LOC@L SEO GUIDE

LOCAL SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION & ENTERPRISE SEO MADE SIMPLE

 

Are New SMBs Creating Facebook Pages Before Google Place Pages?

August 3rd, 2010
26 Comments


Executive Summary: Who knows?

But here’s a data point of one:

The Main Street Meat N Fish Market recently opened in Pleasanton.  My wife asked me to find their hours so I went to Google and queried “pleasanton meat n fish market“.  At the top of the SERP was this result from Patch.com (congrats to them!) but no Google Place Page for the business.  The Patch article pointed to their website, but it’s serving GoDaddy ads right now.  I clicked on the Maps link to see if there was a local listing for this new biz but again there was nothing there.

I went back to the Web SERPs, scanned the results and found Main Street Meat N Fish Market’s Facebook Page, which, lo and behold, had their phone number and store hours, not to mention 151 fans (152 now).  And check out how the Wall aspect of this page makes it so much more interesting than a Google Place Page that has a bunch of scraped data from all over the place:

This made me wonder if more new SMBs weren’t claiming/creating a Facebook page v. a Google Place Page.  Inevitably many will do both, but Facebook may have the edge, particularly with new businesses.

A from-the-gut reasons why that could be happening – Many SMBs may already be on Facebook participating socially, so it’s not a big stretch to think that they would try to use their FB network to promote their biz.  And it’s certainly easier than building your own website.

While probably 100% are “on” Google too, the relatively “dead” feeling of Google Place Pages and the lack of the social net on GOOG doesn’t provide the same community feel as these Facebook Pages.  And a Google Place Page seems more like a “set it and forget it” kind of thing, while the SMB will likely visit its Facebook Page daily, and participate in the conversation there (if there is one of course).

A while ago I wondered aloud if Facebook was the new local Borg.  It’s still too early to tell, but I know one purveyor of dead animals that was just assimilated.

Resistance doth indeed seem futile.

UPDATE: Just got a call from a friend in town.  At the end of the conversation she said, “So you like the new meat market?”  I said “huh?”  She said “I saw you on their Facebook Page.”

We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us…We are the Borg.


Tags: Facebook · Google Local Business Center · Google Maps · Google Place Pages · Local Data · Local Search · Small Business Marketing

26 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Echo-Stream // Aug 3, 2010 at 10:29 am

    It just makes sense that more and more businesses will go with a fan page, adding the fact that everyone these days is a social media expert and they mainly sell Facebook fan pages: p

    But I don’t see a fan page while searching on my iphone for local business :)

  • 2 Daniel Hollerung // Aug 3, 2010 at 10:41 am

    I think that mobile speaks volume and if your business is missing from Google Maps via Places, it is bound to hurt your visibility. SMBs, (especially those with brick and mortars locations) need to keep up with services that send customers through the door.

  • 3 David // Aug 3, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    I’ve been a major Google lover since they appeared on the scene when I lived in Walnut Creek.

    It’s hard for me to shake my LUV!

    I do have a Google Places Page for one of my very, very small businesses and have my other 3 waiting on approval – fair enough same address and same phone. BUT I do get a little hurt that all my little wheelings and dealings aren’t approved faster as I use Google Checkout and all the “honest signals” are there.

    Places is brilliant IMO BUT no-one around these parts know about it. So I am having Google Buzz Ups to get businesses with the programme.

    Every business has a Facebook page and spend their time working on that as opposed to what Google are about to unleash….

    This should all be most interesting what with my Google Fan Boy status.

    Right now and locally Facebook is massive – South of London

    David

  • 4 Dana // Aug 3, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Facebook, while mighty, is only a piece of the pie. It’s all just a matter of time before serps becomes a steady stream of real time updates. Consumers won’t be willing to settle for anything less than the very latest sentiment regarding a particular product or service. Anything static (including websites, maps, sponsored links, etc.) will be left in the dust. Pity the fool who thinks that any of the above locations is where to optimize long term. If you’re not part of the conversation as an SMB going forward, you’re screeeeewd. Remember, the future market will be filled with internet savvy, social media literate consumers. It won’t matter what YOU say, it’s what others are saying about you…and you’d better know how to listen to what they’re saying.

  • 5 SPRIIRPS // Aug 3, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    I would like to know the penetration of SMSs on Facebook. Does your average local butcher, bakery, gardener have the time & will to go online and communicate with his customers?

