How do local customers find your business? While Google is still the number-one search tool, when it comes to local, Facebook is on the rise. A survey by Yext asked Internet users what websites they use to get information about local businesses. While Google led the pack, cited by 50 percent of users, Facebook is moving up the list. Some 16.6 percent use the Yellow Pages site or other local search directory, 12.4 percent of users use Facebook, and 6 percent use specialized sites such as TripAdvisor.
Being third on the list might not seem like much for Facebook, but with the recent release of Graph Search, Facebook is clearly working to become more important to local search. Graph Search is still relatively new and doesn’t rank search results based on the number of user’s who have checked in or recommended that business. However, Graph Search does show which of the users’ friends have checked in or recommended a business, and it’s likely that this information will eventually be used as part of an algorithm to display Graph Search results.
What does this mean for your business? While Google is unlikely to be toppled from its throne as the king of search anytime soon, when it comes to local search, a different story could eventually unfold. “I don’t see [Facebook] challenging Google in general Web search,” Opus Research senior analyst Greg Sterling, who worked on Yext’s local search report, told Inside Facebook, “but in local and in certain other categories it could become a challenger.”
The good news for small businesses concerned about the effect of Facebook’s Graph Search is that most small businesses (some 68.7 percent in a Yext study) already use Facebook to promote their companies—more than any other social media tool. In addition, 28 percent run ads on Facebook.
What should you do to make sure you’ve got local search covered?
- Focus on Google, as it’s still the most frequently used site consumers turn to to find local businesses.
- Make sure your company has a strong presence on local search sites, and that your information is current and regularly updated. (One reason customers turn to Facebook, the study notes, is that they know information on Facebook is up-to-the-minute.)
- Encourage customers to interact with your business on Facebook—including checking in. Consider rewarding check-ins, such as by offering a percentage off or coupon good for the next visit for users who check in at your business on Facebook.
Web.com can help you get more local leads–and customers. Learn more about Web.com local search solutions.