Believe it not, Google really isn’t the only game in town, search-wise that is. There are other search engines that still matter, and some that aren’t even actually search engines but still matter. Google is a company that offers a wide spectrum of products to integrate with search, which is its flagship product. Bing, on the other hand, is a straight-up search engine that powers other search modules. And Yahoo!, while not a search engine, is a web portal with a Bing-powered search engine. And a good number of people use Bing and Yahoo! instead of Google.
So your Bing business listing and your Yahoo! business listing matter more than you may realize. In fact, quite a few people prefer Bing over Google for the simple fact that it is more aesthetically pleasing. So why would you want to limit your marketing reach by getting your crucial business listings on Google alone?
Why Bing and Yahoo! Still Matter
While Google still dominates search, an unignorable 20+% – that’s one out of every five, at least – of all searches still happen on Bing, Yahoo!, and other places. Just three years ago, Bing accounted for a hair over 20% of desktop searches, and Yahoo!, 12.1%. While those figures have fallen some, that’s a significant volume of non-Google searches.
More current figures show that Google retains an average net share of search volume of about 74.5%, with Bing and Yahoo! averaging between 5% and 10%.
Although 5-10% may not seem like a lot, consider that almost 50% of the world’s population accesses the Internet. That’s half of 7.6 billion people, and just 5% of that is a huge number!
In addition, Bing may have the edger over Google in mobile friendliness owing the more pleasing display features. And mobile search is doing nothing but growing bigger and bigger, accounting for well over half of all searches worldwide.
If you don’t use Bing and Yahoo!, then, you could be leaving up to 20% of your marketing reach and profits on the table. It’s just sound, basic search engine optimization (SEO).
What Bing and Yahoo! do Better than Google
Besides a sizable chunk of search volume going to Bing and Yahoo!, they also do some things better than Google – and that’s why not a few people still prefer them.
Bing tops Google in . . .
Image search – The first to offer “infinite scroll,” Bing also serves up on the results page sharper, higher-quality images. Bing also does a better job with filters, including more accessible licensing information.
Social Media Integration – According to Search Engine Watch, “[w]hen it comes to social media integration with the SERPs, Bing is the clear winner. It would have been remiss of Bing not to take advantage of the deals between parent company Microsoft and Facebook and Twitter. With more access to social data, Bing results feature trending news from social media in the news search results.”
Video search – Google may own YouTube, but Bing makes video search a much more pleasant experience with the grid of video thumbnails that allow you sample videos without ever leaving the SERPs.
And Yahoo! beats out Google in these areas . . .
Homepage – Yahoo! has a more comprehensive homepage with more information and more options and with greater visual appeal.
Local-search experience – Yahoo! has been at the local-search game much longer than Google. “Yahoo! Local was the web’s first local search engine where you can see businesses and services in your area” (MUO).
Q&A database – Google doesn’t have a branded equivalent of the same caliber as Yahoo! Answers, which has been called “one of the most valuable question-and-answer databases on the entire Internet.”
How Search Engines Gather Data About Your Business
Now, before jumping into how to claim your Bing business listing and your Yahoo! business listing, it might be a good idea to examine how search engines actually gather data about your business, especially for the purposes of local search . . .
All the major search engines rely on third-party data providers for nearly all the data that shows up in their local business listings. These data providers include aggregation houses such as Acxiom and InfoUSA, common Internet Yellow Page type sites such as Superpages and Merchant Circle, and social media review sites such as Yelp and iBegin. With such a complex ecosystem of local business data, it’s important to claim your listings to consolidate all this fragmented business information under a profile that is under your own control.
Claiming your listing is also the best preventive measure against your listing being hijacked by an unscrupulous competitor, misrepresented with inaccurate information, or merged with a competitor’s data. It’s also the very first step in being able to actually optimize your business listing by hand – and the best way to ensure that your business does well in local searches.
How to Claim Your Bing and Yahoo! Listings
It’s fairly easy to create your business listing at Bing and Yahoo! Just sign up as a user at each of the respective business centers. Then, either search for your business by name and address, or add the business location by following the relevant instructions.
While you’re filling out the required business information, ensure that you’re using the Doing Business As (DBA) for your business and that you’re maintaining a consistent format for your Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP). It’s important that you fill out this information as accurately as possible so search engines can find your business in the third-party business data they draw on and associate it accurately with your business profile. Complete your profile as comprehensively as possible:
- Provide a keyword-rich business description.
- Complete all the fields for business information, such as hours of operation, payments accepted, services offered, certifications, awards, parking availability, etc.
- Upload or link to the maximum allowable number of business images and videos.
When you are ready to verify your information, you will be either contacted via:
- Phone with a secret pin code to verify your identity, or
- Postcard mailed to your business location.