  • 6 Andrew Shotland // Aug 4, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Have no idea. But I think your average new local butcher, bakery, gardener, etc. will be much more likely to spend time marketing themselves via social media because they do not have an existing flow of business they can rely on and so they need to aggressively pursue marketing channels that appear to have the best ROI.

  • 7 Jamie Faidley // Aug 4, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    This is exactly why every small business needs to create a fan page and use an appropriate title, so they can be found in the search engines.

  • 8 Dana // Aug 4, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    @SPRIIRPS… Absolutely not..and they shouldn’t! That’s not what they do….what they’re good at! Back in the day, before online marketing, smb’s would plunk their money down with yellow pages and all sorts of print media hoping the phone would ring or someone would mysteriously walk through the door. Perhaps that worked then…but not now. My Yellow Pages has shrunk, conservatively, 30 % over one year ago….1 year!!!

    The butcher, baker and candlestick maker don’t have a clue about the shift that is taking place. I don’t blame them. They are busy taking care of business. They are not marketers, after all. Even if they have a clue, they don’t have the time or knowledge to ko0w what to do about it.

    The market is vast. Many people need help.,

  • 9 Moonbounce inflatables // Aug 5, 2010 at 12:46 am

    I belie that the Google and Google places are the best for marketing. Depending on a quality guidelines of the site the web site may get daily minimum 50 visitors.I will stress it again Content and Quality Guidelines does meter.

  • 10 Thomas Nelson // Aug 8, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    It is very difficult for me to increase friends on my fan page. But i am trying. Hope i will complete 1000 friends.

  • 11 GLADvertising // Aug 12, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    I really believe in power of Facevook marketing. Still in its infant stages though. People, especially younger generation spend more time on facebook, so looking for a local business is much easier. Plus you already might “Like” them and know where to find them. I think google places will be used more by those looking to find a new business.

  • 12 Judith Allee // Sep 4, 2010 at 10:49 am

    When I had my car serviced at a local radiator shop, I talked with the owner (an old friend) about Google Place Pages. He doesn’t have e-mail or a computer, let alone a website, let alone know what a Place Page is.

    I mentioned that people aren’t using the yellow pages much anymore–he’s seeing that for himself. I offered to help him set up his Place Page–just take a few minutes and I could meet him at the library a few blocks away. His eyes glazed over on the idea of walking through it, even with my help, but he offered to pay me to do it for him. He’s an old friend, so I counter-offered for a future car repair. After reading this, I’ll print it out and offer to set him up a Facebook page as well.

    We, as a country, are losing our mom-and-pop businesses left and right for many reasons. The beauty of the Internet is the capability of leveling the playing field for the little guys/gals. But that’s not what’s happening, except for the few tech-savvy small business folks.

    The Main Street Meat N Fish Market story captures what could turn into a movement! Thanks for sharing it. Now . . . time to get to work on a Facebook page for my photography business. Oh, and, well, maybe I should work on my sadly-neglected and weedy website. And my Place Page. Sigh.

  • 13 MrSmith // Sep 28, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Think slow local business owners will develop the fb page 1st … promoting a business on facebook and getting it a good position in local SERP’s are two entirely different things. Its a babystep in entering the local online arena. I would say they should do both … cover as many bases as possible when marketing/advertising and promoting their businesses online.

    But facebook would certainly not be my first stop. Facebook seems to act strangely a lot of times. Like recently trashing custom html boxes on fan pages … that wiped out tons of work people had done. Which customizing a fan page … definitely takes effort. Now with the newly introduced facebook place pages … instead of fan pages. They are putting alot of their commercial users through annoying changes. Or any number of other things fb tends to do, like I keep hearing about them banning accts for TOS violations etc. Too much spammy contact activity or whatever.

    Think fb is very good at what it intended to do … be a social network. I dont even use fb … basing that on sheer number of users and statistics. But they are going through growing pains trying to be the one stop shop, go to place for the internet. Trying to be all things, to all people. Its a weird balance they have to attempt I guess. In trying to be the internet’s number one travel destination … and not falling prey to the bloated myspace syndrome.

    Think fb should be a part of online marketing/promotion … cause there’s just too much traffic to the site to ignore it. But wouldnt be my main focus or concern … as rules are obviously subject to change at someones whim, with however much notice they feel like giving. And feel in terms of results and effort required … it ( fb business presence ) leaves much to be desired, when compared to other methods of promoting online.

  • 14 David Saunders // Sep 28, 2010 at 9:49 am

    …. since my last mention in this thread I am still finding it very difficult to get clients to understand Google Places and verifying their business

    Most have FB fan pages or whatever.

