Bing, Microsoft's search engine, launched the Bing Business Portal, a service to help business owners create and maintain their business information. BBP replaces the Bing Local Listing Center. All existing listings on LLC have been migrated to the new portal.
BBP sports a host of new features and services. For starters, Bing improved the process for local businesses to verify their listing. If the telephone is already in the system, the business owner simply clicks on the "verify now" button. It triggers a phone call to that number from Bing with the PIN code. Entering the PIN code online verifies the listing. The new site also supports up to nine photographs, but no video at this time, according to Bing's mobile director Andy Chu.
While it does not support video, the business portal ties into Bing's daily deal offering, which rolled out about six months ago. Originally, the feature aggregated deals from Groupon and LivingSocial. Now Bing allows merchants to create their own. The site supports photo editing capabilities. Consumers can search by keyword or categories to find the deals they want in the "Deals" section on Bing.
About half of search queries on Bing mobile are related to local intent, such as trying to find a movie or restaurant, Chu says. The portal offers a deal wizard, allowing merchants to create custom coupons that serve up on the PC or Android and iPhone devices.
Restaurants and bars can create custom menus, too. Businesses on Facebook can publish the information to that page. The platform doesn't support Twitter. The site also supports QR codes. The site automatically generates the code.
Bing's share of the U.S. search market rose in March 2011, for the four weeks ending April 2, according to Experian Hitwise. Bing-powered search comprised 30% of searches for the month, up 5% sequentially. Google accounted for almost 65%.
The data firm reported that Yahoo Search and Bing achieved the highest success rates in March, meaning that more than 80% of searches executed resulted in a visit to a Web site. Google achieved a success rate of 66%. The share of unsuccessful searches is an opportunity for both the search engines and marketers. They can evaluate the search engine result pages to ensure that users are finding relevant information, according to Experian Hitwise.