Well it has been a few weeks now since Microsoft opened the Webmaster tools and also made the Link command work again and I have been trying out both of them.

Firstly the Live Search Link commands, this now works by using + in front of the command then the URL you want to check. Therefore instead of link:dolphinpromotions.co.uk it is now +link:dolphinpromotions.co.uk. Joost de Valk pointed out that Live Search appears to obey NoFollows which is pretty useful as Yahoo is quite frustrating when showing all the NoFollow links. It also groups together the sitewide links well and the tool is usable through the API. Overall it is quite good news, it appears to be more accurate than Yahoo and obviously the Google one is not very accurate.

Next up is Live Webmaster, the equivalent to Google Webmaster Tools or the Yahoo Site Explorer. At the moment I think it is still in Beta, while I could sign in and try to add a site the tool kept creating a validation error. On further research I had to email [email protected] to request my account to be activated. My first thoughts were that it is defiantly more advanced than Site Explorer. Some of the features include:

  • Top 5 Pages – Not entirely sure how it evaluates the pages but it assigns a rank to them, it shows the Language, Region, Last Crawled and whether it is blocked.
  • Indexed Pages – The total number of indexed pages.
  • Profile – You can add your sitemap.xml etc
  • Keywords – Check how well a page performs in the search results for the specific keyword
  • Top Links From – Top 10 performing outbound links in Live Search.
  • Top Links to – Top 10 performing inbound links in Live Search.

While there are more functions than Site Explorer, it definitely seems buggy (it is beta though). The main things I noticed were:

  • Rank – Every single page it showed was ranked 5, so I am not sure if this is even working at al.
  • Country/Region – All my pages apart from the home page was classed as GB, the homepage is classed as US. Though I presume this is related to which country the majority of users visit. So more people from US have visited the homepage of this blog.
  • Indexed Pages – It reports 701 pages for this blog, which is defiantly not accurate, Google reports 190. The +Site command also reports 701 pages.
  • Keyword Function – I am not entirely sure what this is supposed to do, the description says “Review how this page performs in search results against specific keywords.” which I would of expected to show me the position of my site in Live. However it just shows a list of my pages, I assume it shows which page performs best compared to the other pages in your site for that keyword, rather than the actually SERPs.
  • Validation – Our main site www.dolphinpromotions.co.uk is still HTML 4.01 (We will change it one day!) so when I added the meta validation it created an validation warning due to the forward slash, when I removed this the site failed the validation. Granted the slash doesn’t actually create an error so I could just leave it in, and you can also authenticate the site through and XML file so it is a bit of a moot point, but the site should not really fail authentication because of that.

Overall I think there is plenty of potential there, though to be honest I do not use Site Explorer or Webmaster tools a lot. I find Site Explorer a bit crap and it does not seem to provide much benefit to my sites. Webmaster tools is definitely the best of the bunch but it has been around for quite a while now so hopefully Live will develop plenty of useful feature in the future.