Is Facebook the New Local Search Engine?

May 14, 2019

Facebook started allowing Business Pages on their social media platform back in 2007, but it didn’t necessarily help with the discoverability of your business at that time.

It wasn’t until 2014 that they launched their new and improved version of the Places directory and local business search became a focal point for Facebook as a way to compete with Foursquare and Yelp - which kicked off a new way to search for businesses on the platform.

Are you utilizing your Facebook Business Page as a local search marketing tool?

Keep reading to learn why you should…

Why Facebook Search is Important for Local Businesses

Facebook has caught up with typical search engines and started implementing keywords in their algorithm and database. In fact, Facebook now sees over 1.5 billion searches every day.

With that, over 600 million users visit business pages every day.

This shows just how important it is to try to understand the value that Facebook Search has for local business discoverability on the platform (not to mention its assistance with rankings on other search engines).

According to a survey by Square, 52% of consumers discovered a brand through Facebook. That’s a pretty significant number to ignore.

When searching for a company in Facebook’s Search that’s near you, you’ll get results that are very similar to the local 3-pack on Google. If we know anything about local results, it’s that there’s usually an algorithm behind them that determines which businesses get to show up and in which order.

However, unlike Google, Facebook has historically been more mysterious when it comes to how they rank businesses in their search. Thought they have given us some hints - Facebook Describes How Its Search Results Work

The best course of action is to fully build out your Page, including as much detail as possible, verify your Page (get your grey checkmark), and work to post quality, engaging posts with your audience.

Facebook Search Ads

Starting in 2019, Facebook began beta testing new search ads.

The advertisers selected for the beta test were able to pick the placement of ‘Search Results’ in Ads Manager when setting up a traditional ad. A business cannot currently run a search ad without running a news feed ad first. Thus, it currently serves as an extension to an existing ad, but it can still offer useful insights to Facebook about the success of this experiment.

Furthermore, there is no option yet to target specific keywords or phrases in the beta phase, which could change in the future if search ads roll out to more advertisers.

Facebook has not shared screenshots of how the ads will look yet.

While this is not available for everyone yet, it shows that Facebook knows two things:

1) Ad space on news feeds is decreasing.

The fact that Facebook is testing this doesn’t give us any insight into how their organic search results are working, but it does show that they believe in the power their search results have and that they see a real opportunity in their own search engine.


Currently, there is not much info out there on how to best optimize your Facebook Business Page for better search placement within the platform. However, it’s important to understand the functionality that Facebook’s search has and how it can impact your business.

With more people going to Facebook to search for businesses or even to do research on your business, you want to make sure you are putting your best foot forward.

If you need help with Facebook or any other marketing strategies for growing your business, call Sales & Marketing Technologies today at (407) 682-2222.

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