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Boom: Facebook Finally Launches Local Search

Facebook local search

For several years I’ve been asking Facebook when is it going to deliver a true local search experience. The site has tiptoed around the edges of making its local business data and reviews search-accessible in the past. However it has neglected the consumer search experience even as it focused increasing attention on acquiring SMB advertisers.

All that has now changed. This morning I was made aware of a new local search site on Facebook. Apparently this was noticed and written about yesterday; however I was unaware of it until this morning.

Facebook local search

The entry point is not the Facebook search bar at the top of the page but a separate “what, where” area on the page (as the image above illustrates). Users can also browse categories such as “plumber,” “event planning,” “automotive” and so on.

The default results and listings are from the user’s current location/registered location. But you can also search any location in the US (or internationally it turns out).

From what I can tell in a couple of quick tests, users can search for the full range of local business categories, from electricians and plumbers to hotels and Mexican restaurants.

Facebook local search

You can access this content via mobile web but not currently through the Facebook app (as far as I can tell). However it’s only a matter of time before Facebook either launches a stand-alone “Places” app or makes local search available via its main app.

Facebook already has the business and reviews content to make it a tier-one player in local search. Indeed it probably has more business reviews content than any other site on the internet, although I have not sought to verify that. What it needs to do is get the user experience right and promote the capability.

Test it out and let us know:

  1. What you think of the user experience
  2. How big an impact you think it will have on the market and competitors

Update: I’m now hearing from a couple of people that this has been available for some time. However I obviously wasn’t aware of this before today. Results are mixed the more searches I do.

Update 2: Earlier this year there was a test in Australia of a mobile experience called “Local Market” that offered search + browse. But that experience was limited to the one market. We may see a version of that show up as a part of the main Facebook app or as a stand-alone app.

Local market app Facebook

5 Responses to “Boom: Facebook Finally Launches Local Search”

  1. You can search any location in the world. I’m testing it from Bologna, Italy.

  2. Greg Sterling says:

    Yes. Discovered that yesterday. Thanks. Question is: how committed is Facebook to building it out?

  3. Will Scott says:

    So, Greg,

    When do you think this actually becomes important to SMBs?

  4. Bipper Media says:

    I just did some research (compare / contrast type stuff) using the dentist category in Orlando, Fl.

    What was most interesting to me was that the #1 ranked dentist page was also the only one that was officially verified (check mark next to biz name).

    You can see the analysis here >> http://bippermedia.com/2015/12/19/facebook-local-business-directory-local-seo/

    thanks again

  5. Greg Sterling says:

    When there’s clear evidence to them that people are looking for businesses/business categories on FB. “Directional lookups” and all that.

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