December 16, 2015 | Social Media

Local Search Strategy - It’s Time to Optimize for Facebook

If anyone tells you that Facebook is "dead" or that nobody is on Facebook anymore, question their judgement. First, there are no absolutes in marketing. Second, Facebook is far from "dead", "irrelevant", or any other negative buzz word. Need proof? The social network once more is innovating in ways that are catching the SEO community by pleasant surprise. And when you can catch a few thousand bloggers by surprise, you are doing something right.

First reported by Sreedev Sharma and then expanded on by Search Engine Land, Facebook’s new Professional Services Search is something that has come "out of the blue" for many. But the timing on this new product isn’t a coincidence. Google has been scaling back Google+ and now no longer shows reviews, G+ pages or anything else related to the product in search results. While the product may have received a visual overhaul, it is our belief that the oft-ignored G+ will eventually be retired.

It Is All About Local Search

This new product is still desktop only, but it will eventually end up on mobile devices. After all, more searches now start on mobile devices than on desktop. And that is when we are going to see folks at Yelp and other review sites get nervous. Real nervous. This new Professional Services Search combined with the recently launched Places Search indicates that Facebook wants a big piece of the local search game.

And why wouldn’t they? This is the new frontier in the search game and it is dominated by mobile devices. Right now both of these new search features aren’t available on mobile, but they will be. Once that happens, Facebook is poised to take over a large portion of local search.

Why Mobile and Local Go Hand In Hand

Think about your search behavior. If you are out and about and you want to know where the nearest XYZ is, you don’t call 411. And you certainly don’t reach for the yellow pages at the non-existent phone booth. You pick up your phone and "Google" it. FYI: Google LOVES it when you use their name as a verb to mean search. But what if you didn’t "Google it" but you went to Facebook and searched because you knew you were going to get a better local result…

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Mind. Blown. Not only are the people at Yelp losing sleep, but the Big G has to take notice.

Mobile devices allow us to be constantly connected to information. And where we consume that information matters. Why? It is, and always will be, about the money. Ad dollars to be specific. If Facebook can produce a product that people use and fall in love with, then they can charge brands to get in on the action.

SEO is More than GO

We have said it before, search engine optimization is more than Google optimization. And this latest push by Facebook proves that theory. This new Professional Services Search is a search engine and your presence has to be optimized. If you are solely focused on Google in your SEO efforts, please, drop us a note so we can talk about your strategy.

Setting Yourself Up For Success

Have you ever wondered about the categories for your business? Those little options that show up under your business name. You selected them when you started your page and we will bet it is safe to say you haven’t looked at them since. You should. In the new places search those are the ONLY terms you can search on (our guess is for now).fb blog dec capture 3

That is the first place you need to start optimizing. Secondly, check on your reviews. While G+ no longer pushes reviews to search results Facebook Services search does, and in a big way. If you have negative reviews, it might be time to start considering some reputation management. After all, boiled down, social media is one of the most effective tools to provide timely customer service. How you respond to both negative and positive reviews can be a deal-breaker for potential customers checking out your product and those comparing you to your competitors.

Putting It All Together

If you are a local business considering dumping your Facebook page in 2016, please don’t. Facebook now gives you local insights, which are incredibly powerful and they are now showing signs that they want to own local search. We understand your frustration; you have been at your wits end with Facebook for a long time. They took away your post reach, they made you pay to play… but you stuck with it. Now it’s time to reap the rewards.

If you want help with your marketing strategy, SEO optimization, social media marketing, or just have questions about anything we have covered, we would love to talk to you. Give us a call or fill out our contact form to get started. Hey, it’s only a phone call right?

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