Earlier this year I wrote a tutorial on how to get listed with Google Products. Bing now has a very similar search tool and getting listed with them is also free. Is it worth the trouble to get set up? If it’s anything like Google Products, the answer is definitely yes. My ecommerce site sees frequent conversions from Google Products and with Bing growing rapidly as a search tool, it’s likely that their shopping tool will bring well-qualified traffic too.
To get started with Bing Shopping you’ll need to go here. Bing wants you to confirm that you’re a US company selling legal products in US dollars. They also want you to review their Merchant Integration Guide and lastly, they want you to fill out a Merchant Application Form.
After you fill out your application, a Bing representative will email you with a login for their Merchant Center and their FTP server. At this point you’ll want to…
1. Log into Merchant Center and fill in all the information Bing requests. This step is pretty straightforward, it’s just some web forms.
2. Create a feed for Bing
Like Google, Bing has a specific format they require for your feed, but their integration guide is also pretty easy to follow. Your feed must be tab separated and will end up looking like this.
If you’re tech savvy and your products are in a database, you can write a script to create your feed. (That’s what I did.) If you’re not tech savvy you can create your feed in a program like notepad. Put a tab between each field and put each product on a new line. You’ll want to save your file as “bingshopping.txt”
You will need to supply product ID, product name, product manufacturer, manufacturer product number, UPC code, ISBN (for books), merchant SKU, product URL, price, stock status, description, image url, shipping price, merchant category, bing category, shipping weight and condition.
3. Upload your feed via FTP. You’ll get an FTP address, username and password from Bing. Once you’ve uploaded your feed file, you’ll email your contact at Bing and let them know it’s ready. They’ll approve your feed and you’ll be good to go.
There is one hitch to keep in mind. Like Google Products, it’s best if you update your feed frequently. You’ll definitely want to update every time you have new products. I suspect products from fresh feeds will get better positioning in search (assuming they are relevant to the search).
To make sure your feed is fresh and up to date, the best thing to do is write a script that automatically pushes your most up to date feed to Bing’s FTP server every 24 hours. This will require a little technical know-how. I set mine up using a little PHP script and then entered a task in my cron tab to run the script every 24 hours. If you don’t know how to do something like this, at the very least, set a reminder on your calendar to upload your feed weekly, so Bing always has relatively fresh data from your site.
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