Now that Facebook’s Universal Search includes public posts, columnist Wesley Young takes a look at the pros and cons of using Facebook for Local Search.
Not too long ago, Mark Zuckerberg hinted that Facebook could eventually replace web search, at least to some degree. A step in that direction came when Facebook announced a couple of weeks ago that it is vastly expanding its search capabilities by providing search results from all two trillion public posts within its social media platform.
Although Facebook previously had a large search volume of 1.5 billion searches a day, those searches did not include results from posts outside of friends’ posts or Pages liked, even if a post was otherwise publicly visible.
The biggest impact seems to be in real-time news, where hot topics and trending stories that normally come up in a News Feed can be searched. Results will display stories from publishers and media outlets, public posts and any links to stories in those posts, as well as conversations from your friends about the story.
So, what about local search? Right now, the search component does not search the web. While Facebook did previously partner with Bing to bring web results to searches, that is no longer part of the current search function on the Facebook app.
Yet Facebook has continued to emphasize its focus on mobile and Facebook Pages as a key marketing strategy for the millions of small businesses and advertisers with Facebook pages. In other words, Facebook’s ability to help small businesses market successfully must be accomplished through being found within the Facebook platform.
So, is Facebook effective for local search? Below, I analyze six strengths of Facebook that make local search a great opportunity for it and six challenges that Facebook faces for it to truly be a difference maker in local search.
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