Recently Facebook upped the ante on local search with its release of an updated iOS and Android app with a beefed-up Facebook Nearby.
Previously, Facebook’s Nearby function let users see where their friends had checked in. With this most recent update, users can now search local businesses by name or category. But landing on the result pages is more complicated than simply being “nearby.”
Because the algorithm that determines what shows up on the Nearby results page is largely dependent upon Facebook data, user check-ins and interactions, which now include star ratings, have a lot to do with the results. Facebook says results will get even more personalized when users check into and rate businesses.
In order to ensure you don’t get lost in the proverbial shuffle, it’s important to optimize your Facebook page for this new stage in local search.
First and foremost, if you don’t have a Facebook page, get one. Facebook is vying to become its own ecosystem. Companies that don’t exist within the ecosystem simply won’t exist for a key demographic of users who turn to Facebook for everything from finding a restaurant to viewing friend’s vacation photos.
Next, optimize the content on your About section. Include descriptive, keyword-optimized language, as well as all of your pertinent business information, including your location, services and hours of operation. While you’re at it, make sure your business is being listed under the correct category. If you’re not, you’ll have a much harder time showing up in relevant search results.
Finally, and most importantly, encourage Facebook fans to interact with your page by checking in and rating your page. The more popular your business appears, the better chance you’ll have showing up in these newest of search results.