10 Basic Bing Local Optimization Tips

Local business marketers often hyper-focus on Google search rankings, but it’s important not to forget that even if Bing and Yahoo! do not have the lion’s share, even 15% of search volume can create a sizable number of potential business referrals. So, here are a few basic tips for optimizing for Bing Local search rankings.

Optimization of business profiles in the Bing Business Portal (or “BBP”) is not difficult nor time-consuming. Microsoft’s newish Beta interfacing for administrating business listing details is actually pretty slick and easy to use.

Bing Busiess Portal for optimizing business listings appearing in Bing Local search results.

10 Tips For Optimizing Local Business Listings In Bing

 

1.  The first key is to claim your business listing

As with other local search engines, having a business owner claim a listing helps to validate the information and establish that the business is active, helping increase “trust ranking” factors.

One of the hardest issues for local search engines and online directories to handle is figuring out which businesses have expired so that they can remove their listings from the databases — so, they have a horror of displaying stale listings to consumers. It’s reasonable to think that businesses which have some signal indicating they’re active will be more likely to be presented more prominently to searchers.

2.  Correct and standardize your basic business contact information

The core contact information needs to be consistently shown in all major places including in Bing Local. The basic contact data is the business Name, Address, and Phone # (a.k.a. “N.A.P.”) — along with the website URL.

3.  Add an image to your listing! 

One striking characteristic of Bing Local searches is how higher-ranking businesses appear to more frequently have images associated with their listings! (See also my earlier articles on optimizing images for local search here and here.) Could be that listings that have images are claimed, and rank higher due to that status, or it could be directly related to the presence of the thumbnails.

Either way, businesses that have pics may have greater chance of ranking well in Bing Local. Example – top two listings for a search for “intellectual property attorneys, chicago, il”: Thumbnail images with business listings in Bing Local search results.

4.  Set your hours of operation!

Bing Local business profiles actually include a small Bing - Business Open Sign sign icon. While I haven’t tested this, I wouldn’t be surprised if businesses might be a little more likely to rank better during times when they list themselves as being open, particularly in mobile search.

Even if it isn’t a direct ranking signal, however, the fact that the profile page gets the bright, attention-getting icon makes it worthwhile as a possibly conversion-increasing element!

5.  Check your categories, and add more where possible!

Business categories like “Plumbers”, “Florists”, and “Attorneys” are core elements involved in local search rankings, yet they can often be wrong or so minimally specified as to detract from the promotion potential that business listings would otherwise possess.

When a local search keyword matches a business’s category — either partially as a “fuzzy match” or as a thesaurus match — the listing is far more likely to rank for it.

6. Go a step beyond categories 

Bing appears to treat “Specialities” similarly to categories or like subcategories, so add relevant specialties.

7. For restaurants, integrate with OpenTable

Integrating with OpenTable to handle reservation scheduling will enable a convenient ”reservations” link to appear on the profile page in Bing.

8.  Add deals to your listing!

Bing appears to have also integrated with Groupon, so if you have a Groupon offer going on, it could appear with your local listing in Bing, too. But, Bing Group Deals may be set up directly within the BBP as well.

9.  Develop citations!

Just as with Google Place Search and Google Maps, Bing Local listings need to have citations and inlinks in order to rank well. Local citation sources which may be influential in Bing include YP.com, Superpages.com, Yahoo! Local, Manta, Judy’s Book, and more. Vertical directories also likely work well here, too, such as Restaurants.com, FindLaw.com, Dentists.com, Contractors.com, etc.

10.  Optimize your local business website

Having a well-optimized local biz website helps all of your external optimizations work hand-in-hand with the on-site optimization. Businesses with good website optimization have a better chance of ranking well and getting found by consumers seeking their products and services.

Bing and other search engines compare listing information against the information found on the website, so keeping the listing data and “N.A.P.” consistent helps reinforce and validate the vital local search criteria.

These basic local optimization tips are pretty obvious to any experienced local marketer, but it’s always amazing how many local businesses fail to check their listings for correctness, consistency and areas where information may be expanded or enhanced.

