Any good marketer would tell you that local search is a great way to help your brand reach more people, and now Facebook agrees. The social media powerhouse has recently launched a brand new Places Directory, which blends Facebook’s Graph Search, Page Locations API, and user generated content to deliver a “guided browsing” experience for Facebook users.
Facebook’s hope is that this new directory will replace other local search sites such as Yelp and Foursquare, but, as Search Engine Land notes, the Places Directory is not without its faults. It’s not the most responsive service when it comes to complex search terms, and some individual business pages aren’t appearing when they should, but time will iron out the kinks – and when it does work, it’s an amazing local search tool that can immediately connect you with the best restaurants, hotels, cafes, and more, all of which are ranked by Facebook user reviews.
Due to its newborn status, the Places Directory is not ready for mobile use just yet; however, the implications are huge for local search. Instead of having to switch to and log in to an entirely different service to find and/or rate a local business, Facebook will now host the content directly, making the user experience that much more streamlined, efficient, and enjoyable, while ultimately increasing the visibility and traffic of local business pages (which is what every marketer wants)!
To put it simply, now is a great time for local search!