Today Bing has launched its improved business portal for local businesses to compete with Google Places in the online business listing market. This is great news for local businesses as it gives them another channel to market their products, services and business details. The Bing Business Portal replaces the old Bing Local Listing Center.
Bing has made great strides since their search deal with Yahoo! in improving its user experience and search results quality. This has led to an increase in market share particularly in the US markets. Competition in search engines is great as it gives multiple channels in which to advertise and promote a business, as well as more choice for consumers. More competition drive innovation which will lead to addtional features and marketing options.
Setting up your Bing local business listing
This is a great post on how to set up your listing and some more info from Bing about what your listing can do for you. Setting up your listing is relatively easy – and there are a number of great features added to the Bing Business Portal that weren’t there with the Bing Local Listing Center.
A couple of new features have been added which are great for local businesses. A QR code (quick response) on each listing has been added which is a code that acts like a barcode which can be read by many QR codereaders on most smart phone cameras. Scanning this QR code will take visitors to a mobile website created by Bing for a local business.
I particularly liked the Facebook integration where you can post deals to your Facebook fan page wall through the Bing Business Portal. I can see a benefit in having the link between these two with comments and ratings becoming more closely intertwined between Facebook and Bing.
Positive ratings and comments will no dobut impact on rankings for local search queries within Bing (as they do on Google) so it is important to make sure your listing is optimised and kept up to date (and with good reviews!).
The update to the Bing local business section further highlights the importantance both Google and Bing are placing on local search. It also puts some more pressure on Google Places to add some more features to match Bing’s offering which is great for local businesses and local search in general.
There will be SEO implications within the local search results page, as all local queries on Bing will use the information from the Bing Business Portal to display in its search results similar to how Google does with its Places pages. Currently most of the details are sourced from the Yellow Pages directory.
Overall it is a great step forward for Bing in the local marketing space, and a very much improved channel for local businesses to help maximise exposure.