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Facebook real estate marketing is a must as a Facebook search engine looms

December 27 2012

facebook keyWe've been studying Facebook's influence on search engine optimization for a while now. All signs seemed to point to a day fast approaching when social media would mix with search engines to deliver very personal search results. In fact, Bing scored a deal with Facebook last year that seemed very promising. But for all that promise search hasn't much changed. At least until now..

Facebook's recently made a small change to an existing service that I think signals something bigger to come in 2013. All of us in real estate should pay close attention.

Two days ago, Facebook announced some tweaks to Nearbytweaks to Nearby, which is a service consumers can use to connect with places and businesses that are local. Why should real estate offices and agents care?

I think Facebook's going to get into the local search game in a big way, and directly compete with Google and other local services (like Yelp). Why?

1. "Local" is tough to crack but represents a huge opportunity. Who needs to go after such huge opportunities?! A public company with pressure to make money from its massive user base, of course (Facebook).

2. To go after local, Facebook will have to innovate the heck out of their search engine, which has really been pathetic. Rumors say Facebook hired a prominent Google search engineer and has a team working on a new search enginehired a prominent Google search engineer and has a team working on a new search engine.

3. I was at a conference earlier this month where Dan Levy of Facebook stated that there are 12.8 million SMB (small business) pages on Facebook12.8 million SMB (small business) pages on Facebook. This is a staggering number (even if one business has multiple Pages) given that by most estimates there are only 16M small (including SOHO) businesses in the US, and that just a few years ago, Facebook Pages didn't even exist. If you had over a billion consumers on your service and more than 50% of local businesses using your service, why not figure out how to connect the two? That's what filled Google's coffers, after all.

4. Mark Zuckerberg himself alluded to a Facebook search enginealluded to a Facebook search engine at the Disrupt Conference in September 2012. To quote Zuckerberg: "Search engines are really evolving towards giving you a set of answers... Facebook is pretty uniquely positioned to answer a lot of the questions that people have."

While the current updates to Nearby are small and only available to Facebook mobile users, my hunch is that we'll see signs of a new Facebook search engine in 2013.

If you run a real estate office or are a real estate agent my suggestion is build and optimize your Facebook presence now. There are already ways to use a Facebook Page to influence Google search results right now.

2013 should be an interesting year in local search and you definitely don't want to be the one sitting on the sideline when a "new Google" appears.

To view the original article, visit the ReachFactor blogReachFactor blog.