What Facebook’s Mobile Update Means For Local Search

Apr
25

Written by Brad McHargue. Posted in SEO Blog

Facebook recently rolled out a new update to its mobile platform for local businesses. While platform updates in the world of Social Media are frequent and many times minor, this one stood out.

SEO Ninja

This update to mobile local pages is like a ninja surrounded by a group of bad guys. Facebook is surrounded by thousands of social sites that are gradually edging closer and closer. This update a direct karate chop to the face of other location-based social sites like Yelp and Foursquare and a roundhouse kick in the gut to Google+ Local.

Don’t get me wrong; this is not eliminating any of those sites. They will get up and fight harder. However, Facebook has counter-attacked for the moment.

If the layout and usability of these new pages catches on with the consumer, you might see more and more traffic shift away from sites like Yelp for a review, and go straight to Facebook.

Tech Crunch had some screen shots of the new layout.

Tech Crunch Facebook Mobile Examples

With that said, suddenly Graph Search just became a little more important. Graph Search is still in beta (you can get on a list to try it out), but with this update, Facebook has added a couple pieces to the puzzle that will make it a more complete and powerful local search engine.

What does this mean for local businesses?

You’ll need to start thinking of Facebook as a search engine. It’s still early, but as users learn about this tool and begin using it, it could have a dramatic impact on them finding your business and deciding whether to spend their dollars with you. Social media and SEO are blending closer and closer, and this emerging overlap is just another step in the direction of social search.

This is what Facebook has told businesses:

  • FILL OUT YOUR PAGE with basic information: like page categories and an about section. If you have a local business with a location, update your Page with your address, store hours, phone number, and other business info. Ultimately, add depth and don’t leave any fields blank if you can help it.
  • Download the Pages Manager app from the App Store to make it easy to manage your Pages on the go.

In order to serve up the best results for its users, Facebook will look at recommendations and star reviews as factors in its algorithm. If you have a page already set up, you should be promoting that you have one and also informing people that they can leave recommendations there. One recommendation can set you apart from a competitor that has none!

As with everything online, things will shift and change regularly, but as a digital marketer this is one change that I would want to act on sooner rather than later.

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