(Edit March 2014) Since writing this article, Bing has changed! Local business listings are now controlled by Bing rather than a 3rd party. Find out more on this post, “How to Add Your UK Business to Bing Places [Video]”
If I am honest, I have often overlooked Bing and Bing local business search.
Well to be frank, the search percentage was so small and getting your local business in the UK Bing Local Business Directory involved jumping through so many hoops, it was hardly worth the effort.
As always, the Internet never stays static, things change and your business must keep ahead of the changes.
Bing and Yahoo
Recently, Bing and Yahoo combined forces in an effort to reduce Google’s stranglehold on the search market. Bing now provide Yahoo’s search results.
Bing combined search now commands almost 30% of the US search market and in the UK, Bing (without Yahoo) is the fastest growing search engine. So, while Google maintain their domination here (85% of all UK searches in April 2011), the “search alliance” is coming to the UK and it is best to be prepared.
Bing and Google are very different search engines, their algorithms look for different characteristics when choosing the organic rankings. Organic rankings are the free listings, and getting to the top takes some patience, work and skill.
The differences in local search results are best shown in a screen shot, for this example I have chosen the phrase – plumber Liverpool..
Bing Search Results
Google Search Results
The most noticeable difference is in the organic search results. As you can see, Google rank a lot of directory listings, whereas Bing prefer matched domain names. A matched domain name simply means the words “plumber” and “Liverpool” are in the domain name.
This is a good technique to use for Google rankings too, matched domains do carry some weight. (Note; this post was written in 2011 – Google isn’t a fan of matched domains. See this article on SEO Roundtable.)
Links pointing to your website is another important factor. Links are like a popularity vote, the more people link TO you the better! You can actually rank an empty web page on Google just by link building, I have no idea why you would want to, but its possible. (Note; in 2011 this was indeed the case! Google are now a LOT more choosy about how you link to your website.)
Bing on the other hand are a bit more choosy.
Rather than a race to get the most links in from anywhere, editorial links are more valuable. Those are links within blog posts and articles (like this one – My Local Business Online) rather than bookmarking and profiles.
A final word on organic listings, Bing do prefer content rich websites, both on individual web pages and throughout the site. Having a “thin” website, like a one page business card type site won’t do you any favours.
Is it worth optimising your website for Bing Local Business search listings?
To be honest, if you correctly optimise your website on-page and focus on providing good quality content written for readers rather than search bots, then there is little difference between Bing and Google. Google optimisation does tend to focus on link building, if you use a variety of linking strategies then you will encompass Bing’s requirements.
The main decision will be your domain name – do you want to be Smiths Plumbing and Heating (i.e your company name) or Smiths Liverpool Plumbers?
Getting your business listed in the UK Bing Local Directory (the equivalent of Google Places) is a bit more involved. It doesn’t help that these listings are sub-contracted out to 118 at the moment either. Considering Bing advertise themselves as “best for business”, they really do not make it easy to find this information.
I have included a short report about how to get listed on Bing Local UK on the Local Listings download page.
To get your local listings report, simply fill in your name and email address in the blue box below.Bing Local Business Search - Is it worth the effort? by Jan Kearney