Small business owners ask me this question a lot. Is it worth the time or financial investment to hire someone to get me in Bing and Yahoo?

The numbers from credible data sources like ComScore and Nielsen show that Google has between 67% and 70% of all searches going through them.

This means 30% to 33% of all searches goes through Yahoo and Bing. So those aren’t peanuts. That’s tons of searches per day you’re missing out on if your business isn’t at the top of Bing and Yahoo. Bing aka Microsoft is also a big investor in Facebook who has their own version of Facebook local business page listings.

So yes it’s worth it.

Some basics apply here as well.

1. Claim your listing in both Bing and Yahoo. First search your business name or phone number to see if they already have your business info in their database. If so, claim it by being logged into your account (yahoo account or Yahoo, Hotmail account for Bing). If they don’t have any data setup a new listing with them.

Start at http://local.yahoo.com/ and all the way at the bottom in the footer is ‘add business’

Start at http://www.bing.com/local/ and down at the bottom in the footer it says ‘add or change your business listing’

2. Fill it out as completely as you can. That means photos, videos, categories, extra services, hours of operation, etc. As much info as they ask for give it to them because more complete listings rank higher than less complete ones.

Also, put in a coupon offer and get reviews from your customers.

Here’s more from SEOChat:

Once you’ve claimed your listing, you need to check the contact information it displays. Make sure it’s correct. At a minimum, it needs to include your name, address, and phone number, in addition to your website’s URL. If you choose to include an email address, treat it professionally – check and answer the messages it receives at least once a day. Otherwise, customers will think you’re ignoring them, and go somewhere else.

Next, if you can, you should at least consider adding an image to your listing. Smith notes that for Bing Local searches, “higher-ranking businesses appear to more frequently have images associated with their listings!” He was careful to state that this could simply be due to the fact that listings with images are always claimed listings, and they could be ranking higher for that fact alone. Correlation does not equal causation, after all. Smith uses a Bing search on “intellectual property attorneys Chicago, Il” as an example. The first listing past the ads is a box with a map and five options; when I clicked through, I noticed that the top two and the fifth ones included images.

As a potential customer, I think I’d be more inclined to take the next step with a business that includes an image. If users conduct a search on Bing Local (rather than a general web search), those images actually show up next to the relevant listings, drawing the eye and making you stand out. As a searcher, if I don’t know any of the businesses listed in my search, and distance isn’t a huge factor, I start looking for anything that catches my eye and makes it stand out. Including an image is one approach that can help attract eyeballs; there are others you can use as well.

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