it.
Link Explorer is an exception to this. Link Explorer allows you to go and develop competitive intelligence by typing in what you want and seeing the links that are pointed at it. There is a ton of stuff you can do. You can filter within a site. Who’s pointing to my site from a particular site?
You can filter by a keyword that appears on an individual page on another website. You can filter by anchor text. You can filter internal or external. You can group them all together. You can scope at a URL or a domain level, to understand how many links are pointed at my website. Or I have a particular page that is very valuable to me. How many links are pointed at that page? Then start drilling down on what are those links.
Obviously, on the competitive side, you can then go take a look at another website and say, “Who’s pointing at them, and are they pointing at me?” Between Link Explorer and your own inbound link data that we share, you can create an incredibly comprehensive link graph for yourself, page by page, and understand what that looks like, not just for you but for your competitors.
Rand: Can I ask you a couple questions about this? This is awesome.
Duane: It is pretty cool. I’ve got to tell you.
Rand: Every question I’m going to ask you is just icing on a cake that I’m so glad you baked for us, and we really appreciate it.
Duane: Happy to.
Rand: I’m curious. Are these links in some kind of order?
Duane: There is an order to them, but it’s best to think of it as a randomized order. Now, you can click on source URL and sort these things alphabetically. It makes it a little easier to find some stuff.
Rand: It’s not link that is most important?
Duane: No, no, no. We would ideally love to evolve to that stage where we can actually say, “Here’s a link that we value most in this list.” Not on the horizon immediately, but what you can do is if you use that filter by site function, you can really start narrowing down that gap of what matters to you.
Maybe you just did an interview and you’re wondering if it popped on CNN, if you got anything from it. You can actually go in and type that in and see, did that actually net anything for me? It might only be a single link, but that is a powerful link. That is a trustworthy link.
Rand: Hey let’s go check it out. Aw, we don’t have any CNN links.
Duane: Oh, painful. Sorry.
Rand: Let’s see if the NY Times has ever linked to us. No. Oh, it might be from one of their articles, right?
Duane: Right. This is where you need to be careful of using these features, because you have to understand, we need to understand what you’re looking for explicitly. It gets a lot more difficult, like Rand typed in “‘New York Times.” Starts to get a little more difficult to understand, that’s pretty broad.
Rand: This additional query gives me functionality back that old Yahoo! Link Domain plus keyword queries used to have, which is saying, “I want you, Bing, to find me all the links that point to me that have the word, not some other link, not domains . . .”
Duane: No, just the word.
Rand: The word “NY Times” on the page. Here’s a Search Engine Land article about the New York Times [inaudible 29:22]. They mention NY Times, they link to us. So it’s in here.
Duane: Exactly. The data in here is incredibly rich. If you spend time managing links, looking at your link graph, what this actual footprint looks like, between the inbound link section of the tools and this new area in Link Explorer, man, you’ve got some great coverage. It is fantastic.
Rand: Wow. This is a lot of data. Now, two other questions. We talked about this before. I was noticing that it looks like not all of your index is necessarily in here.
Duane: Not quite yet. There are some limitations. Bing is not a giant black box as folks like to think of things. It’s a series of processes that work together. In order to pull data from some of those things, they have different limitations at times.
What we want to make sure we do is bring forward a good experience, something that people can rely on. Then my team, one of our tasks is to sit back and figure out what’s being used, how is it being used, what’s the capacity look like, and then where do we invest more capacity? That way we can continue to expand things.
Rand: Are we looking at, if we imagine large, historical indices that contain all of the Web and then sort of new, fresh stuff that we need all the time, we’re pulling more from this than we are from those?
Duane: Exactly. Now you’ll go through and find links in here that are old links, and that makes perfect sense, but we need to make sure. Here’s an example of some of those limitations. Our API that we have, keyword research tool is in. It wasn’t when we launched. The SEO Reports, the SEO Analyzer, and Link Explorer are not in the API currently.
What we don’t want to have happen is people have a poor experience coming in, using that tool, hitting limitations that’s problematic for them. We want to avoid that. I’ve worked with APIs in the past where you’ve had a dependency on it, information’s been taken out of the API, and therefore it just becomes pointless to continue to engage with it.
In my case, it led to a tool that we were using being shut down because we had no data. That was the end of that. We want to avoid those things, right?
We’re bringing the tools out. They are beta, so that allows us to play around, add some logic, change some things, and fix things on the fly for them. I’ve got to tell you, I’ve been using these things now for a few weeks, and in the case of SEO Analyzer and the SEO Reports, back in my MSN days for years, and it is life changing.
If you’re doing at scale SEO stuff, this is what people should be expecting from webmaster tools now. This is it.
Rand: I appreciate that. Well, fantastic work, you guys. There’s a bunch more to explore in here. We’re not going to spend another 30 minutes diving into all of it, but I really encourage all of you to. I’m sure you’ll see blog posts over the next few weeks from people all over the SEO world, and particularly on Moz, detailing these features, how to use them.
Duane, please, from all of us in the industry, send your team our thanks.
Rand: This is phenomenal work in every aspect, data, UI, UX. Brilliantly done.
Duane: This is the product of months of passionate work by people who are actually SEOs. I am so proud of our team for doing this. This is fantastic. Now I’ve got to go fix my own websites.
Rand: Congratulations, sir.
Duane: Thank you. Thank you.
Rand: All right, everyone, we’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.
Duane: Thanks, guys.
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