Verifying Sitemaps in Bing

For those of you responsible for getting your sitemaps verified in different engines, don’t forget about Bing! I’ve just completed submitting one sitemap to Bing, and am waiting for our technical team to upload the verification file so that I can see the other features of their Webmaster Center.

One frustration I have already encountered is that you can only verify one sitemap per site. “Why would you need more?,” you may ask… Well, PRWeb has several – each for different functions. In addition to our news-based sitemap, we also have standard and archival sitemaps. Google Webmaster Tools handles this without a hiccough, but Bing doesn’t. Given the choice, I submitted our news sitemap, since it’s important for our customers to get visibility for their releases.

I will update this post when the validation file is posted and share my thoughts on Bing’s webmaster tools.

Update: The validation file is posted, and I have accessed further tools in Bing Webmaster Center.  Here are some observations:

  • There are a number of subdomains from my primary domains. In listing the “top pages” from my site, it pulls several subdomain index pages. In my world subdomains are different sites. They should provide an option to select that.
  • They provide a domain score for my site as well as sites taht link in. They are shown graphically as five green squares. Is five good? Bad? Can’t tell – they have no information in help or in mouseover to explain what the scale is.
  • In the top navigation, they have a link to “Crawl Issues,” and a drop down that takes you to individual segments for each one (similar to Google, but with a drop down instead of links). Problem: you have to leaf through each option because it doesn’t give you a summary to know what category of problems your site might have
  • One of the pull-down options is “Blocked by REP” – ok, that is Bing-ese for “robots.txt.” If you are going to use jargon, keep to industry standard jargon please.  On a side note, we block many thousands of pages with our robots.txt files. Please to explain why there are none listed here?
  • Backlinks… This page shows the total number of backlinks and the top 20 links. You can download the top 1,000, but after that you are on your own for backlink information. Yahoo has Bing beat in this area.
  • Outbound links… same thing as backlinks. This lists the top 20 (how do they come up with those, anyway??), and you can download up to 1,000.
  • Keyword Tool – this is useless. It doesn’t tell you where you might appear for specific keywords. What it does is tell you how particular pages on your site “rate” for a keyword phrase. Um… I already know that.
  • Sitemaps tab – this tab lists the one sitemap that you can submit. It also gives instructions on submitting a sitemap directly, but doesn’t really explain what that accomplishes (do results show up in your Webmaster Center account?)

Overall, it’s a useful tool however limited. The interface is definitely clean and easy to navigate. I’ll be interested to see if we get better visibility in the Bing news area now…