Duane Forrester, the Senior Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft Bing, announced that they will be retiring the Link Explorer tool found within Bing Webmaster Tools on October 1, 2015.
The Bing Link Explorer tool allowed you to discover links for competitive backlink analysis. It was praised when it launched in 2012 as Bing revitalized the Yahoo Site Explorer feature that closed down in 2011 when Bing and Yahoo formed their partnership.
Forrester said the tool is being shut down because the Webmaster Tools team at Bing won’t have access to run the queries they need to power the tool. “However, as the size of the Bing index has grown many times over since 2012, and as the architecture of our index has evolved to improve speed and efficiency, we no longer will have access to this information at query time going forward,” Duane Forrester said.
But no big deal, says Forrester. “Link Explorer was often misunderstood in that people were looking for the inbound links pointing to their own site in Link Explorer.” Yes, you can still explore how webmasters link to your site with the Bing Inbound link tool, that is not going away. While Link Explorer only showed a sampling of links, the inbound link tool shows up to 20,000 inbound links per page and has more advanced reporting for webmasters.
To get competitive link data, you will have to use third-party link tools, and you won’t be able to easily get this data from Bing or Google Webmaster Tools any more.