As SEO experts, we want the search engines to provide robust, powerful and (preferably) free tools to help us get our jobs done. In April, Bing launched Bing Places for Business, replacing their previous product, Bing Business Portal. Rest assured, all Bing Business Portal data was migrated over to the new Bing Places for Business.
With this new product, this is our chance to take advantage of a new, easy-to-use tool to quickly optimize our local listings. With the rollout of the Google Carousel, there is no doubt these two search giants are getting ready to go back in forth in local search.
Additionally, with the recent announcement of Apple and Bing's mobile search, is Bing getting ready to make a more serious run at market share attainment?
As I digress back to Bing Places, Ginny Sandhu, Senior Product Manager at Bing described the new product:
With Bing Places for Business claiming and verifying your business on Bing is quick and easy. Our most recent updates ensure that you can put your business in front of customers searching online for products and services you offer. We are committed to helping you connect with customers online and will be introducing more updates in the upcoming months, which will make it even easier to put your business online and promote it actively.
When thinking about SEO, Bing's Duane Forrester emphasizes the importance of utilizing Bing Places for Business, "It can be a way to double dip in the SERP, as their Places listing data can appear, with them ranked up top in the organic stack."
Bing's goal it to provide businesses with tools to easily and quickly find local customers online. To meet this goal, Bing Places for Business includes a powerful bulk upload feature to manage multiple listings at once (no more emailing spreadsheets). This is one feature I enjoy from Google than I am glad Bing has brought about as well.
Making it even easier, Bing also provides an upload feature that supports the Google+ Local format, thanks Bing! So, you now have the tools to quickly manage your business reputation online. Here's how:
Go to BingPlaces.com and claim your listing. By claiming your listing, you are adding authority and trust, therefore helping your local organic rankings on Bing.
All the information you add in Bing Places for Business will trump other data sources and begin showing up on Bing. Finding your listing is easy. Just enter your phone number, or business name and location.
If the information is inaccurate, here's your chance to fix it. Add your business address, phone number, email, website, hours of operation, payment options, parking options, etc. You can even list top brands you carry at that location.
Make it Relevant
Within Bing Places for Business, you can see what categories have been automatically associated with your listing. Here you can pick new categories or remove categories that might be irrelevant. Take advantage of this feature to help your listing rank appropriately against relevant local searches.
Make it Pop
You have the chance to make your listing stand out for free, so do it. Add photos (up to 10) and videos (up to 5) and make your business shine.
Nothing draws a customer's eyes to your listing better than an image. Remember, customers have a lot of options to choose from, so you may as well take full advantage and make your listing pop.
Make it Social
Unlike Google+, Bing is inclusive of all social networks. With Bing Places for Business, you can build your online presence by adding your Facebook and Twitter URLs. So, take advantage of all that social media work you're doing and keep your social community connected to your local listing.
If you haven't yet, check out Bing Places for Business to claim, edit, and control your listing while also making it pop and making it social. Is Bing Places for Business better than Google+ Local? Maybe not... yet. However, according to Bing, there are new and exciting features rolling out later this summer.
Since launching Bing Places for Business is the first step in the right direction, we're excited to see what's next and as stated previous, I am sure the search behemoths will be going back in forth with advancements quite a bit through the rest of this year.