Google My Business is an important part of your local SEO. But are there any alternatives?
To get straight to the point: If you don’t feel like using Google My Business and therefore want to avoid the whole topic and look for alternatives: Forget it!
According to the definition, an alternative is:
- Free but indispensable choice between two options; the either-or
- Second, other possibility; Ability to choose between two or more things
That means we’re looking for something so that we can turn off Google My Business. Effective local search engine optimization is difficult without Google My Business as Goole has a monopoly in searches.
Due to the clear position of Google as a class leader, especially in the mobile area (where most local search queries are made), Google My Business simply should not be underestimated.
However, you can also find the option of using “local packs” on other search engines. The best “add-ons” include Bing Places and Apple Maps.
What are Bing Places?
In order not to leave the local market to Google completely without a fight, Bing has created a similar program with Bing Places. The whole thing runs very half-heartedly and is nowhere near as well maintained as Google My Business.
Bing is certainly aware that they have no chance against Google in this area, which is why this is a very funny situation. When you start creating your Bing Places profile, you can already login with your Gmail address. In the next step, when you fill out your entry, the following field suddenly appears:
“So if you have already set and entered everything in Google My Business, you only have to press the button here, and Bing Places will immediately pull all information from Google My Business. In addition, you can directly import all the entries that you manage”
But even without a Google My Business entry, Bing Places can be used well.
What options do Bing Places offer?
Those who are used to working with Google My Business will be pretty disappointed with Bing Places. In terms of design and profile options, the tool seems several years behind Google’s competitor. Nevertheless, there are opportunities for optimization here.
When you create a new Bing Places entry, ensure filling out all information fields properly. This includes address (NAP – name, address, phone), opening times, categories and pictures.
Be sure that you enter possible changes in good time. It can usually take a few days for the changes to be applied to Bing. In the SERPs, too, the ad is not as stylish as it is on Google My Business. The purpose is still achieved.
How do I properly optimize Bing Places?
Even if there are fewer options than with Google My Business, there are also plenty of optimization options here.
Part 1: General information
General information on Bing Places includes company name, phone number, address and website. This information should, of course, be completely filled. You should also pay attention to NAP (name, address, phone – always in the same spelling).
Part 2: Choose categories
Under the Select tab categories (Enter Category Information), you will find the option to classify your company.
First, you can choose which segment your business belongs to. Here you can choose between, for example, B2B, Education, Banking & Finance, Art & Entertainment, Food & Drink, Healthcare, etc.
In the next step, you can then select more precise categories here:
You can select a maximum of 10 categories and add them to your Bing Places entry.
Part 3: Company Details
When it comes to company details, there isn’t much to look out for. Here you only need to select whether your complete address should be displayed or just the city and zip code.
Part 4: contact details
The contact details include the following information:
If you do not yet have an entry with one of the providers, you should think about whether an entry is worthwhile. If not, you can, of course, just leave the field blank.
Part 5: photos
As with Google My Business, the images are displayed prominently here. Never underestimate the expressiveness of pictures, because they are the only USP that you can show in your entry!
So use professional images that suit you and your customer base. Avoid unprofessional mobile phone pictures and invest a few euros in professional pictures.
Part 6: business hours
In the 6th section, your opening times can be set to the minute. Every day individually and with a lunch break. Also, make sure that you keep your opening times up to date.
Bing Places is nowhere near the same level as Google My Business. Nevertheless, you should create a Bing Places entry and optimize it properly, because Bing is also worth improving the first impression with the customer.
What is Maps Connect?
Apple’s answer to Google My Business and Bing Places is Maps Connect. The Maps Connect entries are displayed via the Safari search and Apple Maps. They are therefore not insignificant for your local company.
What to look for when optimizing Apple Maps?
Unlike Google My Business and Bing Places, Maps Connect doesn’t have any images. Your profile is divided into the following points.
With the information, you have to enter general data about your company. This includes the company name, phone number, and your category.
In the second step, you have to enter your location. During the initial setup, complications can often arise here, which is why you may have to enter the address more often.
As with Bing Places and Google My Business, opening times are an important part of this. Make sure you keep them up to date.
At the last point of your profile, you can insert your web links. Here you can link your website, your Facebook profile, as well as Yelp, Twitter and your app.
Maps Connect is even less elaborate than Bing Places. Creating an entry here really only takes a few minutes, which is really no great effort. Investing a few minutes here could be worth it!
As you have probably noticed, Google My Business is my clear favourite here. To check whether this is just my feeling or whether it can actually be proven, here are the three competitors in direct comparison.
Why is Google My Business, my overall winner?
Regardless of whether Google, Bing or Safari is used the most. Google My Business simply offers the most options for customizing Google My Business. Google My Business is a big step ahead of its competition with the function of the posts and the company description. But the most important function that Google My Business offers is the rating function. Reviews are incredibly important in online marketing and should not be underestimated by any way.
What is still missing from Google My Business is the integration of other tools such as Yelp. The whole thing works now, but cannot be controlled. As soon as Google has been able to establish the connection between the different entries, integrate the reviews from Yelp, TripAdvisor and Co. into your Google My Business entry.
Even if Google My Business is my clear favourite, it doesn’t hurt to create the other entries too. As I said, there are no more alternatives but more possibilities. The effort is very low, and even if only a few new customers can be won here, the effort is worth it.