Complete Guide to Bing’s New Local Business Portal

Filed in Bing, Featured, Local Search, MY BEST POSTS by Matt McGee on April 12, 2011 56 Comments

bing-business-portal-logoBing’s local search tools and features don’t get a lot of airplay compared to Google, but that could – and should — change after today’s launch of an entirely new local listings tool for business owners. It’s called the Bing Business Portal and it has some features that should make Google Places green with envy.

The first thing to know is that it replaces Bing’s old Local Listings Center. The new URL for the business portal is www.bing.com/businessportal. On first visit, you’ll be able to either A) create a new Bing business listing, or B) manage your existing listing.

How to Add a New Bing Business Portal Listing

Step 1: Basic Business Info

The process for creating and claiming a new business listing is fairly standard, but there are a few unique things to know.

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The form begins with the standard Name, Category, Address, Phone, and basic contact info. Bing’s category selection doesn’t seem as fully realized as Google’s right now.

Down near the bottom, though, are fields for your Facebook and/or Twitter profiles. I love this. I argued more than a year ago that Google should add this to Place Pages; they haven’t.

The Bing form also has a special field at the bottom for a company logo, which should not be confused with photo uploads — those are separate. On the right side, Bing also lets business owners list additional phone and/or email addresses for specific purposes or departments.

Step 2: Business Specialties

Here’s where it gets really cool. After choosing your category, you can also choose several business specialties. It’s similar to choosing multiple categories in Google Places. But Bing includes a set of sliders where the business owner can indicate which specialties are most important.

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The sliders will always add up to 100%; as you make one specialty more important, the others become less important. This is a brilliant idea and something that many small biz owners will appreciate.

Step 3: Free Mobile Website

More uncharted territory here: Bing is offering free mobile websites as part of the Business Portal. It includes a QR code that small biz owners can use in their advertising.

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As you can see, the form talks about “products,” but I was able to add services like “SEO Consulting / $250 per hour” to my test listing. Restaurant owners can use this to build out a mobile menu with prices. It seems pretty flexible. The website includes three “tabs” — your products, a “call” button, and an “address” button. There’s even a cool preview tool that lets you see what it’ll look like. (The middle section is blank because I never uploaded a logo.)

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Step 4: Photos

Even though you may have already uploaded a company logo, there’s a separate step for attaching up to nine photos with your Bing local listing.

Step 5: More Business Details

This is where you write a business description (which, by the way, seems to allow for a lot of text), indicate the hours that you’re open for business, position your marker correctly on the map and more.

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Step 6: Verify Your Listing

There’s a help graphic that lists three verification types: phone, email and snail mail. But the Bing Business Portal FAQs only say that phone and snail mail are options. (As I was setting up this test listing, the only option given to me was “Verify By Mail” — I don’t know why.)

If Bing’s claims are true, verification should be faster than with Google. If you choose snail mail, Bing says a letter should arrive at your address within 3-4 business days. It’ll include a PIN number to enter into the Business Portal to complete verification. I’m guessing that phone verification is immediate, as it’s been with the old Local Listings Center.

Deals, Downloads and Delegation

More cool features:

Downloads

With a verified listing, the QR code is available for download at any time via the Business Portal. There’s also a full Window Sticker with your company logo and the QR code that can be downloaded (and printed).

Deals

Small business owners can create several different types of deals right in the Bing Business Portal — from free offers to a percentage off or a dollar amount discount. Deals can be offered in a limited time range, and they can either be printable coupons or mobile deals that customers collect by using their phone.

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The deal editor lets you see your coupon or mobile deal as you make it. Daily deals can be published to your Bing business listing and also to Facebook – a nice touch. And businesses offering deals will be highlighted on Bing.com search results. Bing says deals should be published within 48 hours after they’re made.

Delegation

This last feature is a welcome one for us search marketers, and something that Google still doesn’t offer. Business owners can invite others (like their local search consultant) to have access to the Business Portal. There are extra controls, too, like allowing the invited user to have content editing power or the ability to add even more users.

