Optimizing for Bing Places: Is it worth it?
Despite its limitations compared to Google Business Profile, Bing Places can be a solid source of local organic traffic for some industries.
While Microsoft Bing sees nice market share gains after releasing their new Bing Chatbot feature, it still has a long way to go before it can catch up with Google’s market dominance.
That said, we can start taking advantage of Bing’s increasing user volume. On the local SEO side, this means turning to Bing Places to test if optimizing on that platform can help generate more local traffic.
The question is: Is spending time optimizing for Bing Places worth it? If it is worth it, what optimizations will have the biggest impact on rankings?
To find out, my team and I tested optimizing some client listings on Bing and measuring the impact.
Should you claim and optimize a Bing Places listing?
Every business should claim and set up their Bing Places listing.
Single-location businesses can easily import their Google Business Profile (GBP) information to Bing. Just ensure all fields are correctly filled out.
Bing only syncs GBP accounts with less than 10 listings, so multi-location businesses with 10+ listings must use a bulk upload file instead.
Claiming and optimizing a multi-location business’ Bing Places listings
We started our test with a client with multiple physical locations. After claiming and optimizing their Bing Places listings (including adding keywords to the name), we saw website traffic and conversions increase almost immediately.
How did we do it? We identified all the client’s listings on Bing Places, claimed and fully optimized them to match the GBP listings. We added UTM tags to the website URLs to track all the traffic in Google Analytics.
Some edits we made took a few attempts to stick, but ultimately, they worked. We then kicked it up a notch and tested two more advanced SEO tactics – incorporating keywords and fighting spam.
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Keywords in the business name
We wanted to test if adding keywords to the business name on Bing Places impacts rankings like adding keywords in the business name help on Google Business Profile.
The short answer is yes. Keywords in the business name have a positive impact on rankings on Bing, too. A few days after the keywords went live, rankings increased and stabilized over time.
However, how you add those keywords matters.
We encountered instances where the name we entered in the dashboard didn't appear on the listing.
It seems Bing has some prevention for keyword stuffing. Rather than giving you an error (the dashboard lists the keyword stuffing), it simply doesn't display what you entered.
When we contacted Bing support about this, they told us:
"Bing would standardize the name of the listing if the name is being spammed. Spamming includes the following examples:
- Adding Location to the Business Name – for example, Miami Pizza London Bridge.
- Adding former Business Names – for example, Miami Pizza, formerly Pizza Mario.
- Keyword Stuffing in Business Name – for example, Miami Pizza – pasta, calzone, burgers, chips.
- [Hours of operation] (HOOP) addition to Business Name – for example, Miami Pizza – open 4 PM to late.
- Descriptive Text added to Business Name – for example, Miami Pizza – Great quality food by Chef Luigi."
Spam fighting on Bing Maps
Anyone who uses Bing can probably tell the map search results are filled with spam listings.
It can be frustrating for business owners to see, but is the effort it takes to remove a listing from Bing Maps worth it?
First, it's important to note there is no option to report a listing as spam on Bing Maps. The only way to take action is to suggest an edit to change certain details on a listing.
So we tested changing a business name that was clearly keyword stuffing and found Bing doesn't seem to take action when you edit a business name.
We then identified some fake listings, but the only option is to report "Permanently Closed." This only seems to work in a small number of edits.
Spending time spam fighting within Bing Maps is not worth the effort.
If the maps related to your industry are littered with spam (i.e., locksmiths or garage door repair), it's imperative that your Bing Places listing is correct, filled out, and has a few reviews so your business can stand out.
Optimizing for Bing Places
Despite its management limitations compared to GBP, Bing Places can be a solid source of local organic traffic for some – but not all – industries.
If your business or client is currently getting traffic and conversions from Bing, then consider giving Bing Places a try and adding it to your local SEO strategy.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
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