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Webmaster Blog

July
01

Webmaster Tools updates: expanded sitemap files types, new language coverage and more

While Bing Webmaster Tool users have been enjoying the latest features such as crawl control and user management announced in early June at SMX Advanced as part of the Honey Badger update, behind the scenes we've been working on the next round of improvements for the tools.

The focus of the improvements released late last week are across a few main areas:

  • Sitemaps
  • Communication
  • Internationalization
  • Expanded navigation

Sitemap file type expansion

To improve the toolset for users wanting to upload sitemap types other than .xml files, we've enabled the ability for our system to consume TXT, Atom and RSS types.  Currently the list is as seen in the image below: RSS 2.0, Atom 0.3, Atom 1.0, .txt files.  Still included are standard .xml files.  Watch for further expansion of this list of files types in the future.

 

Staying current just got easier

To help facilitate communication between webmasters and Bing, we've added the ability to opt in for notices from us.  If we're seeing malware issues on your site, these alerts can help notify you quickly.  If there are crawl errors happening when we try to find your content, these alerts will help you understand what we encountered.  The alerts and updates are being designed to help you maintain a clear understanding of any issues Bing has when viewing your website.  Beyond that, these alerts will share the latest updates with you, direct to your inbox, so you'll know of the latest functionality improvements, shortly after they go live.

To set your choice to recieve these communications, you first must log into your Bing Webmaster Account.  From the "Home" tab inside your account, you can click on the "Preferences" setting to the left.  Inside the pop up that appears you will see a check box you can select or deselect to receive or not receives messages from Bing Webmaster at the email address you log into your webmaster account with.

  

Hola, Ciao, Привет, Γεια σου, Salut: Now serving Webmaster Tools data in 40+ languages

For our international users hoping to see data in more languages than English, we're pleased to announce the roll out of all features supported in Bing Webmaster Tools in the following 42 languages:

Arabic Estonian  Japanese  Serbian 
Basque Finnish  Korean  Slovak 
Bulgarian French  Latvian  Slovenian 
Catalan Galician  Lithuanian  Spanish 
Chinese - Simplifed German  Malay  Swedish
Chinese - Traditional Greek  Norwegian Thai
Croatian Hebrew  Polish  Turkish
Czech Hindi  Portuguese - Brazil Ukrainian
Danish Hungarian  Portuguese - Portugal Vietnamese
Dutch Icelandic  Romanian 
English Italian  Russian 

Essentially this means that all of the features current as of this blog post are now available in the languages above.

Expanded Navigation

In an effort to make navigating around inside your webmaster account simpler, we've expanded navigation under each tab, where appropriate.  Highlighted in red in the image below is the expanded navigation within the "Crawl" tab.  This should make it easier for users to find more data within their accounts.

These new improvements cap a very busy month for the Bing Webmaster Tools team who've been busy expanding and improving our tools to meet user needs.  Watch for further investments in the coming months, and thanks for using Bing Webmaster Tools.

Comments

  • I think it's good for webmaster

  • Thanks this will be very useful to our company.

  • I am a little confused before I used to re-submit my sitemap and I used to get success almost instantly. Now I stay on pending all the time been like that for about 3 weeks now. Why would this be? I have re-submitted 3 or 4 times already I have noticed my number of index pages dropping at the same time. With the old sitemap system my index pages used to increase.

  • @The Quiver Tree - the quick answer is that the internal service we use to update the sitemap data set is rolling out revisions in about a month.  One of the goals being to solve that "pending" issue you see. ;)  Resubmitting the sitemap won't speed things along.  And the sitemap system isn't directly influencing the pages we have indexed from a website - at least no tin the direct sense you're suggesting.  Sitemaps do help us uncover new content, true, and that can help increase the number of indexed pages.  Before this happens though, the pages are scanned for a number of things - quality, types of content, relevancy against searches, etc.  If we feel the pages are quality, we keep them.

    When it comes to the pages in the index, you're better served trying to understand a few key points outside of sitemaps:

    1 - if the number of indexed pages goes down, is there a pattern?  Is it a certain folder within the website?  A certain type of content?

