Category Archives for "citations"

Can Local Business Owners Ignore Bing?

Bing logoBelieve it or not, there are other search engines besides Google!

With around 65{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} of all U.S. searches taking place on the Big G, it certainly makes sense for business owners to focus their search engine marketing efforts where most people are searching.

However, you shouldn’t completely forget about the other search engines, especially Bing.

A few years ago Bing and Yahoo! combined their search engines so that Bing now powers searches performed on both Bing AND Yahoo!. Combined, these two search engines get about 29{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} of all U.S. searches on the web.

Looking at the search traffic patterns for most of my local business clients, I see they’re getting about 20{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} of their organic search engine traffic from Bing and Yahoo!. It’s not 29{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} (and your mileage may vary), but that’s still nothing to sneeze at.

So what does this mean for you as a local business owner?

Three important takeaways…

1. Pay attention to where you rank for your top keywords on Bing and Yahoo!. Once a month, look at the Analytics data for your site and see what keywords people are typing into Bing and Yahoo! that are leading them to your site. There may be some good keywords there that you could further optimize and climb higher in the Bing/Yahoo! rankings for (and with relatively less competition on Bing/Yahoo!, it may be easier to claim the top spots for choice keywords for your local business there than on Google).

2. Get your local business listed on the Bing Business Portal. It’s Bing’s equivalent to Google Places and there’s a lot to love about the features it offers. At the very least it’s a good place to get another citation to help you in the Google local rankings but, again, with Bing accounting for 29{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} of search engine traffic, the Portal may be a good place to pick up some extra visibility for your business.

3. If you’re using Google AdWords, it’s worth testing Microsoft AdCenter (Bing is a Microsoft product). It’s not nearly as slick as AdWords and doesn’t get nearly as much traffic, but with a 30{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} market share, you could be losing out on a lot of business by not being there.

There used to be a time when I’d tell local business owners to forget about Bing. I can’t do that any more. While I’ve yet to hear stories of Bing/Yahoo! rankings making or breaking a local business (Google can and does), don’t ignore Bing.

Especially if your competition is just focusing all their efforts on Google, spending a bit of time focusing on Bing may give you a few extra leads your competitors are missing!

 

 

Dude, Where’s My Place Page Information?

The changes from Google keep on a-comin’.

The latest ones to Google Places sent many local business owners into a panic when they looked at their business’ local listing on Google and noticed their number of reviews dropped like the United States’ credit rating.

The reviews are not gone, however. Google just decided that the review counts next to a business’ local listing will only include reviews left directly on Google.

You can see in the screenshot below that the review count in the margin is only reviews from Google and ignores the counts from demandforce.com and doctoroogle.com.

Reviews from sites like Yelp, Yahoo!, SuperPages.com and others still matter, they’re just not included in the review count next to your listing on the search results page.

A few other changes to note on the Places Page itself…

First, the More Details section no longer gets displayed. This section showed custom categories a business owner could add to their Places page such as “Products Sold”, “Brands Carried”, “Awards”, etc.

You can still enter these additional details in your Places account even though they’re not being displayed at the moment.

Why bother? Because there’s reason to believe they may reappear at some point. Also, Google is likely still looking at that data to help it determine how to categorize and rank your business.

Also gone is the “More About This Place” section. This was particularly useful for “spying” on your competitors to find out what sites they were getting citations from that you could use to get citations for your business.

This section was nice for local search nerds (guilty as charge) but didn’t do much to enhance the Place Page for users. Good riddance as far as I’m concerned. (And, if you’re looking for a source to identify citations, go to WhiteSpark.)

Lastly, Google has added a section of descriptive terms toward the top of your page.  These are terms that appear in reviews customers have left about your business.

Here’s an example from the Place page of a divorce attorney in New York…

This is all the more reason to encourage happy customers to leave reviews because the last thing you want is your descriptive terms to include words like “doesn’t care”, “bad experience” or “sucks.”

The bottom line for local business owners:

  1. Encourage customers to leave reviews for you on Google to get your review count up. Just don’t ignore the 3rd party review sites completely because having reviews from a variety of sources is still important.
  2. This is not going to be the last major change to Places. I see some more big ones coming later this year as Google integrates Google+ and Google Offers with Places.
  3. We’ll keep you posted on what you need to know so check back here frequently and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.