One of the most intense battles being waged by the search engines is the battle for local dominance. As more people look to local results and search via mobile device, locally relevant content is in high demand. Google seemed to be leading the pack with it’s variety of local products such as Places, Latitude, and HotPot (now discontinued), but it appears that Bing has upped the ante with a beta launch of Bing Business Portal.
Though in Beta, the “Bing Business Portal” has replaced the “Bing Local Listings Center” in the U.S. and includes all of the features that were available in the original listings center, but with some added bonuses.
Enhanced listings offer up some additional details about your business in an effort to make business listings more relevant and to drive more visitors to your business. While many of the “enhanced” features already existed, some noteworthy changes are the addition of 6 additional categories and keywords and the ability to link to your Twitter and Facebook profiles.
Deals and Offers
Coupons and promotions are nothing new to the local search space, but Bing seems to have streamlined the process in a way that makes it easy for promotions to be shared and also makes the deals prominent in their search results without making businesses pay extra for it.
With Bing Business Portal businesses can create a discount coupon, promotion or rebate. The system’s new Deal Editor allows businesses to select a specific offer category, a type (dollar amount, dollars off, percentage off, etc.), and add information describing the offer, such as photos and expiration date or a disclaimer. Once done, businesses can then promote the offer in Bing’s search results, on their local business listing and on their Facebook Page. If that weren’t enough, they will also appear in the deals tab in Bing’s mobile browser.
Overall these are some nice improvements to Bing’s local services. The inclusion of services like Twitter and Facebook will be huge for local businesses participating in the social realm, and the fact you can publish Bing Business Portal deals on your Facebook page is just icing on the cake. In the coming months our plastic surgery internet marketing clients will begin to reap the benefits of this service as we update and enhance their Bing listings to ensure they are getting the full benefits of this new service.