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Final Thoughts

The Bing Business Portal is a big step in the right direction for Bing and local search. There are some features that Google Places offers — such as setting a service area or (very basic) usage data — that Bing isn’t providing right now. But there are several others that Bing is offering exclusively or just doing better than Google, like mobile website creation, the focus on deals, and the ability to authorize additional users.

Bing says the Business Portal is a beta product, but it’s off to a pretty solid start already. In many ways, it’s already better than Google Places. Now if only Bing had the traffic that Google can offer, right? (Well, they are making progress.)

Comments (56)

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  1. Already added a few more sites to this and edited a few I had in there previously. Must say this is a welcome update – Bing has been lacking severely in the lbc dept… now if they’d only make webmaster tools as useful as this (and dump silverlight!)

  2. Adam Marsh says:

    I was wondering why I couldn’t make any updates the last couple weeks… So far, this is very refreshing.

  3. Warrick says:

    Great review. I just tried it and think it offers my small biz excellent value. Thanks!

  4. Jim Rudnick says:

    Nice and informative, Matt….

    AND, they now allow us Canucks to register too!

    Cool – and at about 30% of se volumes, I think BING has come a long way, eh!
    :-)

    Jim

  5. Shawn Hart says:

    I’m a big fan of a lot of these new features. Definitely a few steps in the right direction. But where are the analytics? I know Bing doesn’t have the traffic that Google does (so the numbers won’t be huge), but it would be nice to know at least something about who and how many people saw and interacted with my Bing listing.

  6. Steven Brier says:

    I had the unpleasant experience of waiting the 3 or so weeks to get a PIN by snail mail to activate a client account.

    Well PIN came but Bing Local Business Portal was done for about 10 days or so. When I went online to activate the client listing it was gone. Dissolved into the eternal Bing ether. Well the work had to be resubmitted from scratch. And the prior PIN did not work. So now another 2,3 or more weeks to get a PIN.

    You would think that with Bings “big upgrade” they would have figured out to activate a listing by phone. Doubtful.

    Most unpleasant and bad business.

  7. Tim says:

    This is great, but still missing a critical feature – ability to bulk upload multiple locations!

  8. john says:

    I WAITED WEEKS TO GET MY PIN AND WHEN I SHOWS UP, IT DOESN’T WORK. WHAT IS UP WITH THIS? EVERY WHERE I LOOK ON THE INTERNET IT LOOKS LIKE LOTS OF PEOPLE ARE HAVING THE SAME PROBLEMS. I NEED HELP NOW!!!!!!

  9. John says:

    I test drove it the other day. Some nice features, just wish they had usage stats to measure results and more traffic. Also, i had a couple of quirks in the BBP using MSIE 9.0.

  10. Mike says:

    At least Google’s Places is available outside of the US.

  11. Nicole says:

    For Pin Verifications – I changed the Address in the listing and it changes and sticks but when I want to mail out the pin letter it is still showing the OLD Address .. There a work around for this without having to create a duplicate listing from scratch?

    AND now they dont give you the pin # until you hit call me now.. I wish I could be at the 272 locations we service but I cant …

    On another note – How do we delete duplicate listings we find out there? Same as always just report a problem with the listing or should we now claim them and is there then a way to delete in the portal?

    Thanks guys!

  12. Good Post, Most seo people are only interested in Google and it has become a business line, but soon there needs to be a change as bing continues to grab market shares, seo experts will need to start thinking about how to rank on Bing.

  13. Jamie Graham says:

    Hi Matt, this is a good overview of the new Bing Business Portal. I blogged about it myself earlier this week.

    I think it certainly has the potential to be a very popular tool and like you say it has made an encouraging start.

    If Bing can iron out some of the problems that people have stated here, I think they’re on to a winner.

  14. David says:

    Do you know of any way to submit and verify local listings for many locations (5+0) that are spread across the country? Is there anyway for an agency to do that or must each individual business set it up?

    It seems like there is no good way for an agency to do it because they have you verify by phone or mail – both of which use the listed phone/address to do the verification. But, as an agency, I don’t want the individual stores to get contacted. Google does this no problem, but I have yet to find a way on Bing.

