It can definitely be said that Google leads the way when it comes to online searches. If you’re old enough to remember Yahoo or Ask Jeeves like me you remember the birth of the Internet as we know it. Google is the first place almost everyone goes first when looking for whatever it is they’re looking for. Although there are other competitors like Bing, Google is ahead by some distance when it comes to searching the Internet, and this has always put it ahead in local search.
However, recently Facebook has been trying to hit back and has added an important update to their mobile app that could change all of that for local businesses and consumers searching for local services to them. It will allow customers to find businesses and services in their area much more easily, and importantly, without having to leave it to search in Google.
WHAT HAS CHANGED WITH THE FACEBOOK APP?
For all intent and purpose Google will take some catching up when it comes to daily searches. Their Places directory already enjoys a hugely impressive 1.5 billion local searches every single day. However, they are still some distance behind Google who can boast an even more amazing 3.5 billion local searches per day.
This increase in Facebook’s traffic is the result of a re-design that enables pages on the app to behave in a way very similar to a web page. This means users are no longer moved across to a different site, allowing them to access everything they need right there within the app itself.
HOW WILL THE APP IMPROVE YOUR RESULTS?
The ‘nearby’ filter in your search options within Facebook will allow you to narrow down the types of businesses you are searching for within your area. As well as being given their address and location, you get to see user ratings, reviews and if be able to see if any of your friends have interacted with them. Nothing quite beats a recommendation from a close friend or someone you know, which increases the chances that users will want to try them too.
With so many people using the Facebook app every day, the ability to search for nearby services means they do not have to leave to open up Google. It may not seem much of an effort to switch from one to the other, but those few seconds can make all the difference when it comes to winning over a new customer.
However, there are some negatives to the app. Due to Facebook’s ongoing tinkering with their algorithms, many pages are suffering from a huge decline in organic reach. The percentage drops over the past few years have been quite dramatic, which means businesses now have to work even harder to ensure they don’t disappear from sight completely.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR GOOGLE?
As it stands, Google remain the masters of the internet as they still receive many more local searches compared to Facebook. However, that doesn’t mean you should neglect your Facebook page. With 1.5 billion local searches made every day, it’s clear there is real potential for you to find new customers via the app.
There will be more changes made over the coming months and years and you need to be best positioned to take advantage of it. Facebook is easily Google’s biggest competitor and they will be doing all they can to close the gap between the two. And if you have optimised your Facebook page correctly, your business will reap the benefits too.
So what’s next?
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