If it’s not in here, it probably doesn’t exist.
The iconic yellow book
There were several iconic items from my youth, but the Yellow Pages is definitely one of the most memorable. Of course, I didn’t always use it for its intended use. “The Book” was often a table, sometimes a ruthless spider killer, and once a source of kindling for my neighbor’s backyard bonfire when we had already burned through my father’s latest Sunday newspaper. We should have looked up pizza delivery before we threw it into the fire.
Every business was in the Yellow Pages, and I only had to look in one place to find what I needed. It was organized, efficient, and complete. Unlike Google or Yelp, the Yellow Pages were slow, they were simple, and they never turned into a verb.
Things are more complicated now. You can’t just purchase an advertisement in the Yellow Pages and expect customers to keep coming. Those customers you’re courting? They’re not passive consumers, and they’re very intelligent. They will do their research. They will consult with their friends. They will look you up on Yelp and Google, and they will be highly selective.
Facebook’s Professional Service Search
Now Facebook is entering the game with their professional services search and hopes to become not only your digital store front but also your directory listing as well. Facebook says the service is the best way to find “local businesses and organizations with the best Facebook reviews and ratings”
With Facebook Professional Services you can browse by location and categories. Your search will be returned with relevant businesses near you and ranked by the average review rating. So a 5-star business will be listed higher than a 4-star business. Each listing will also be accompanied by your page description and contact information.
Although Facebook probably won’t replace Yelp any time soon, it would be wise to spend a few minutes optimizing your Facebook account to prepare for increased use of this new feature. Unlike Yelp, the Facebook search feature will instantly connect users to your Facebook page where they can peruse your content and engage with you.
How to optimize your Facebook page for professional search
The Yellow Pages were straight forward. Items were listed in alphabetical order. If you wanted more exposure you just purchased a larger ad space. However, Facebook plays by its own set of rules. To the best of our knowledge, here are items that influence your ranking on the new professional services list and how you can increase your chances of landing toward the top.
The Yellow Pages were broken down by category. If you were a plumber you probably wouldn’t want to be listed under mechanics. This might sound silly, but our research indicates many garden centers don’t have the proper category filled out under their Facebook pages. Facebook has already created a search category for “Garden Centers” and “Landscaping” services. “Nursery” was absent from the list.
Make sure your garden center has the city, address, and zip code included. This may be difficult if you have multiple locations in different towns. If you have multiple locations you will most likely have to select your most popular option. This is not only helpful for people who are searching for garden centers within their own town, but this function may also be useful for those looking to travel out of town or tour new places.
In today’s digital sphere nothing is very straightforward. Facebook most likely looks at the title of your page and the keywords found in the short description, long description, and about sections on your Facebook page. Make sure your keywords are matching the terms that people search for. If you are listed as a nursery but everyone searches for garden centers, chances are they will miss your page. We recommend using Google Trends to identify how relevant your main key words are.
To our knowledge, the average review and total number of reviews are perhaps the largest factors in terms of ranking. Our research shows a significant amount of garden centers have turned off user reviews. This could be incredibly detrimental to your future search rankings on Facebook. We can’t be any more straightforward than this; activate your reviews. Investing in gathering positive reviews can only benefit your business.
If you would like to find out how to get amazing customer reviews for your garden center, click HERE.
History and connection
Facebook will also look at your history and friends’ liked Facebook pages to help determine search ratings. This is where all of those algorithms from the tech gurus from Silicon Valley come into play. Facebook knows the pages you have searched for and which pages you have visited. Facebook also knows if your friends like a Facebook page and it seems like they are trying to match your search results with items your friends have liked.
So there you have it. Will Facebook Professional Services ever be as useful as the Yellow Pages? Well, I doubt it can prop up a table, squash a bug, or start bon fire. However, it looks like it might be the next trend in Facebook marketing that could lead to positive results. Also, many of the items that will influence Facebook search rankings are easy to fix or implement. So do your homework, spend a few minutes to update your information, and always be seeking ways to delight your customers so they will leave a positive review. Those things are just good business.