    Any help is appreciated.

  15. Nicole says:

    David did you try the 25+ button that just showed up on monday for bulk uploading?
    I submitted about 150 listings to bing and they said someone will contact me shortly but I have yet to hear back from anyone…

    Has anyone else gotten any response for the bulk uploading feature they now offer?

    Thanks!

  16. Steven Brier says:

    Bing Horror Story Never Ends

    1) Bing notified no one when it was transitioning.

    2) Submitting during this period was accepted

    3) PINS were mailed snail mail style but did not work. Who cares right its only my time.

    4) New registration was needed so Start Over

    5) I started over – reposted client listing and got a snail mail PIN 4 weeks later.

    6) Guess what – NEW PIN DOES NOT WORK AT ALL AND NOW BOTH SUBMISSIONS DO NOT WORK AND ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE

    7) THIS IS A DYSFUNCTIONAL COMPANY IN A WORLD OF CHANGE AND THEY WILL LOSE THE LOCAL WARS, THE SKYPE WARS AND THANK GOD GOOGLE MIGHT REALLY IMPAIR THIS HORROR STORY.

  17. Matt McGee says:

    Nicole – nice find there, thanks so much. I just wrote a new post about that feature and linked to your company site:

    http://www.smallbusinesssem.com/bing-bulk-uploads-local-business-listings/4397/

    Steven – that sounds like a nightmare. Not sure that TYPING IN ALL CAPS on my blog is gonna help, though. Have you tried contacting them through formal channels for help?

  18. I didn’t know Bing was doing this. The options and mobile sites sound great. I’m going to put up my site right now!

  19. Tammie says:

    I was able to set up a Bing Business Portal using the convenient site. We verified by phone and entered our PIN. That was four days ago and I’m wondering why our account still says “Publish in progress.” Did I miss something?

  20. Leah Waters says:

    Hi there Matt, thanks for your article.

    I am a podiatrist in Melbourne, Australia. I went to add my Bing Business Portal but I get the message that “Bing Business Portal is only available in the United States at this time”.

    Hopefully they roll this out in the future for Australian business’s.

  21. James says:

    I have a probably stupid query. I have the PIN # to verify. Where do I go to use it. It is not easy to find
    the portal they are talking about. Bing doesn’t make it easy to find this “enter your pin” place. Is there
    a link which I did not bookmark like i should have?

    • Matt McGee says:

      James – once you’re logged in and looking at the main business detail page for one of your listings, the verify link is on the far right of the top menu bar above the business info. Hope this helps.

  22. Matty says:

    I was able to set up a Bing Business Portal. I verified by phone and entered our PIN. That was 3 weeks ago and I’m wondering why my account still says “Publish in progress.” I’m listed as a local listing in the bing search but my ‘website’ doesn’t come up next to my company name. Cant understand why

  23. Bing can’t get any of my ads to work…I received the pin for the local listings and I verified the listing as per the instructions. 4 weeks later it still says “Not Yet Published”. Same problem with my Ad Words Campaign..it worked for a few days and stopped for no reason. Three calls to Bing tech support and the campaign still sits dead in the water. Wow….these people do not know what they are doing !!!! It is very sad to see a Microsoft program work so poorly. Someone needs to be replaced !!!!!

  24. ron says:

    yeah i edited one thing and i haven’t herd anything from big how long does it take after you enter the pin

  25. Brian Amico says:

    I recieved my Bing pin code but cant find anywhere to put it in? can you help? please.
    Brian

    • Matt McGee says:

      Hey Brian – you’re not the first person to ask. I’ll do a blog post soon showing where to enter the PIN code, but really quickly — login to the Business Portal … click on the listing that needs to be verified … then above the business information, look in the blue menu bar — on the far right there should be a tab that says “Verification.” That’s where you input the PIN.

      Does that help?

