How Facebook is Affecting Local Search

Facebook logo on mobile device

How Facebook is Affecting Local Search

Over the last two years, Facebook has taken steps in improving its local search capabilities. While Google still holds the lion’s share of the market at 63%, Facebook is making subtle moves in increasing its search functionality by developing its own technology, rather than partner with a search engine.
 
When a search is completed on Facebook, the top results are automatically sorted by user rating and the proximity to the user’s current location. Maps and directions are new additions to the page layout and appear one scroll below the cutoff on mobile. Previously, Facebook would take generic search terms and show results from around the world. Now, upon completing a search, the first section of the page is populated by the Places tab, a recent development that lists businesses the Facebook algorithm may deem relevant to your search. Results are also more complete; with the development of Places and business pages, populating a Facebook page has never been easier. A page will show photos, business type and services, and hours, and some of the information users read will be provided by users who have checked into the business. Upon checking in, some users will receive a popup with questions confirming hours, location and price range of the business, as an attempt to rectify the previous user-created page inaccuracies.
 
Knowing that word of mouth is still the most reliable way to generate leads and conversions, Facebook has managed to incorporate it into its search results. Under business pages and search results, Facebook will show profile pictures of your friends who have either checked into or liked the business. Facebook realizes this strengthens the result because the user is going to trust their friends over an algorithm.  City Guides is another way Facebook is using word of mouth in local search. Based on your location, there is a feature called City Guides. This will show local attractions and restaurants your Facebook friends have checked into in whichever city you are searching in, complete with reviews and star ratings.
 
There are steps you can do to make sure your business is found via Facebook search. Make sure your critical information (name, location, phone number, price range, hours) matches your Google profile. Take advantage of calls-to-action, from a click to call feature to highlighting links to your website. Make sure there aren’t answers left to be solely crowdsourced so your information is not skewed.

Jennifer Connors
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