According to the latest report from Comscore, Bing now has 14% of the total search market in the United States; Google has 65%. What’s more interesting is that Yahoo, Microsoft’s search partner, cornered 16% of the market.
Taken together, Microsoft’s Bing and Yahoo have a 30% search market share. This just goes to show that Google’s dominance is slowly being eaten away by Bing, especially in the future when Bing will be handling back-end search programming for Yahoo.
Now more than ever, it is important to pay close attention to what Bing is doing, and it seems that Microsoft is dead set on tackling Google head-on. Bing has just recently launched Bing Business Portal in beta. This service will be replacing the search engine’s Local Listing Center.
To say that the Business Portal is an improvement on the Local Listing Center is an understatement.
1. Phone verification. Phone verification is now very easy to do and very efficient.
2. QR code compatibility and mobile site creation. You can now create a mobile site for your business and get a QR code for it so that customers on the go will be able to scan the QR code and learn about your business even when they are out of their homes. You get this for free, too!
3. Provide more ways for your customers to contact you! Bing now allows you to add Facebook and Twitter URLs on top of the standard contact information such as name, address and phone numbers.
4. Deals integration. If you loathe Foursquare or Groupon but still want to offer deals and discounts to your customers, then Bing is the one for you. The new business portal has an added feature that allows you to post not only your products, but also deals as well. These deals will be published alongside your Bing business profile and you can share it on Facebook too!
Managing your deals is easier too. You can set the period for these. And you can have your customers print out coupons, or have them scan it on their phones. Deals give you a chance to be highlighted on Bing search results.
5. Save time. If yours is one of the many businesses that rely on third parties to manage social media and search properties, then you would surely love how Bing lets you grant others the authority to manage your listing.
6. Hide your business address. For those who have a local presence but do not want customers visiting their offices, Bing lets you hide your business address from your profile. This is perfect for those Web-only operations or those who are operating out of their own homes.
It seems that Microsoft is doing its best to help Bing topple or at least significantly eat away at Google’s dominance in search. And from the statistics above, Microsoft seems to be succeeding. What’s in store for Bing in the future is interesting too, as Microsoft gets into alliances with Research in Motion, Nokia, Skype and other mobile and Web giants. These are alliances that they could tap to further boost Bing’s search clout. If only for these, it is worth spending time to get your business into Bing via the Business Portal.
About the Author: SEO Inc. is a search engine optimization company located in Carlsbad, CA. They believe that improving your local search presence, like creating a profile in Bing’s Business Portal, can help drive more customers to your local establishment.