Sites which follow these simple tips often get an edge over their competition — and, in internet marketing the “early worm” which grabs marketshare first often gets an advantage that extends well into the future. For more details around optimizing local directory profiles, see my earlier article, Anatomy & Optimization Of A Local Business Profile.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Local Search Column | Microsoft: Bing Maps & Local

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About The Author: is President of Argent Media, and serves on advisory boards for Universal Business Listing and FindLaw. Follow him @si1very on Twitter.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



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  • http://www.stingraysocial.com David Foertsch

    Hi Chris, any insights yet on the changeover from Navteq to Nokia maps for Bing’s local listings? I was having a terrible time with bad pin locations for a bulk upload done months ago. Spent considerable time working with Bing Business Portal support, was told to make updates directly with Navteq, only to find that the Navteq interface was migrated to the new Nokia interface.

    Needless to say, if the maps ultimately display bad locations for businesses, it may do more damage than good.

  • http://silvery.com Chris Silver Smith

    I haven’t done a comparison yet between the Navteq and Nokia maps, although I’m interested following the recent announcements of expanded partnership between Nokia and Microsoft (http://searchengineland.com/nokia-now-powering-bing-maps-108598 ).

    I will say from a technical perspective that pinpoint coordinates from one provider should generally transfer to another provider pretty closely. Usually the technicians overseeing the transfer might have to make an adjustment to how the requests are communicated to a new system (such as changing a minus sign across all latitude values). For instance, I can often take a lat/long pair (such as: 30.584,-96.281583) and view it in multiple mapping systems, and the pinpoint will fall in virtually the same place across the board.

    There are exceptions to the rule-of-thumb (see my article from some years ago explaining mapping errors http://searchengineland.com/top-causes-of-errors-in-online-mapping-systems-13715 ), but usually the magnitude of difference is pretty light — such as moving a pinpoint across a narrow street, or shifting it to the business next door. With those light shifts in pinpointing, there’s essentially going to be zero effect on a local business, because the map achieved its goal: it brought the consumer to the location, and they have to carry about navigating their way on the final steps to the storefront and entrance.

    The more serious exceptions to the rule could possibly involve instances where the listing database may have only been supplied with less precise coordinate pairs — fewer degrees of accuracy. The shift could be greater in those cases, but I would expect them to be rare.

    I’m assuming you may be supplying coordinates with your bulk upload. That would be the best option, since it reduces chances for error. If you’re only supplying street addresses, then whatever mapping system is in use will automatically geocode the addresses, which can introduce many more chances for error — which can’t be completely blamed upon the mapping system. If street addresses are not normalized properly, or if an address is newer and not mapped in the current database of a system it will result in improper geocoding. If you have the option of supplying coordinates with your listings you should use it to reduce problems.

    I may be misunderstanding what you’re referring to in your last statement — if you’re saying that it would be better not to have listings in Bing at all because the mapped locations might shift a little following their migration to a new system, I can’t really agree. I’d rather consumers would have a chance of finding my listing among my competitors, even if the locations are displayed a little bit off on the map.

  • http://www.stingraysocial.com David Foertsch

    Thanks for your reply. I’l have to go back & do a comparison on the Lat/Long for the misplaced pins. Some of them were set as much as one mile away from the correct location. The attempts to fix pin locations via their Bing’s user interface didn’t go live. It’s possible those changes got pre-empted by the cutover from Navteq to Nokia.

    If I find anything particularly interesting I’ll report back. Hopefully though this is just a case of operator error.

  • http://www.stingraysocial.com David Foertsch

    Hi again Chris, I had some time this week to dig back into my Bing problems. First clarification – the bulk upload template does not have fields for Latitude & Longitude. So their map provider must be geocoding themselves. Guess that explains why 13 of the 26 listings came up with bad pin positioning.

    My experience with the Bing Business Portal has gone from bad to worse since our last exchange. It seems Bing has removed the ability of “enterprise” BBP accounts to make records changes in the portal. Everything must be provided via spreadsheet bulk upload. I wrote about it today on my blog, and included a timeline. Hoping somehow I can catch the attention of someone from Bing. If you have any Bing Local contacts I’d love a chance to share my experience with them.. At this point I just want to get the maps correct.

    Blog can be read at http://www.stingraysocial.com/1/post/2012/02/i-lament-ever-meeting-the-bing-business-portal.html

 

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