Facebook Is A Critical Local Search Citation For Every Local Business
Here at Energy Circle we spend a lot of time thinking about the best ways to help home performance businesses rank well in local search. Recently I spent some time looking at a project completed by David Mihm of davidmihm.com and Darren Shaw of whitespark.ca. Together they have developed a list of the top 10 local business citation sources across 93 small, medium, and large cities.
Simply put, a “citation” is a page on the web where your business information is listed, sometimes with a link and sometimes without. Generally speaking, quality & quantity of citations contibute to local search rankings in a similar way to links. The data that David & Darren put together is a great piece of work and I encourage you all to check it out if you have some time. As I spent some time doing just that after they published the research there was one piece that immediately stuck out to me - Facebook.
We’ve written before about how important Facebook is becoming for local businesses, including home performance and energy efficiency companies looking for an edge in their web marketing. But what quickly jumped out at me as I looked over the research piece I mentioned earlier is that Facebook was showing up in every single list on the page, and not only that, but showing up in the top 5 fairly often as well.
I decided to analyze a sample of the data to try to get a better feel for just how important Facebook is as a local citation. I checked the ranks for about 30% of the cities presented and the trend became pretty clear:
Avg. FB Rank
Highest FB Rank
Lowest FB Rank
Inside Top 5
Outside Top 5
As you can see, on average Facebook is now the 6th most important online citation for local businesses. But it also appeared as high as the #2 most important citation for two of 34 cities I checked, and was in the top 5 for just under 30% of them.
The point I really want to drive home here is this - ignore/avoid Facebook at your business’s peril. Because Facebook is now not only an incredible tool for engagement with your customers & community but also an increasingly critical piece of your ability to rank well in local search results. Home performance & energy efficiency businesses, insulation contractors, HVAC companies and others in our industry have traditionally been one of the slowest to adopt social media and Facebook. Based on this data that not supporting Facebook as part of your online marketing strategy is putting you at a meaningful disadvantage versus those companies that are.
So, what to do now?
At a high level, start thinking about how you are going to integrate Facebook into your marketing operations and planning. Figure out who in your company is going to be responsible for it, whether it is you as a sole proprietor or an office manager or intern. Next, get a handle on your current Facebook presence - either create your company’s page or get re-acquainted with the one you had your nephew make for you two years ago and never looked at again. And finally, start using Facebook as a regular part of your marketing. Just like blogging you can pick some interval of time - every day, once a week, once a month if that is all the time you have - and start posting and sharing on your page. Whatever you do, it is important to get started soon. I think it is safe to assume that as Facebook continues to grow it is only going to become more important for marketing any kind of business on the web.