Facebook Jumps Into Local Search With New Mobile Update
Facebook is the latest to jump in the local search game with the upcoming release of an update to its’ “Nearby” feature on the iOS and Android mobile apps. The Nearby feature is similar to FourSquare, where users check-in to their favorite businesses or places. Facebook’s Nearby function works by displaying where your friends have checked-in at your nearby location. The update to the feature will perform the same function but will also display nearby businesses and places of interest ranked by various factors. Users of the Nearby feature will be able to search or browse for nearby locations by either name or a specific category.
Businesses or locations will be shown by a number of different factors: Likes, New 5 Star Rating System, Check-Ins and Recommendations. Your social network on Facebook will determine the outcome of the search results based on your interests, activities, Likes, friends and other interactions. If your social network filter can not determine nearby businesses or places, Facebook will determine the best results for your local search by evaluating the engagement of the business or place you are searching for.
Ratings will be determined by a five point scale system available anytime after a user has checked-in to the location to prevent fraudulent ratings. Users are not required to rate a location when nearby the location, they can do so at anytime and anywhere after they have checked-in.
The help section in Facebook provides tips on how to update your page with the proper information to ensure your Facebook page will be found in the new local feature. Similar to local listings in Google, Bing and Yahoo, include the correct, essential and ever important NAP (name, address, phone) as well as other additional information such as hours and details about your business. Also, choose a correct category for your business to be easily found by users searching for your business. Like your local listings, encourage customers and visitors to check-in, like, rate and recommend your business. Below are two links to Facebook’s help section detailing on how to properly update your Facebook page:
The major advantages of a Facebook page over the local listings of Google, Yahoo, Bing and Yelp will be:
- Super easy & user friendly user interface
- Endless information businesses will be able to share with their audience
- Interact with their audience directly and instantaneously with comments and messages
- Update your Facebook page on the go with your mobile device
Facebook will be relying on its’ own database of pages to provide the search results for their users. With that said, if you don’t have a Facebook page, you won’t show up. If a business hasn’t already created a Facebook page, now would be the time to create it no matter how small they are or they simply won’t show up on local results. This should be a must for ANY business big or small in order to be found in their Nearby feature. It has been lately reported by Google that there are as many as 600 million monthly active mobile users.