Today Bing has released it’s latest update to Bing Webmaster Tools – code named Phoenix (which I think is a bit Google-esque). They include a new interface, some new SEO tools, and, most excitingly, a backlink checker called Link Explorer. Is this a replacement to the Yahoo Site Explorer, which was cruelly taken from us last year? Does it use the same technology? Who knows, but there are some major differences.
Simply log in to your webmaster tools, and in the left hand menu you can see the link to the tool like this;
Note that you have to have at least one verified site in Bing Webmaster Tools to be able to use this site. So, not only do you have to sign in to use this tool (unlike Yahoo Site Explorer), you also have to be a site owner.
Once you open the tool, you can input any URL.
You can decide whether you want to see the results by URL or domain, and then choose to filter by domain, anchor text or other text on the site, and then export the results. Note that the tool will not give you a total number of links (unlike Yahoo Site Explorer).
The tool is still in Beta, which is probably why I noticed a number of strange things in it. For example, for some sites it will mix in inner pages in the domain report and sometimes it offers longer lists of domains than URLs for the same site (or perhaps the results are just random).
Search Engine Land reported that it could give us up to 1,000 results in our exported report (hey, just like Yahoo Site Explorer!), however, I never got that many. I ran the tool for a number of different sites, both domestic and international and compared them to the results in Open Site Explorer.
Since Bing is just showing a ‘selection’ of results, I would have expected it to always show lower amounts of links and domains than a tool like OSE. However, OSE has shown lower numbers of domains in a few instances.
In the last example, you can see that even when there are millions of links (that last site is Google by the way), the Bing tool still only gives us 691 results in our exported report.
I think this tool might be useful to see if there are any different results, but I wouldn’t use it to give useful competitive metrics or comprehensive views of how a link profile is looking.