Watch Out Google — Facebook Updates Upping the Stakes for Local Search

Illustration of a large group of people with the Facebook 'F' peeking out over them like a periscope, signifying the Facebook updates that are shaking up local search.While Google continues to reign supreme in all things search, Facebook is slowly, quietly carving out a piece of the local pie. The world’s most used social media channel has made quite a few changes in the last 18 months, improving its capabilities and quality significantly. Wesley Young of the Local Search Association gave a detailed insight into these changes, but what we’re most interested in is: given all of these changes, what can businesses do to get a leg up on their competitors?

What Has Changed?

  1. Maps and directions are featured prominently.
    Your search for a business (ex: “chinese food” or “fabric store”) will give you a list of local places or in many cases, a map of your area.
  2. Facebook Places given top priority…
    …Over posts, people, photos, videos, and pages. If your search is relevant to places nearby, that is the result you will be shown first.
  3. More complete information!
    “The lawyer listings show profile pictures, address, distance from me, whether it is still open, and star rating. The listings even describe what type of law the firm or attorney practices, such as family law, criminal law or estate planning,” Young reports. As we work primarily with the legal industry, we couldn’t have written this better ourselves.
  4. Better indexing.
    They’ve done some troubleshooting and added suggested terms for an improved user experience.
  5. Beta testing new features and integrations…
    …To differentiate social search from Google search, Facebook is testing displaying photos of your friends who have checked in or left a review of a place that you’re considering.
  6. Crowdsourcing missing information.
    If a listing is incomplete, Facebook will query viewers for information to complete the missing fields.
  7. New City Guides…
    …Showing you where your friends have been in this city, and what the local favorites are, among other features.

So How Can a Small Law Firm Get Ahead?

Just like you make sure your GMB profile is complete, you must also make sure your Facebook business profile is complete as well. Things to verify include:

  • Business details complete (categories selected, all fields complete)
  • Contact information complete (address, phone, email, website)
  • Location information complete — double, even triple check your address and make sure your map pin is functioning correctly
  • Interactive functions enabled, especially your click-to-call button (if that is a valuable conversion for your business)

We will continue to monitor the changing landscape of local search and keep our readers up-to-date on best practices. For more information on all things related to small businesses and search, be sure to follow us on FacebookTwitter, or give us a ring at (800) 893-2590.

July 7, 2017