Search Engine Local Listings
With 97 percent of consumers searching for local businesses online, options like Google Places and Bing’s Business Portal are great ways for businesses to drive consumers into their brick and mortar stores.
Google Places is a free service that ties into Google Maps by providing a location based map of local businesses. When a business is clicked on, consumers are taken to a Places Page where information and photos of the business can be provided, as well as the option for consumers to write a review.
While Google Places has been around for awhile and is a well-known local-business advertising option, Bing’s Business Portal is a similar service that was released in April 2011 and is currently in a Beta stage.
Bing’s Business Portal is a free option that allows businesses to add photos, a logo and contact information to their page. It also allows businesses to create deals that appear in Bing search results and that can be published onto Facebook.
Although similar concepts, Bing’s Business Portal isn’t as user-friendly for consumers as Google Places.
Unlike Google, when searching for a business, Bing does not automatically bring up a map. The consumer must click on the small “Maps” tab at the top of the search results page to find the map that provides information about local businesses. Then consumers can click on a desired business in order to view that business’s Portal Page.
Having a business page set up with both of these search engines is important, especially for local businesses. These services are free and provide consumers with local business options when they are searching for specific places around their area— which in the end is free advertising for local businesses.