With Facebook adding starred reviews at the end of 2013 and partnerting with Factual recently to include millions of more store pages, we knew a local search portal was not far away. Although it has been live for close to a month, Facebook has yet to promote their new local search engine (https://www.facebook.com/services/) to the mass public. While this first beta version is available on desktops, it has yet to take the jump to mobile devices. Its features and UI are strikingly similar to other local search giants like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google… and has even been hyped the “Yelp Killer” by a few online articles.
The new Facebook Local Search service gives users the ability to find nearby business with high reviews and ratings that are listed on Facebook (sound familiar?). A person can type in, or choose from, a wide range of business categories (i.e. plumbers, photographers, restaurants.) However, it doesn't give users the ability to search for specific businesses, which definitely puts them behind other local search sites. An individual’s current location appears as the default geographic region, but one can find a business in any location.
What Does This Mean for Local Search?
For now, Facebook has chosen not to announce this information through any type of promotion. They are saying it will not have full business name search and only be visible via selecting categories, but that seems very unlikely. In our opinion, this sounds like just a diversion tactic and they will likely launch a full service after they finish their consumer beta testing. Keep in mind, they already have a “What’s Nearby” ability to find local places and services on the Facebook mobile app, which drives a lot of local search capabilities. It’s just currently pretty buried in the app.
Based on the millions of reviews we are collecting, we have seen Facebook become the most popular review sites nationwide in just over a year of launching local store reviews. This makes sense because Facebook has more users that Yelp and Google combined. You can’t ignore Facebook reviews any longer and must be responding to them. In addition, they are calling this part of Facebook’s Professional Services, which indicates they may be focused on selling business services like digital advertising and marketing directly to SMB’s and retailers in a much bigger way.
In order to benefit from reaching Facebook users, your company must be listed on Facebook and have a high reputation based on ratings and reviews. For large retailers, that means you must have and manage a Facebook page for each of your stores. This is the time to start monitoring your local business’ Facebook page, if you aren’t already. With Facebook’s extensive reach, this has the potential to greatly affect your Local SEO in the future. If you are unsure of how to manage all of this, Chatmeter can perform an audit of your locations, find all Facebook pages, determine if you manage them, and analyze the 100(0)(0)’s of current reviews.
Want to learn how to take advantage of this new service? Contact us today for a complimentary consultation where we will show you how simple it is to keep up with your online reviews, ratings and local SEO ranking.