The New Bing Business Portal And What It Means To Your Local Business

by on April 11, 2011 · 27 comments

Today Bing launched the Bing Business Portal, replacing the Bing Local Listing Center. And WOW, what a difference!

The new Bing Business Portal comes with a ton of new capabilities that weren’t present in the previous one.

Bing Business Portal screen shot

The New Bing Business Portal

I went through and claimed a few businesses and found the phone verification process to be very smooth and efficient.

Bing Business Portal Highlights

In addition to the ability to claim, customize and manage local business listings as you could before, they have added some really nice new features:

  • Create a mobile site and QR code so customers can learn about your business on mobile devices
  • Add links to Facebook and Twitter to your business listing
  • Create and download a window sticker with your business contact info and a QR code
  • Create Deals (coupons) and promote them for free on Bing (both PC and Mobile) and Facebook

They also allow you to authorize others to manage your listings. This is huge – because many local businesses rely on professionals to help them manage and optimize their listings. With Google Places there is no such delegation, so business owners end up having to allow consultants to log in via their email address, or create a new Google Account just to manage the Place Page.

I also noticed that Bing allows you to hide your business address from the listing, which is important for home-based businesses or businesses that don’t want people showing up on their doorstep.

Claiming Your Business

I found the process for claiming your business to be smooth and easy. You claim your business here: http://www.bing.com/businessportal
Going through the process, you enter the basic information about your Business and Bing searches to see if it can find it.

Bing Business Portal - Claim Your Business

Claiming Your Business in the Bing Business Portal

Once Bing finds your business information, you go ahead and claim it using the Claim button. There are two options for verification – by phone or mail. I verified via phone and was done in 2 minutes.

Verifying your business in the Bing Business Portal

Verifying your business in the Bing Business Portal

Filling Out Your Business Profile

After verification, Bing takes you through a series of steps to add additional information about your business and complete your profile. You can even define your products and their prices, which will show up on your profile and on your mobile site. When you are done you can preview and publish it live.

Completing your Bing Business Portal profile

Completing your Bing Business Portal profile

Creating Your Mobile Site and QR Code

Now for the interesting part – Bing has a designer tool that allows you to create a little mobile website for your business. It has features to change colors, highlight your products, map and call buttons. I couldn’t get it to make it look really nice, but there is some potential here. It even gives you the URL to your mobile site.

Bing Business Portal - Mobile Website Designer Screenshot

Bing Business Portal - Mobile Website Designer

You can also create a QR code that you can display on your Window Sticker or other offline advertisements. A person with a smartphone can use a QR code reader to scan this code and be taken instantly to your mobile website on Bing complete with map and directions.

Bing Business Profile QR Code

Bing Business Profile QR Code

Creating Deals (Coupons)

But wait, there’s more! Bing also allows you to create and display deals. They’ve got a little deal “designer” interface that allows you to lay it out, upload images, etc.

Bing Business Profile - Deals Designer

Bing Business Profile - Deals Designer

These deals can appear in the Bing Daily Deals mobile site: http://m.bing.com. Bing says “Every day, certain Deals created by local merchants will be highlighted on the Deals section of the mobile site.” Criteria for having your deals show up are listed in the Bing Business Portal FAQ.

Wrap Up

I’m certainly very excited to see how this pans out. Bing says that all existing local listings have been moved over to the new Bing Business Portal, but I found a few businesses that were dropped. I will definitely be claiming these profiles for my clients.

Claiming and completing this profile is very important to your local search rankings, even in Google. Having more autoritative “citations” of your business helps with your rankings. And now that Bing powers Yahoo search, Bing represents over 25% of the search traffic.

As Greg Sterling said his his Search Engine Land piece, the real opportunity for Bing is to provide a more “human” support experience for small business owners who are so frustrated with the “algorithmic” approach that Google is taking toward Google Places.

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Don is an entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley. He founded Expand2Web and is the publisher of the Expand2Web Blog, the SmallBiz WordPress Theme and the GetFiveStars Customer Feedback and Reviews service.

Don has written 279 articles on Expand2Web

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

David Brinton April 12, 2011 at 5:50 am

Great info. Appreciate the research and paing it forward. Please keep me up to date.

Reply

JamesD April 12, 2011 at 6:05 am

There is a help link at bottom of the publish page that pops up one of those help graphics. It explains how to make your mobile site nicer looking.

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Don Campbell April 12, 2011 at 7:33 am

Hi James, yes I saw that – they have some nice “comic” like explanations of the mobile site and the QR codes. I think I’m missing some design sense because I couldn’t make the mobile site look very nice even after reading their little tutorial. (It just shows you how to change colors…)

Reply

Kiwi April 12, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Thanks Don, Love the “authorize others to manage your listings” feature. Amazing Google still hasn’t figured this out yet with all that money any brain power.

Cheers, Kiwi.

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Joan April 12, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Don… great info as usual! Can’t wait to try all of this out! :)

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Syl April 12, 2011 at 3:00 pm

great article..bing is good???

