Bing is finally trying to catch up with Google Maps and the Google Local Business Centre by making it slightly easier for businesses in the U.K. to secure placement on Bing Maps.
Register local listings on Bing For Business
Bing might not be anywhere near the top choice for UK searchers, but it is believed to have the potential to reach 30 million users in the U.K. through the search boxes available on various Microsoft properties such as Internet Explorer, MSN and Windows Live.
Businesses that register with Bing for Business in order to establish a local presence on Bing Maps could be more visible to consumers.
While Microsoft promotes Bing’s local service as a simple 3-step process for businesses wishing to increase their visibility on the search engine, the reality is not quite as simple.
First, business owners or representative must add their business details to Bing’s local listings. Rather than handling the process in-house, Bing U.K. has outsourced it to a company called 118information. The process breaks down here itself for many businesses.
Once the user has verified that the business is not alreay listed on 118information, a new listing can be submited via a form that requires the business details as well as details about a “Senior Decision Maker”.
Anyone with experience dealing with telemarketers will know that when someone asks for a “senior decision maker”, they are asking for permission to spam, online, offline and over the telephone!
Once a business has been verified, its information will be displayed on various Microsoft services including Instant Answers, Local Search and Maps.
The second and third steps that Microsoft recommend are registering the business website with Bing investing in pay per click advertising to highlight their products and service.
If Microsoft hopes to catch up with Google Maps or even local search services such as Yelp and FourSquare, they will definitely need to improve they way they go about collecting data to being with, in order to have a comprehensive set of listings, which users can then trust to deliver the results they need.