The majority of search-driven digital marketing is focused on Google’s offerings. This is totally understandable given Google’s overwhelming dominance of the search engine market. So we tend to think about Google search rather than Bing search. We think about Google Ads before we think about Microsoft Advertising, and we think about Google My Business (GMB) rather than Microsoft’s Bing Places for Business. In fact, you may not even have heard of Bing Places.
What is Bing Places for Business?
Bing Places is Microsoft’s equivalent offering to Google’s Google My Business. Bing Places for Business is a Bing portal which enables local business owners to add a listing for their business on Bing. As with Google My Business, Bing Places is absolutely free and any owner of a local business can add a listing.
A Bing Places listing is triggered when a relevant search term is typed into the Bing search engine. The listing consists of a map with a number of business listings underneath. A prospective customer can then click into the listing itself, or go straight to the business’s website. The screen grab below shows my own business Norm’s Computer Services in first position underneath a local map.
As you can see the listing is fairly simple, providing basic contact details and a link to a business website.
How Do I Set Up My Bing Places Listing?
The place to begin is at Microsoft’s Bing Places for Business website. One of the first things you’ll see when you arrive there is that Microsoft may have already created a listing for your business. In this case, all you’ll have to do is to claim the existing listing and prove that it’s yours. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to modify the details of the listing, rather than just utilise what Microsoft has created for you. In particular you’ll want to add additional details. For the purpose of this article I shall assume that you’re starting from scratch.
Begin by clicking on the button at the bottom of the screen labelled New user Get started and claim your business. The next screen will show you that, if you do already have a GMB listing, you can actually import that listing. If this is the case this means that you won’t have to do much work at all on your new Bing Places listing. Again, for the purpose of this article, I shall assume that you’re starting from scratch and you don’t have a GMB listing. So you should click on the button that says Claim or add your business manually.
On the next screen you’ll select your business type and then provide the business name and location. The location will need to be at the postcode level rather than a higher level such as the city in which you operate. The next screen will show you whether Microsoft already has a listing for your business, or not.
As you can see you can choose to Claim and edit details for your business if it has been found. If it hasn’t been found, you can click on My business is not listed in the search results and you will then be given the option to Create new business. Whichever option you choose, you’ll be asked to sign up or sign in with your Microsoft account on the next screen. Once you’ve done that you can begin to edit the details of your listing.
Entering Your Business Details
You will now be taken through a number of screens in which you can enter your business details. The starting point is to enter your business name, telephone number, address, and website URL. On the next page you can select your business segment by browsing predefined segments. You should select the closest match you can find, rather than the I am not sure option, if at all possible.
Next you can select the categories in which your business operates. This is essential information for Microsoft in order to match your business to relevant search queries. You should then add a detailed description of your business and what you offer.
On the next screen you can specify whether customers are expected to visit you at your address. You may be a business providing services at customer locations in which case you would choose to hide your physical address. You can leave the store code blank if you’re only adding one listing.
On the following screen you can add your email address and additional contact details including your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
You now come to the penultimate screen where you can add up to 100 photographs illustrating your business. You’ll see that there are four categories for your photos: Interior, Exterior, Other and Logo. Then on the final page you can add your business hours, or you can choose to show that you’re open 24×7. Then click Submit to submit your listing to Microsoft for approval.
Assuming you were adding your business from scratch, you’ll need to verify your listing using the instructions provided. Once verified, the listing will be published and available in Bing search for potential customers.
A Bing Places for Business listing is another essential component in a balanced digital marketing strategy. It complements your search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts, your pay per click (PPC) advertising, your GMB listing, and any other digital marketing tools you may be utilising. As with a GMB listing, a Bing Places listing is completely free.
In terms of content it’s actually easier to maintain a Bing Places listing than a GMB listing, as the features of the listing are more limited. Unlike a GMB listing it’s not possible to post updates or to receive reviews directly in the listing. All you really need to do is to keep your details and business description up to date.
This article was written by Norm McLaughlin, founder of Norm’s Computer Services, a local computer repair business in Brisbane, Australia.