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john chartrand April 12, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Is it now available for Canada. The last time I tried setting up an account and when I just about finished the whole process, I learned it was only available in the USA.

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Dave Snell April 12, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Thanks so much for the heads up. This is the first time in the six years I have been working in the local search space that Microsoft or Yahoo have allowed Canadian businesses to claim/create their business listing. Up to now it has been all Google. Bing has leapfrogged Google in local search and provided small business owners with entry to the mobile market. As far as my business goes, this is another arrow in the quiver of services to offer my clients.

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Melanie January 21, 2013 at 10:50 am

Hi Dave. I’m confused. I went to Bing’s Business Portal, searched for my company, found it, and tried to Claim it. Bing told me that no Canadian companies can be claimed. Now what? Do you have a solution? If so, please share.
Melanie

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john chartrand April 12, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Thanks Dave

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Derek Carroll April 12, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Far out!
Things just seem to get better and better for local SEO work. There is so much opportunity to help the locals now, and earn a “pretty penny” at the same time.
Thanks again for the heads-up Don.

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Dan Lee April 13, 2011 at 2:42 am

Great info, thanks for passing it on.

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Tina Thelen April 13, 2011 at 4:09 am

Good article! Up until now I’ve always used Google and Yahoo for my searches, so should I switch over to Bing? Is it a better business resource, or do I use it along with Google and Yahoo? Plus, I’m a FireFox user, how does that affect my browser? Thanks!

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Don Campbell April 14, 2011 at 10:41 am

Tina,
It’s not a matter of either/or. I use them both. And Bing powers Yahoo searches now anyway. This is just another great place to claim a local business and increase the presence online. It helps your business show up in Bing searches, as well as Google searches because it acts as another citation or mention of your business name, address, phone number and url.

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Mark Bagley April 13, 2011 at 6:39 am

Nice article. Had not realized Google had not yet got the capability to let agents act on behalf of business owners.

Obviously this is crying out for someone to manage all this for a business, it is getting too much to keep updated. Yelp, Google, Facebook, Foursquare, Bing

Mark

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Don Campbell April 14, 2011 at 10:44 am

Very good point Mark.
Too bad the services don’t have good APIs for managing this stuff. So its hard to build a programmatic solution. Services like Localeze allow you to manage business information and they have agreements with the major search providers (and Facebook & Twitter) but the best practice is still to claim the big profiles manually and completely fill them out.

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jo shaer April 13, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Thanks for the heads up, Don. It looks like it might also be available in the UK too.

I do have a question about clients who work from home and dont want their addresses posted all over the internet. Is there a similar function to what Google does which allows you to not show your actual address just the area/radius that your business covers?

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Don Campbell April 13, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Hi Jo,
Yes, Google introduced that capability last year. You can hide your address in the Place Page.

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john chartrand April 13, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Wow, I didn’t know that the address could be hidden. I thought the two most important criteria for Google Places was the name of the business and the address of the business.

Don, could you clarify this for me.

thanks
John

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Don Campbell April 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm

John – good question. Ideally you do want to display your business address (Google and Bing still collect it when you fill out your profile) but in the case of a home based business for example, people don’t want to share it. Or a mobile auto mechanic that visits you and has no garage to visit. In these cases a business still wants to claim a profile and be found in searches for their area. It’s not idea but it is a nice option to not exclude those businesses.

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Linda Dresses April 18, 2011 at 10:15 pm

how about websites our of US?
I think we can’t be verified. -_-

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herla April 20, 2011 at 8:19 pm

such a nice posting, bing is great

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Leese April 21, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Don, What do you mean when you say that Bing now allows you to “authorize others to manage your listings”? What’s different now than before with regards to that? Also, with phone verification, it looks like they now have it set up to dynamically generate the PIN… but only *after* pressing the “Call Me Now” button. This makes it really difficult for agencies. Before, they used to provide the PIN up front and we could tell the client what that PIN was ahead of time when we were explaining the verification process. Now, it’s pretty much impossible for an agency to use phone verification to validate client listings…unless there’s something I’m misunderstanding. Any insight you have would be greatly appreciated. :) Thanks!

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Jamie Fairbairn April 22, 2011 at 2:33 am

Hi Don, nice post on this topic, I also blogged about it this week. It will be interesting to see how Google reacts to the Bing Business Portal as every blog I’ve read about it has been very complimentary on what Bing have done so far.

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Curtis Simpson April 22, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Thanks for the heads up on this Don. I appreciate the info like I have on other info you have provided. I added one of my businesses to Bing and it was actually fun to do. Now I’m waiting for snail mail to deliver my pin # and I’ll complete registration. If I were doing this for a client then the client would need to receive the Pin # and let me know for me to complete the process, right?

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maythan December 7, 2011 at 11:53 pm

hi..i just want to ask if bing business portal allow multiple business listing with the same physical address??and is there any cost?..thanks

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joy October 6, 2012 at 1:59 am

great article, I hope this bing portal can impprove my web business, and thank to you Don Campbell, you allow me to know this . i’m waiting for another article from u , great job

Reply

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