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This week’s #searchdrop covers the huge updates to Bing Webmaster Tools, the announcement that Google will be adding Core Vitals as a ranking signal and 13 ways to optimise your Google My Business profile.

Bing Webmaster Tools overhaul gives a site scan and competitive backlink tool

Bing have taken some seriously big strides to meet the needs of SEOs everywhere with some pretty impressive changes to their webmaster tools. Not only have Bing had a new interface designed to replace the old (non-user friendly) one, they’ve also added two really useful tools.

The Site Scanner Tool

The site scanner tool works much like the SEO pocket knife that is Screaming Frog, and allows webmasters to scan their site and pull out key SEO issues. The sort of issues pulled out are much like the issues highlighted in coverage reports in GSC. All of these issues if fixed will likely not only improve performance in Bing but other search engines too.

Competitive backlink data tool

Bing has also released a competitive backlink data tool where you can compare your site to your selected competitors. With or without a verified Bing webmaster tools account you can check the backlinks your site has along with sites you select. There are many backlink tools out there but this is direct from a search engine and opens up this sort of information for people who perhaps don’t have the budget for backlink tools.

Why is Bing Relevant?

Some SEOs don’t bother with Bing and assume that if they rank in Google they’ll rank in Bing. There are certainly similarities in the ranking factors, but why make life harder for Bing to index your content? Furthermore, it’s important to understand demographics, and with Bing being the default search engine on Windows computers, it’s largely used by an older demographic who could support your business, if that’s your target market. So just fill in BWT as your would GSC and you’ll be indexed in no time.

For information on either of the new elements from BMT check or here and here.

Core Vitals to become a ranking signal in future update

Last week we covered the announcement of the Core Web Vitals metric Google will be using going forward to ‘score’ the performance of site. This new metric will combine the new Core Vitals data with existing user experience signals, e.g. mobile-friendliness, HTTPS etc.

The ‘Page Experience’ metric will measure how a user perceives and experiences the site and score it accordingly. The higher the score, the better the ranking. There’s obviously the caveat however that other ranking signals need to be in place.

There will be at least a 6 month warning before this new metric is put into place, giving most businesses the chance to improve the user experience on-site.

For further information see this article in Search Engine Land

13 ways to optimise your Google My Business

Google My Business is one of the most valuable free marketing tools a business can leverage. With a little investment of time and money into the production of good quality content and imagery, you can very quickly have a very attractive Google My Business listing.

Here are 13 recommendations for optimisation:

  • Claim your profile – a simple but effective one. If you don’t have your listing claimed you won’t be able to make the necessary edits.
  • Complete your Google My Business account – As with anything where you have the option to fill in information, from an SEO perspective you should. Complete information is much better for the user and Google.
  • Use consistent name and contact details  – This can support you in any citation alignment work you perform across other directories.
  • Include business hours – Important for both users and Google. Search engines are more likely to serve your listing if they know you’re open.
  • Select categories – Categories help Google to understand the types of queries your business is relevant for, so ensuring you’ve selected primary and secondary categories is important.
  • Select relevant attributes – Google offers a range of different attributes you can select to help users understand the services and offering of your business, for example, “take-out” is one option a restaurant can select.
  • Complete the “from the business” description – use 750 characters to describe your business, and ensure you include keywords relevant to your business that your users may use.
  • Publish posts weekly – this could be built into any social media activity you’ve undertaken, and these posts are good as they improve user engagement and send positive signals to Google of your businesses activity.  
  • Upload new photos regularly – as with the above, regular images help to signal to Google that you’re an active business.
  • Answer questions – these support your potential and existing customers. Questions and answers like “is there parking nearby” may be the difference between a visit and no visit.
  • Cultivate and respond to reviews – The more reviews you receive and the better your average review score, the better you’ll rank and attract new customers.
  • Add your products and/or services – useful if your business doesn’t cover all your services. It’s also possible Google will link to your product/service pages.
  • Add any industry-specific details – if you’re a restaurant, ensure you’re selecting the relevant details like a reservation button to maximise conversions.

A regular and thought out approach to Google My Business could improve your local ranking performance and ensure you’re leveraging all possible opportunities within the SERPS.

For more on this check out this Article on Wordstream.