Once you have verified your information, you now control your local business listings and optimize your online listings.
How to Set Up Your Bing Local Listings
And here are the specific steps to claim your Bing business listing:
- Go to Bing Places and click “Get Started.”
- Accurately enter your business details and information – phone number, business name, address, and so on – and then click “Search.” The form looks like this:
- You should then see your business in the returned search results. Click the green “Claim Business” link that will appear to the right of your business name. If you haven’t logged in to your Microsoft account, you will then be asked to do so. After logging in, proceed to the next page.
- With this page, you get a chance to review your business information, making sure everything is correct:
Make sure all the information you see is correct and accurate for best performance in local search on Bing. Click “Next” to go to the next section, and after that hit “Submit.”
- Finally, you have to verify your business listing here:
Choose your preferred option for receiving your verification PIN or code and just follow the directions. After you verify your business, you’ll receive a confirmation notification from Bing Places indicating that everything is on order and you’re all set.
How to Set Up Your Yahoo! Local Business Listings
Nearly one of every eight searches in the US is conducted through Yahoo!, so, yes, you do indeed need a local business listing there. And in 2015, Yahoo made it easier by “bundling more options to publish your listing across multiple publisher sites” and moving them to Yext. This move enabled “local marketers to manage their listings for free on Yahoo or to upgrade to Yext’s PowerListings data syndication product . . . across a partner network of sites, which include Bing, Yelp, Facebook, Foursquare and others” (Search Engine Land).
Here’s how to set up your free local business listing on Yahoo! (which is very similar to the process with Bing) . . .
- Go to Yahoo!, search for your business, and you’ll be taken to this Yext form:
- Enter your business information, and then click “Scan My Listings.”
- The next page you will be taken to may seem a little off-putting with all the warnings you’ll see, but just go ahead and click the “Continue” button.
- At the next page, fill out or update your business information and details, making sure to fill out the page completely. Also, be sure to use the same name, address, and phone number (NAP) as you did on your Bing business listing and everywhere else. Then click “Continue.”
- The next Yext page will offer you some paid plans. Just look below these for the small link saying “Claim your Basic Listing in Yahoo.” This is the link you’ll want to click for your free Yahoo! business listing.
- And this brings you to the “Yahoo Basic Listing Checkout” page, which you’ll need to complete and then click “Place Order.”
- As with Bing, the final step is verification. You will receive an email asking you to verify your email address and to log in to your account. Just click the link, create a password, and login. After this choose your preferred option to verify that you actually represent the business, then verify, and you’re good to go.
Best Practices in Claiming Business Listings
There a few best practices to ensure that you fully leverage your free Bing business listings and that you take fall advantage of your free Yahoo! business listings, for example:
- Do not create duplicate business listings when claiming an existing unverified listing.
- Create only one listing for every physical brick-and-mortar location you have.
- Follow the listing guidelines for each of the major search engine local business centers.
- Do not use call-tracking phone numbers as part of your listing.
- When possible, use a local phone number rather than a toll-free number for additional ranking power.
Get the Most Out of Your Local Bing Business Listing and Local Yahoo! Business Listing
You may think that all this sounds like a lot of bother. It may be, but it’s also absolutely critical. For local search is rapidly becoming the most important element in SEO and marketing for businesses with a local presence. Just consider . . .
- “96% of PC owners conduct local searches”
- “46% of all Google searches are local”
- “64% of local customers use search engines and directories as their main way to find local business”
- “50% of local mobile searches look for business information”
- “A whopping 78% of local mobile searches result in an offline purchase” (BrightLocal)
While these figures apply chiefly to Google, the same phenomenon obtains for both Bing and Yahoo! If you want local customers to find your business, you simply have to have your business in these local listings. The key ingredient here for local businesses that want to increase traffic to their websites and through their doors is local SEO – which is way different from ranking high in the SERPS for a general search term.
There’s a lot more to it, though, than just filling out the forms and getting your information in the business listings on Bing and Yahoo!. You also have to know how to do what it takes to get your business in these listings in a way that will drive local traffic to your business – at the precise time potential customers are searching for the products or services you offer.
But you’re not an SEO expert, and, besides, you have a business to run. What you need, then, is the assistance of a digital marketing agency so that you can spend your time and talent running your business while at the same time reaping the many benefits of a local marketing plan – one that works for you right now and all the time.
Help with Your Business Listings
Contact Fingerprint Marketing today if you want to get your business on the “local map.”
Finally, even though we’ve been talking about Bing and Yahoo!, there’s still the big player Google – which, obviously, you can’t neglect. If you want to get your business on the top of the local search results on Google, take a look at our comprehensive guide on Google My Business.