Bing Webmaster Tools has two unique sections in their dashboard for extracting external link data. They have two sections on their dashboard called Inbound Links and Link Explorer. Both of these tools are incredibly powerful and will give you (the webmaster) a lot of useful information. The inbound links section will show you the anchor text that links out to your website. The Link Explorer section will show you the title tag of the page that links out to your website. Let’s learn how to use both today!
How to Read the Inbound Links
Here we are at the standard dashboard for webmaster tools. You need to go to Reports and Data and click on inbound links. Here I am just looking at the last 3 months of data. As a note, you can change the date to the following ranges.
- The last 7 days
- The last 30 days
- The last 3 months
- The last 6 months
Click on the Target Page to Explore who Links to You
This is what the dashboard looks like when you are on this setting. For this example, I want to see who is linking just to the homepage for the Knights. I am going to click right on the URL that has 98 links to it.
Once I click on the URL, I am presenting this box of information.
What Can I do with This?
We can do a couple of things with this information that we are given from Bing.
First, we can export all of this data into a CSV file. This is important because you should have an idea as to what links back to your website. If Bing is counting these links in Webmaster Tools, then they are important in my opinion.
Second, we now will have an idea as to what our anchor text distribution is for our website. That image above is taken from a side project that I still work on occasionally. I tried very hard to diversify the anchor text so it was not over optimized.
Webmasters can’t control all of the links back to their website. However, we (webmasters) do have some say in a few of the links that we get. Therefore, I would recommend if you have the ability to diversify your anchor text then you should. A lot of SEO’s out there would say I am stupid for having the term website as an anchor text. They might also say I wasted an opportunity with John%0D%0A Boyle O’Reilly as another. Instead, I would look at it as does it make sense for the user? A simple text that says website might make a lot of sense for the users who are looking to go to the website. The term website is also taken for Map Quest.
Third, the anchor text might be taken from your title tag. I have seen a lot of webmasters who take the title tag (or the title name) of a post and link it out to the destination. I think this adds to having a strong and click worthy title tag. A title tag that is not click worthy might then lose out on any referral traffic back to your website.
How to Use Link Explorer for your Website
Here I am at the main dashboard for Bing Webmaster Tools looking at the Link Explorer.
I put in the main homepage URL into the tool. Now I can see every source URL that points back to my website, but now I can see something even cooler. I can see the title tag for that page that links out to my website. I find this really exciting because you can find related websites that also cover these topics when you perform link outreach. What I mean by this is simple. I would use these themes from these title tags and target similar and related websites that I think would make sense to list my own. This is not the most effective way to build some back links, but I do think it is worth a shot.
You Can Search by your Entire Domain
This tool can also be used to get a real snapshot of your links. Here I simply changed scope to show my entire domain. This is great if I have a very large website. This can give myself a really quick glance as to the websites that are linking back out to mine.
Use Link Explorer to Get Competitor Links
This entire post was solely about your own website. I would like to take a different approach now when it comes to this tool. This tool can be used for competitive link research. I decided to show one of my project site’s competitors. I put their URL into the tool to see the following information below.
Download all of the Data and Throw it into Excel for Link Outreach
I would put in as many real competitors into this tool and simply click on the export tab. Then, I would put all of the exported data into separate tabs with the label for each domain. Next, I would create a new tab where I would then copy and paste all the tabs into one spreadsheet. Once that is completed I would then run a formula in Microsoft Excel to “remove duplicates” so I am just looking at unique websites.
Now I will download the data from Bing for my own website and color code the results so I know what is my website. Then I would run a condition formula in excel to show any duplicates between my website and my competitors. Then I would use this as a template to explore some of my external link targets.
Bing Webmaster Tools is not a replacement for some of the tools that I listed at the start of this post. However, I think this tool should be used as a resource for anyone who is serious about improving their websites. I think these two tools allow everyone to get a real quick glance into what your website is looking like on Bing. If you don’t use Bing and think it is a waste of your time I will leave you with this.
If Bing is showing a heavy and over used anchor text (from the inbound links section), then Google sees it too. If you care about your Google traffic, then you should use this tool as a priority to not get penalized by Google. Google Webmaster Tools at the moment does not show the anchor text data for the links back to your website. Therefore, this tool can save you money and give you real insight into your website according to the actual search engine.