There are so many things that businesses and marketing experts can do to increase the visibility of a website on the Internet it’s hard to decide which ones to pursue and which ones aren’t worth the effort. However, one of the elements that can really make an impact on where a website ranks on search engine results pages that is often overlooked is optimizing Bing Maps.
While Google does own the lion’s share of the search engine activity from end users, Yahoo and Bing do still have a piece of the pie. This is why it’s important to optimize your Bing Maps listing in order to reach this segment of the population. Here’s how to do it.
1. Claim your business listing
The first step in optimizing your Bing Maps listing is to have one. All businesses have a default listing on Bing Maps. All you have to do is to claim it as your business. By taking action and creating activity on your listing, you automatically make it more visible to search engines, who are plagued with stale, out of date listings.
2. Correct and standardize your basic business contact information
Now, it’s time to dig into your profile. It is not only important, but vital to your optimization efforts that your pertinent information including your business’s name, address and phone number are consistent across your Bing Maps listing as well as match what you offer on your website and across the Internet. This is vital.
3. Add an image to your listing!
After you complete your profile information, start adding interesting content. Customers love pictures, video and interesting information about businesses and will be more willing to take a second look at yours if you offer these in your listing. Not to mention, Bing Maps seems to show preference to those listings that include pictures, so upload a few and get a better ranking.
4. Set your hours of operation!
Bing Local business profiles have a little “open” sign that lets customers know whether or not your business is currently open or closed. However, it only works if you put your hours of operation into your profile. So, add yours and make it easy for customers to patronize you when you are open. Early studies have shown that this is a high conversion element and should be completed ASAP.
5. Check your categories, and add more where possible!
Adding categories helps customers who browse by business type find you. If you don’t have a category selected, you are missing out on these more casual searches.
6. For restaurants, integrate with OpenTable
OpenTable is a feature of Bing Maps that allows a customer to make a reservation from their computer or mobile device. It’s easy and convenient for them and helps you keep your staff busy serving other customers rather than answering the phone and taking reservations.
7. Add deals to your listing!
Customers love a great deal. You know it and Bing knows it. Offer your customers something extra for visiting your Bing Maps profile by adding deals. You can integrate Groupon deals seamlessly thanks to the integration APS, but you can also set up deals of your own that your customers can take advantage of.