    Google Places is a hard sell as they in the main don’t get it.

    Same with Profiles and the importance of that in the future

    I continue on my merry way

    Best

    David in Plymouth – England

  • 15 MrSmith // Sep 28, 2010 at 10:03 am

    PS,

    Dana … exactly … that’s why I’ve shifted into internet marketing consulting and services. :)

    Judith Allee, also agree with you, that its kind of sad … just a sad truth, that corporations and big operators with deep pockets … almost inevitably walk all over mom’s and pop’s. Dont like it either, but not exactly as if my feelings on the matter amount to much. Tend to think of it as natural selection at work, the strong survive. Small business owners who roll with the changes and evolve their business models … will make it through, in some cases flourish.

    The one’s who dont, will find it harder and harder to stay in business at all.

    And the next generation(s) of SMB operator … will eventually be tech savvy enough to hold their own online. But then always been fundamentally disgusted with capitalism regardless. Conditions us to be dog eat dog, every man/woman/child for themselves. Get as much for myself as I can, however I can … and devil take the hind most. Which in the long run … leaves us all screwed.

    One more lofty observation ( for SMB owners who may stumble upon this … trying to get a handle on this whole technology thingy. )

    Search engines are the heart of online promoting … and google is the indisputed lord of the internet ( well … people are trying, but mainly the progress they are making to knock google off its throne are laughable. )

    So think you/they need to be focusing on the big Google. Googles been offering free local business listings for years … and yet recently announced like 2 million businesses have taken them up on it … around 1 in 10 ??!!?? That is madness … utter madness. And that’s with google promoting it themselves … how many times have you seen those get a free business listing on google ads ?

    sidenote: also google isnt doing this out of the kindness of their hearts … they fully intend to monetize it. Somewhere right now, people at google are greedily rubbing their hands together. Looking to the dy, when they get enough market penetration to start … sticking out their hands to local business operators … for payment, to be included. ie: sponsored local listings … they are already trying to skim off some of the cream for themselves.

    But I bet google is also PO’ed … that local business owners are so slow on the uptake. They offer them a dream come true marketing tool … served up on a silver platter … and they’re not using it.

    Point Im trying to make with all this free typing … is search engines are the gate keepers of the internet … and google is the lord and master of the search engine regime.

  • 16 MrSmith // Sep 28, 2010 at 10:37 am

    David Saunders, lol … you posted while I was reposting.

    Put together a presentation … simple selling points. Under the KISS truism … keep it simple stupid. Took me around 200 hrs to put one together myself and still need to change it … as Im not fully satisfied with it.

    Concentrate on the main selling pts and benefits of what you offer. If you get overly complicated or technical people’s eyes will cross. That’s a part of what you’re trying to offer them … making it simple and taking the headaches out of it … in that context, its part of why they’re paying you in the 1st place.

    Here’s a handy dandy ( free ) prog, that works well for presentations.

    http://www.scribus.net/

    But beware of a marketer … who cannot market themselves.

    Putting up a facebook page for your business might be nice … but doesnt mean very much … without the proper support and skill to back it up … marketing on social networks is almost by nature an uphill battle … can be effective, but only with the right use.

    Whereas just makes sense to take the path of least resistance. And reality being … search engines/SEM is the straightest line between point A. the business owner/operator and B. End consumer.

    Just my opinions etc so forth.

  • 17 David Saunders // Sep 28, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Cheers!

    I do verbal presentations and with Google Places like the WOW factor of instigating a ‘phone call from my laptop

    That sells me and I get viewed as the go to guy.

    I’ve been doing SEO etc etc waffle waffle since 97 when I lived in San Francisco and Walnut Creek and have found that low BS usually gets me the job.

    Yes on the eyes glaze over factor – I do that once then ask simple or bull?

    David

  • 18 Andrew Shotland // Sep 28, 2010 at 10:48 am

    “waffle waffle”?

  • 19 MrSmith // Sep 28, 2010 at 11:37 am

    lol … its all good, we’re kind of hijacking this gentlemans thread … but I guess wth … its fresh content and fairly well related to the topic.

    David … have 2 words for you Youtube presentation, something Ive recently started exploring, so thought to share with folks. But beats the hell out of listening to someone drone on verbally ya know ?

