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SEO Tool Tips: Using Live Search Webmaster Center
Thursday, August 07, 2008
When Microsoft announced their Live Search Webmaster Center months back, we thought finally a tool that would provide similar benefit to Webmasters and site owners similar to what Google Webmaster Tools does. Boy were we wrong. Aside from ripping off the name, the Live Search Webmaster Center tool nowhere near what Google Webmaster Tools is.

Well 11 months later, Microsoft has finally updated their Live Search Webmaster Center offering. They recently added some features reminiscent of both Yahoo Site Explorer and Google Webmaster Tools. Here is a look at some of the new features.

Live Search Webmaster Center Updated

As a reminder, you can view the updated data in Live Search Webmaster Center providing that you have set it up and verified your site. You will need a Microsoft login such as your hotmail account. Once logged in, you will see a page similar to this:

The new information is found within seven tabs as follows:

  • This tells you when MSNbot last crawled the site
  • How many pages that you have indexed in MSN/Live Search
  • Top five pages (based on what appears to be a proprietary Page Score” and when these pages were last crawled.

  • Shows where your current xml sitemap is located www.yoursite.com/LiveSearchSiteAuth.xml for example.
  • Provides the verification options (either an XML file that you have added to the site or a meta tag that you have added for verification purposes.)
  • You can also submit an email address for a Live Search rep to contact you if MSN/Live Search encounter issues with your site. This was a pretty cool feature, although I would like to see a response from a Live Search representative if something was wrong with my site. I wonder how detailed that it would be?
Crawl Issues
  • Use this information to find out about any issues Live Search discovered while crawling and indexing your site. This information can help you track down missing or bad links, find pages blocked from our index by your robots.txt file, identify URLs that may be too long, and isolate page with content-types that are not supported by Live Search. Currently your options are File not Found (404 Error), Blocked by REP, Long Dynamic URLs and Unsupported content type.
  • You can download all results. What I didn’t like about this feature is that Live Search Webmaster Center does not allow you to scroll through more than the first 20 results (although you can download all of the results.)
  • When looking at the results for Unsupported Content Type, Live Search states:
    Live Search maintains a defined list of content-type that we will accept into our index, while all other content-types are ignored. Examples of supported content-types are: text/html, text/xml, and application/powerpoint. We recommend you use this report to find a list of all pages on their site that either does not define a content type in the HTTP header, or defines a content-type not currently supported, and either define a content type, or consider including it in your robots exclusion protocol (REP) policy
  • Use this tool to find out which web pages (including your own) are linking to your site. This information can help you identify who is talking about your site, useful information for learning more about your potential audience or customer base.
  • Similar to Yahoo Site Explorer, you can use the filter to exclude results from a domain or show only results from a single domain. You can also specify a domain (live.com), a sub-domain (webmaster.live.com), or a top-level domain (.com).
  • You can download a maximum of 1000 results.
Outbound Links
  • Use this information to get data about web pages your site is linking to. This lets you see where users are going when they leave your site. This is a great tool for monitoring your inbound links and internal linking that you are currently doing on your site.
  • Use the filter to exclude results from a domain or show only results from a single domain. You can also specify a domain (live.com), a sub-domain (webmaster.live.com), or a top-level domain (.com).
  • Use this tool to see how your site performs in search results for searches using specific keywords
  • We performed a query for a number of keywords and were returned with results that didn’t really mean that much.
  • You can use sitemaps "tab"to give Live Search a list of URLs to index for your site. Other than that, there is no real value with this tab.
While this is an improvement over what was offered through Live Search Webmaster Center before, there is nothing earth shattering or innovative here. It would have been cool to see some sort of trending data (pertaining to search volume perhaps?) but Microsoft has really duplicated efforts from Yahoo Site Explorer and Google Webmaster Tools except, Live Search Webmaster Center is not as useful. It is a step in the right direction however. Here's hoping that the next update offers some unique value.


posted by Jody @ Thursday, August 07, 2008  
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About Me
Name: Jody
Home: Kelowna, BC, Canada
About Me: SEO guy by day, family man 24/7.
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