I spend a lot of time in data. One of my favorite things to do is what I call forensic data diving. It’s where you start with a business problem or conundrum and find the right data for the job to get to the core issues and make data-driven recommendations.
It’s probably not all that different from dumpster diving (umm … from what I’ve read) in that you oftentimes have to winnow through a lot of junk data to get to the truly actionable stuff business decisions are made of.
Outside of analytics, Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) and Bing’s Webmaster Center (BWC) are my dumpsters of choice because they provide the opportunity for you to triangulate your data against your analytics. Otherwise, you find yourself looking at your stats in a vacuum. I mean, okay, you had 4,659 visits last month from your fave money term. Have a brewski on me. But when you see from your webmaster tool data that your average rank was 6 and you actually had 12,400 impressions, that gives you context and a specific goal to work toward. Know what I mean?
It’s been my experience that even seasoned Internet marketers have little idea the depth of data they have at their fingertips in Google Webmaster Tools, let alone Bing’s Webmaster Center, which lives out its days quietly in Google’s shadow. (Chin up, Bing!) This is why I’ve decided to do a series on how to get the most out of Google and Bing’s webmaster tools. And I figured the best starting point was to compare their tools. And, yes, I actually came up with 99 comparison points out of pure luck. (It’s an Irish thing.)
The challenge was organizing the comparison points because Google and Bing’s tools are structured very differently … lest Google accuse Bing of copying their homework again. So to organize the spreadsheet, I used the breakdown of Google Webmaster Tools as the blueprint since more people are familiar with GWT than BWC. But I included the location of that particular feature in Bing, if it indeed it exists.
I have to say, even though Google provides more goodies than Bing, I was surprised to see how much Bing held its own. And there are some features that Bing offers that Google doesn’t, such as historical data <shakes fist at Google for limiting us to a measly 35 days> and Avg Click Position for query terms. (Now we just need a nerdy genius VBA programmer to create an app or Excel plugin that will automagically cull data from GWT and export to Excel, so users can keep their own data archives. I will link to whomever provides that in my next post. You have two weeks.)
Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled program … Bing also tends to offer more granular data that you can evaluate within its interface — especially on a page level — whereas with Google you pretty much have to export to get anything done.
Without further adieu, here’s the comparison. Or you can view it in Google Docs. If you want to copy the spreadsheet into your own Google Docs, just log in to Google and select File > Make a Copy. I’ve locked this copy.
[iframe https://spreadsheets.google.com/a/blueglass.com/pub?hl=en&hl=en&key=0AlakA6rJ7yhodHp2QzJnUnNiN3k0SHBnNXlTV0ZLeWc&single=true&gid=0&output=html&widget=true 660 800]
If you see any errors, please let me know in a comment or shout out on Twitter.
And make sure you subscribe to our blog, if you haven’t already, because I’ll be writing follow-up posts on how you can actually use this data along with your analytics data to provide powerful insights. I’ll also be covering how to make your reports sexy with some advanced formatting tips in Excel.