Millions of people across the country use the major search engines, Google, Bing and Yahoo. Appearing in their search results is extremely valuable for small businesses. All three have a directory service that collects information on local businesses to surface them in relevant search results. The fact that these services – Google+, Bing Local, and Yahoo Local – exist levels the playing field for local businesses, and allows customers to search for goods and services available in their neighborhood.
Although Google controls roughly 67 percent of the search market, Bing has 18 percent, so it should not be discounted. With 18 percent market share, why not take advantage of Bing’s large user base?
The Value of Bing Local Listings for Businesses
Like Google and Yahoo, Bing sources information from its local listings for local search results (i.e. “find restaurants near me”). Listing your business in Bing Local will allow Bing to populate search results with your business’ information whenever it is relevant to a user search. It will also increase your overall web presence, which helps to improve your ranking on search engines across the board.
Your listing will feature a map location, reviews from your Yelp page, and your overall Yelp rating. Further, if you include your hours of operation, Bing will automatically tell customers whether or not you are currently open for business.
Claim and Optimize your Bing Local Listing
As with Google+, Yelp, Yahoo Local and other sites, Bing gets directory information from secondary sources so your business may be indexed without you having done anything. However, Bing encourages business owners to claim their sites, which allows them to update and validate their business information. A listing that has been validated will be featured more prominently than one that has not. Below, we’ll show steps for claiming and optimizing your Bing Local listing:
- Regardless of whether or not you already have a listing, go to the Bing Business Portal and follow the instructions. It’s fast, easy and loaded with tools and options. If you have more than ten business locations, Bing’s bulk upload tool lets you list up to 10,000 locations in one easy step.
- Log in and enter as much pertinent information about your business as possible. Be sure to include striking photographs, which will not only draw attention to your listing but convey the essence of your business to your customers. Actual photographs from your business are preferable to generic clip art. Customers want to see what your business looks like so they know what to expect.
- Select as many relevant categories as you can for your business so that it will show up in searches. Then, go a step beyond categories and add specialties. Bing uses specialties as subcategories, so add as many relevant specialties as you can.
- Remember, Bing and other search engines compare listing information with what is found on your website, so make sure your website includes all the same information, specialties and keywords.
Is Bing Local the Right Platform for your Business?
The Internet offers many opportunities to get your business out in front of customers. While many of these listings are essentially free advertising, managing them can eat up quite a bit of your precious time. As a major player in the search engine domain, however, Bing Local should be one of your first choices after Google+ for a local listing.