  26. Charles & Ron, I had a similar issue a couple weeks ago. Bing support was able to get the updates pushed through once an engineering problem was resolved. I went back & checked the date on that email exchange, it was Jan 13-14. It’s possible your verifications or edits got caught up in the same snafu. Follow the link below & fill out the support form. I’ve had several chances to interact with their support folks, and they are very responsive.

    https://support.discoverbing.com/default.aspx?productKey=bingbusinessportal&st=1&wfxredirect=1

  27. Lisa says:

    Bing Business Center will not upload my photos? Any idea how I can coreect this?

  28. tony says:

    For the second time I have received my pin code and it did not work….this is ridiculous! Why bother….if a business can get you verified….?

    • Matt McGee says:

      Tony – have you checked in the Bing help material? There should be a small-print link in the Biz Portal leading to the Help material, and you might get some suggestions for what to do if the pin isn’t working. Good luck.

  29. Ozsubasi says:

    How can Bing ever hope to compete with Google when it it only seems interested in the US? What about other countries (that this isn’t open to)? It is after all the world wide web, not the US web.

  30. Chris Irwin says:

    Hi Matt,

    Great article. Gives me a good overview of the Bing Business Portal. Location is a problem though, still not of much use down in South Africa where I am.

  31. Ozsubasi says:

    Bing is US, Yandex is specific for Russia, Baidu for China. Only Google is offering international services, so unless someone else can do the same, there is never going to be a real alternative.

  32. Michael says:

    Matt,

    Do you think with bing search partnering with Facebook, that the local listing will become more relevant? Facebook does have the check in function perhaps all this could be integrated?

    • Matt McGee says:

      I don’t think that kind of thing would happen anytime soon, Michael. Seems to me that the privacy concerns that dog Facebook might keep it from wanting to share check-in information with a partner like Bing. Maybe if they find some way around that??

  33. Mouse says:

    Bing has us stuck at “Not Yet Published” and “Publish In Progress”. It’s been this way for a week since verification was complete. The interface at Business Portal is like a word editor interface that is clunky, slow, and befuddling. No one else builds weird sites like this, why does MS? However, the fact that our listing is still stuck in publishing mode is a sure sign their process is a complete failure. The only reason to list on Bing, is to get whatever remaining scraps of users they have, before they convert to proper 21st century tools.

  34. Doni says:

    Hi Matt.
    I was able to run through all steps, and it seems from the portal side, everything is running.

    Is there a direct link to the business listing once it has been published? I wanted to see the listing in action/send others to view it etc. I can not find a direct link anywhere in the portal.

    • Matt McGee says:

      I don’t think they have a direct link to the business listing from the BBP, Doni. You have to search for it out on the main Bing website. They really should add that, though. Much easier on the business owner.

  35. delta253 says:

    RE: Bing Business Portal — what countries besides USA is it available? I know Google Places is active in some countries outside USA.

  36. Bing is publishing erroneous and incorrect information about my business by continuing to publish an address and phone number of a second location that has been closed for almost five years. Even though I still have e-mail access as listed, there appears to be NO contact opportunities other than a forum like this. No Phone numbers for support that can be found. So I waited for the snail mail to deliver my code after filing a new change of address with the post office, because the original had long since expired. Now the “only option” is for BING to call me on a “discontinued phone number” to obtain my code and verify our listing. By the way, our current phone number is (208)322-4211, but there is no option to update that in the contact info. I realize that this is all about security, but there should be a way to update information and verify that offers user ease. If I seem a little upset it is because I have been trying to correct this for years, meanwhile all the other business pages, ie; mojo, citygrid, etc. etc. picks up what BING has posted and publishes incorrect information too. Thanks BING!!

  37. Sarah says:

    What if the business name has changed? Are you able to change it after you verify it? I tried changing it before verifying and was told I could not change the name.

  38. freddie says:

    How can I add my business listing to a country outside the USA?

    • Matt McGee says:

      Freddie, Bing’s system may not yet support addresses and businesses outside the US. I’m not positive.

  39. This is great information but I am in Australia and I was not able to have a local listing through Bing. Do you know when they are likely to introduce this in other countries? I think many small businesses would like to be listed there.
    Thx

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