While there are Webmaster Tools for Naver and Webmaster Tools for Baidu, both of those do not have an English interface. While it is possible to muddle through, it would only be worthwhile if targeting the Chinese market (in China) or the Korean market (in Korea). Bing Webmaster Tools, Google Webmaster Tools, and Yandex Webmaster Tools all offer interfaces in English. All are useful, and it is worth registering sites with all three.
Main Functions of Webmaster Tools
Each of the three webmaster tools has grown extensively over time and are more of a toolchest nowadays. First, there are some basic functions regarding site submission and diagnostics. Next there are analytics to help provide insight. Third, there are additional tools to help with various error states that effect relevance/ranking on search results. And fourth, there are tools that provide feedback to Google in terms of responses to Google's actions, and other feedback to help Google better understand and take action.
Flavors of Webmaster Tools
Bing, Google, and Yandex roughly do the same thing, though not every function is shared by all, and not all information is equally available.
Site Property Registration in Webmaster Tools
General site submission starts with a property registration, which verifies the user's control over some essential part of the address, via file upload, meta tag, DNS record, or some other proven connection. In terms of properties, Bing considers http://domain.com and https://domain.com, as well as http://www.domain.com and https://www.domain.com to be a single address. This is probably the best approach since it cuts down on management tasks. Bing uses a CNAME DNS record for verification (my preferred method). Google is the opposite, and each of those addresses are considered distinct properties, though to register all of them only takes a single DNS TXT record (my preferred verification method). Yandex takes after Google and treats each of the four permutations of http/s and www/(none) as different properties. To register http://domain.com and https://domain.com requires a single TXT record, and to register http://www.domain.com and https://www.domain.com requires another TXT record (with www for the hostname). The slicing up of properties into several means that analytics for each property are distinct. It also means that domain preference can be set for Google and Yandex as well.
Sitemap submission is the standard practice to inform search engines of the content available on sites for indexing. Once a sitemap is submitted some amount of reporting will become available in terms of the number of pages submitted, and whether they have been indexed or not.
All three webmaster tools have robots.txt testing tools, as that file can provide several directives to search engines. Along with the actual robots.txt file, there are meta tags in page headers for robots, including No-index, No-follow, No-archive (to stop the Internet Archive from indexing), no-ODP, and No-Yahoo Dir. The last two are about whether to use Open Directory or Yahoo Directory Title and Descriptions. Each of the five Robots meta tags are on a per-page basis, whereas there is one robots.txt file for each website. Since robots.txt (and meta tags) can tell search engine spiders what to index and follow, the Webmaster Tools can also indicate in reports whether there are files that it knows about, but cannot access. In Google these is called Blocked Resources. This can indicate if there is a discrepancy between the sitemap.xml file that has a list of indexable files, and robots.txt which can direct search crawlers to ignore. In Yandex, see Tools > Robots.txt Analysis, and in Bing, see
As always there are some internal files (for WordPress, for example) which should not be indexed, and possibly others.
Change of Address
In GWT, a change of address can be used when sites are moved beyond www. vs. no-www. For example, changing from http:// to https:// is a change of address, but changing from www.domain.com to domain.com is instead a Site Setting > Preferred Domain. In Bing, this is located in Diagnostics and Tools > Site Move, and in Yandex this is Indexing > Relocate Site.
- Bing: Diagnostics and Tools > Markup Validator
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