Those of you who know our SEO Group are very well aware about their frustrations with Bing Local. Once upon a time, Bing had a rather cumbersome process to claim a local business listing which involved waiting up to 6 months to get a postcard containing a PIN that we would enter on the web site to claim the business listing. Well, after much feedback from a rather large customer base, the good folks at Microsoft have created the Bing Business Portal, which is currently in BETA. This portal has streamlined the process to claim your Business listing, plus has added a wealth of value-added features that you can take advantage of at no-cost to promote your business.
How Do I Access The Bing Business Portal?
You can access the Bing Business Portal by going to https://www.bingbusinessportal.com. You will need to sign-in using your Windows Live Id. If you don’t have one, don’t worry. There is a prominent Sign Up button on the main page that will guide you through the process of getting your Windows Live Id.
How Do I Claim (or Add) My Bing Local Listing?
1. Once you are logged into the Business Portal, click the Listings button in the upper left corner of the screen, then click the Add button. The Find Your Listing form will be displayed. Enter Your Business Name, Address, City, State and Zip code into the Find Your Listing form, then click the Search button.
a. If there is a match for your business, your company information, along with a Claim Your Listing button will be displayed. Click the Claim Your Listing button. You will be asked to enter characters matching a specially generated code. Once you have entered the characters and submitted the information to Bing, you will see your company listed in the Bing Business Portal as Not Published. Proceed to step 2.
b. If there are no matches from your search, then you can Add Your Listing to Bing by clicking the Add new listing button. Enter your business information in the form and click the OK button. You will need to enter information additional information about your business before you can verify your listing.
2. Click the Verify button to verify that you have rights to this business listing. You will be given 2 options to verify your listing: Verify by Telephone, and Verify by E-Mail. Verify by Telephone is the quickest method. You will need to be near the telephone listed for your business to successfully complete the verification, as you will be prompted to enter a PIN displayed on your computer screen into your phone when prompted.
What tools and features does the Bing Business Portal have for my business?
We were pleasantly surprised to find a wealth of Tools and Features available to promote our company and customers. Keep in mind that since the Bing Business Portal is not completely ready for prime-time (it is still in BETA) not everything works perfectly. Included below is a summary of tools and features available in the portal by tab, including which are (and are not) ready for prime-time:
- Details Tab: This tab includes all of the main information about your company, like address, e-mail, phone numbers and web site. What I especially liked was the fact that you could add a link to your company’s Facebook and Twitter pages, and to upload your company’s logo.Ready for Prime Time: Definitely
- Profile Tab: This tab allows you to identify your company’s specialties (for example, architect, graphic designer, florist). My favorite feature is the ability to identify what percentage each specialty contributes towards your company’s total product or service offering.Ready for Prime Time: Definitely
- Mobile Tab: This tab provides 3 sets of functionality: create a mobile web site for your company, to create a QR Code that links to your mobile site (see our article on QR Codes at http://conta.cc/ihHv1X for more info), and create a window sticker with your company’s hours, web site address and QR Code that points to your mobile site. You can load up to 9 photos to your mobile site.Ready for Prime Time: Pretty close, but not yet
- Photos Tab: This tab allows you to upload up to 9 photos for your listing.Ready for Prime Time: Definitely
- More Details Tab: This tab provides the ability to identify languages spoken, professional affiliations, brands carried, parking options, hours of operation, and payment methods accepted (in addition to some of the information that you can also update from the Details tab)Ready for Prime Time: Definitely
This Bing Business Portal is a big step forward for Microsoft. Will it level the playing field with Google? Probably not yet, but given where Bing was this time last year, we’re excited to see where they will be a year from now. In the meantime, claim your business listing and take advantage of what the Bing Business Portal has to offer by going to https://www.bingbusinessportal.com.