    Its audio and visual and therefor much more engaging than listening to someone drone on. Plus you can pause it, rewind it etc so forth at your convenience, go use the bathroom, get a soda, lol and come back to it on your time … aside from having tons of other benefits, which Im not going to try to touch on.

    Also, another reason I like pdf presentation … ( which can be printed also o course … for those who are completely tech illiterate. ) scribus allows you to convert to pdf format and even include working links in your documents/presentation. But pdf I feel is better, again superior to listening to someone ramble on about something.

    Just some observations I decided to share … in the interests of good will. Maybe I’ll get some karma pts or summin. If anyone makes a million off this advice … do the right thing and email me a check. :D

    On this topic in general though, it occurs to me. All this lamenting SMB’s doing this and not doing that etc. Cant help someone, who wont help themselves. I know people in the SMB world are busy, were all on info overload, its the 21st century.

    But bottomline, if they arent willing to put in some effort and investment to improve their lot. There’s nobody to blame except themselves. Who hasnt heard of this wonderous new thing, called the internet ? lol. Sheesh people in countries that only have 4 networked computers have.

    Think facebook has potential … anything with 500mil + users has potential. But thinking its the end all be all is ridiculous.

  • 20 Andrew Shotland // Sep 28, 2010 at 11:43 am

    MrSmith, please refrain from referring to me as a “gentleman”? I do have a reputation to uphold.

  • 21 Andrew Shotland // Sep 28, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Hey MrSmith, your last comment got eaten by my spamchomper. Try again.

  • 22 MrSmith // Sep 28, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    lol … said I enjoy your articles and posts. Have come across them many times researching one subject or another. One of these dys will have to get around to bk marking you. Duly noted about the gentleman thing. :D

    Tell ya who I feel sorry 4, … freelance internet marketing pro’s, lol. Learning all this stuff and staying half on top of developments in the field is a full time job.

    Marketing and deploying what you learn is a full time job. So I feel as if I have 2 full time jobs myself and realistically, you can sink 80hrs a wk into it and still come up short.. So I understand SMB’s pain when it comes to approaching this stuff. No wonder so few of them have even bothered with either google, or facebook. ;)

    Guess some people think its as easy as sitting at home, pressing a few buttons and cashing checks, lol. Would be nice … would also make a good fairytale plot. Keeping abreast of technology is like riding the tiger. Trying to do that makes my head spin sometimes … and Im a long way from tech illiterate, or marketing savvy challenged.

  • 23 Judith Waite Allee, author // Sep 28, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    @ MrSmith: QUOTE All this lamenting SMB’s doing this and not doing that etc. Cant help someone, who wont help themselves. I know people in the SMB world are busy, were all on info overload . . . SNIP But bottomline, if they arent willing to put in some effort and investment to improve their lot. There’s nobody to blame except themselves. END QUOTE
    ——————

    OK. I’m one of ‘em and indeed have only myself to blame for not taking action. And I, at least, know better. Still, just saying, as a country, we have a lot to lose here. Do we really want all our dollars going to national or multinational corporations whose employees get minimum wage and no or low benefits? And our mom and pop businesses to go extinct?

    Or are local SEOers with a passion for small-potatoes entrepreneurship going to educate these folks and offer them starter packages they can afford? There’s a huge opportunity here to do well by doing good. IMHO.

  • 24 MrSmith // Sep 28, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Judith totally agree with you ( with the following disclaimer )

    Corporations have been dominating the business world, since there’s been a business world … its nothing new, not a recent development. And not something you can say the internet or internet marketers are responsible for.

    Agree with you, its a disturbing thing … but lemme ask you a question. Where do you shop ? … ans: Probably the largest ( CORPORATE ) retailer … walmart. Where did you do the majority of your shopping before the internet came along ? Probably same answer … or another major corp provider.

    They do have an unfair advantage … but most people are willing to talk the talk … but wont walk the walk, or put their money where their mouths are. No offense intended.

    Helping the little guys compete is also a reason the field Im in appeals to me. I strongly dislike corp, they are satan incarnate, who would love to see all of us in chains and bondage … that’s true. One of the reasons I do what I do.

    But I also intend to make a good living for myself. There’s no shortage of information available on the subject. But people who arent willing to put in the time and effort … have no right to complain about the end results either.

    Also what your talking about is/always has been the nature of business as we know … which granted the whole thing has become a madhouse and a moral quagmire. Dont like it at all either.

    But that’s always been the nature of business. Those who put in the effort, make the investment … stay on top of their industry … can do very well.