    2 - at any given time the number of pages will naturally fluctuate, so seeing ups and downs in the number of pages indexed is normal.  What should be an issue is a wall.  A sudden drop off that essentially ends at or near zero.  Even seeing this, I'll caution against panicing.

    3 - check your traffic stats.  The system might suggest the number of pages dropped, but has your traffic remained intact?  If yes, then you have less to worry about.

    Bing does not index everything it finds on the web.  Vast areas fo the Internet are not populated with quality content.  An example of this would be using articles from an article syndication service to buil dyour pages out.  Using someone else's content doesn't provide Bing the quality it requires.  We have the original version of the article, after all, so why would we fill our results with the same article from multiple websites.  That doesn't make for a quality user experience.

  • Many thanks for new languages. Bing Webmaster tools in French is more simple for me.

  • Why is it impossible to submit a feed or sitemap to Bing? I have over 150 articles on my blog and it said Bing only indexed 4! Im at autorepairsavings.blogspot.com

  • Autodude - it's not impossible at all.

    Inside the Bing Webmaster Tools (which are free), you can easily submit either a sitemap or feed directly to us.

    Having your content indexed is not guaranteed simply because you have the content in a feed.  Bing is very concerned about quality, so make sure you review this (onlinehelp.microsoft.com/.../hh204434.aspx) for insights into what we're after.  Not saying your quality is low, but we have to start somewhere when offering help.

    I notice on your website the frequency of your posts has slowed.  The engines often see that as a signal to slow indexing, because if you're not producing fresh content, it can indicate a lack of future investment in the website.  And old websites that are not maintained don't make for quality search results - which is what we want. ;)

    I also noticed a block of keywords colored dark blue at the top of your website - you'll want to remove those. That's an old spammers trick which can harm your website over time.  The traffic counter on your website shows some decent volumes of visitors, so if you keep producing quality, unique content as you have in the past, for your visitors, Bing is much more likely to respond favorably.

    You should also work on building organic links to the website.  I don't have any numbers from your website, but you can never have too many quality inbound links (we show you this data inside our webmaster tools).  Quality trumps quantity, though.  I saw your post on the experience with an SEO company you had, so if you hear others claiming to get you "hundreds of organic link in X days/weeks", skip them.  Organic links build slowly, over time.  If the company tries to force them to grow quickly, we'll see that and ignore the value they should be providing. ;)  And it reflects poorly on your website, not theirs.

    More info on producing quality content - www.bing.com/.../how-to-build-quality-content.aspx

    Information on building links properly - www.bing.com/.../you-love-links-we-love-links-build-for-the-right-reasons.aspx

    I think you're off to a pretty good start there.  Have you considered moving the blog to a stand alone domain?

    Here's the big list of help docs Bing Webmaster offers, covering all kinds of topics from SEO, to link building and more - onlinehelp.microsoft.com/.../gg132923.aspx

  • I find the webmaster very useful.

  • Love it that the webmaster tools is now available in Dutch too. It is a lot easier to understand in my own language. This makes it a lot easier for me.

  • @Duane :I'am still a litlle bit confused about the sitemap-roleout:

    You wrote:  "...the quick answer is that the internal service we use to update the sitemap data set is rolling out revisions in about a month.  One of the goals being to solve that "pending" issue you see. ;)"

    I still have this "pending"-problem and don't know if it's a problem cuased by me, because I have submitted an index sitemap as well as the 3 individual "sub"-sitemaps (included in the index)

    or

    the new service-version isn't roled out till now?

    Any advice appreciated.

  • Sitemap has been stuck in pending status for days now. I searched the forum and found others with the same problem. When will this issue be fixed?

  • webmaster very useful.

  • I'm new user,Thank

  • Thank you very much for sharing a lot of this great information

    urdunovelfreee.blogspot.com

  • A thing which need to improved with Bing webmaster is Crawl error details, I have Bing webmaster account for http://smurfitkappadirect.ie/ and that shows HTTP codes 400-499 errors but its do not specify particular error type. It would be great for webmasters if error type will show in Crawl error details.