I have to disclose some personal bias. I’m a Google man. I have been basically since around the time that “google” became a shorthand for “to search,” and they really pulled me in when they launched Chrome, which is still my browser today. As you can imagine, when Microsoft released the Bing search engine, I was nonplussed.
That wasn’t just because of my bias, however. Search engines get better with time. The more search strings they handle, the more they can evaluate how well users are getting the results they want and, ultimately, improve their algorithms to make the process even better. Thus, a new search engine is extremely unlikely to offer anything as good as a more established one can. Even as Bing caught up to Google in terms of search effectiveness, I figured both offer similar results so why make the switch?
But Bing knows that’s what they’re up against, and has been working hard to give people a reason to change over. I recently spotlighted Bing’s great new image search functionality, and now they’ve rolled out another new feature—this one for businesses.
Listing Your Business Just Got Easier
The new features, rolled out at the beginning of April, make it easier for your business to get listed on Bing Places—Bing’s equivalent of a Google Maps/Google Plus listing. The listing is important because it puts your business and your physical location everywhere Bing users can see it, most notably on Bing Maps. This helps your customers and also improves your local SEO. Claiming your listing allows you to respond to customer reviews.
Taking care of this listing, however, is something that a lot of business owners don’t handle themselves. Instead, they often leave this sort of work to their SEO or digital marketing agency. This is particularly helpful when you don’t have a lot of technical background yourself, or when you have a lot of locations to list and want to make sure they’re all covered.
And that’s where the new update comes in. Previously, Bing required that business owners claim their own listings (which put SEO agencies in the uncomfortable position of pretending to be their clients) and it was difficult to add lots of locations in bulk. Now, your SEO agency can sign up in your behalf and do the work quickly for you.
It works like this:
- Your SEO consultant signs up at Bing Places.
- Bing sends you a request to verify the consultant really does work for you. This only happens once and it’s all you have to do.
- Your consultant claims or adds your listings in bulk, up to 10,000 at once.
This is a minor thing, but it addresses one of those pain points that lots of businesses have faced. The process to get your business listings online is now faster, easier, and there’s no hassle if you’re outsourcing it. It’s a big improvement.
Does this mean I’m ready to change my default search engine to Bing? Not yet, but the very fact that they’ve got me considering it is proof of how far they’ve come.