Facebook Search is Going Local with “Facebook Nearby”

Facebook Screenshot

Facebook has just released a redesign for its mobile app that has made it more important to have a business page than ever.

Its local nearby search now shows details about the business, star ratings, and buttons to “Like,” “Check-in”, or “Call” them. Currently, this redesign is only available for Facebook’s mobile site and Apple iOS (version 6.0+), but it will be come to the Android Facebook Application in early May.

How It Works

Users will be able to search for local businesses by name or category, which will make Facebook an important tool when searching for local business information. It’s currently located on the left side app bar, which makes it very accessible for the average Facebook mobile user. Facebook uses data collected from its own site and will rank businesses based on star ratings, recommendations, and number of “likes” and “check-ins.”

No Page, No Rank

It’s as simple as this: if your practice doesn’t have a Facebook business page, you won’t show up.

Here are some tips to make sure your business page shows up on Nearby search results:

  1. Claim and update your page with correct information. Include all of your basic information, such as address, hours, phone number, and details about your business. Don’t forget to add pictures!
  2. Make sure you have the correct categories listed, such as “Optometrist”, “Eye Wear”, “Medical & Health”, and “Shopping & Retail” so potential patients will be able to easily find you if they search other keywords.
  3. Encourage customers to “like”, “check-in”, “rate”, and “recommend” your office. The only people that can rate your business are the ones that check-in. The more, the better and the higher your search rankings!

Still Need Convincing?

Even though Facebook plans to keep this a mobile-only app for now, if all goes well, it seems highly likely they will make it available to desktop. Currently, there are over 6 million mobile users, which makes more mobile users than desktop users. If that doesn’t make you want to claim and optimize your Facebook page now, think about this: 94% of smartphone users look for local information, and 90% have taken action as a result of it.

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