    In fact 4 every business tragedy brought to some SMB by the emergence of tech … there’s probably a success story. Someone who was quick or smart enough to see the advantage and benefit and acted quickly to make themselves successful.

    So those people wouldve never stood a chance, if they hadnt harnessed the power and opportunity technology and the internet brought. Every day I come across things ( many of them free ) that could be a substantial benefit to business owners. Information/tools/software …. on and on. Its not my responsibility to do their work for them. Sheesh google served its local listings up with an apple in its mouth … and almost nobody is taking advantage of it.

    I happen to think that’s one of the greatest threats to our so called way of life. Everyone feeling entitled to a free ride, the easy life … everything being done for them … hell without having to even ask … NOW there’s CONVENIENCE huh ? :D

    Nope dont like outsourcing ( seen stats where people are getting paid .06 cents per shirt they make ) not at all being paid enough to have a good life for themselves. That is what Corps want … they dont care if they have to step on us all to get it.

    Everyone but them is starving = Ahhhh profits are good, stock earnings are up etc so forth. lol, honestly I dont like google, facebook, msn/bing which has some kind of merge with yahoo btw. What do you think they are ? They are major corporations and we all use them every day.

    So I get what you’re saying and even agree. But the real world a lot of times is cold, hard and unforgiving. You want to be in the front row, you want a spot at the top of the trash heap ? Then you better be willing to make the investment of time, energy, money etc so forth.

  • 25 MrSmith // Sep 29, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Ummm that came out a lil harsher than intended. But is pretty much true … nobody likes watching corporations dominate everything. But when they vote .. ( with their money ) they vote for the corporations. Which granted they’ve made it almost impossible not to. Often leaving mom and pop in the lurch.

    Its complicated, sheesh what isnt complicated ? Just for misc info, technology based marketing is not the only game in town. There are alternatives for motivated business owners … like guerrilla marketing.

    Which are methods of marketing/promoting etc that can be done on a shoe string budget … and still be highly effective.

    There’s also no shortage of information available about internet marketing + related subjects online or off. They invented this other ground breaking technology long ago … called the printing press. :D

    Seen plenty of books with titles like facebook marketing for dummies, local search marketing 1 hr a day, Use twitter for your business, etc so forth … endless. So if by starter packages you’re meaning condensed information or overviews of what’s involved in an SMB taking advantage of what’s available on the net.

    There’s no shortage, freely available to everyone. But it takes effort … so if SMB’s know its important and cant afford to hire someone to do it … then logically enough.

    They have to invest more time and effort into it themselves. Basically what it comes down to fairly often. Is its cheaper to hire someone to do it. When you add up the time necessary, to learn it and become somewhat competent yourself.

    ie: When something goes wrong with your car. You dont try to learn how to become an ASE certified mechanic overnight … you take it to a garage. To someone who already has the necessary training and skills to deal with the problem. Which yes, of course they expect to be paid for the work done.

    So the basic equation for SMB’s wanting to advert/market/promote online, looks like this …. More money = less effort on your part or No money = Alot more effort required. But a related equation looks like this No effort/investment = no results either way.

    One thing I would advise SMB operators caught in this dilemma to do … is get a book ( plenty online … or at your local library.) about how to really use a search engine … or how to do effective internet search. There’s more to search engines than meet the eye. Tricks, tips, hacks, special commands etc. That can help someone to find better quality resources/info online.

    Bottomline however … any way you go, its going to take effort … no way around that. Having a presence for your SMB on facebook ( fan or place page. ) is a good idea. But a fan page with no fans, that nobody even knows about … isnt doing much good.

    So in terms of fb fan page vs. google business listing. Would say google is better, set it and forget it has its appeal. :D While at the same time … smart SMB owners will manage their listing and take full advantage of what it offers.

    These are just my opinions … no puppies were harmed in the making of this post. ;)

  • 26 MrSmith // Sep 30, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Couple of the type of freebies Im talking about … these are just a couple I came across today … but look interesting and might help SMB owners get some traction w net marketing/promotion.

    Linking from your website/blog/etc to your soc net profiles/pages.

    http://niftybuttons.com/

    Firefox plugin for customizing your email signatures to include links to your soc net profiles and other junk.

    http://www.snapfiles.com/get/wisestamp.html

    Which snapfiles is itself a great source for spyware/adware free freeware/software … could spend dys. just messing around with their stuff.

    note: Im not specifically recommending these … havent used either one myself … but they did look interesting, for a person that’s technically challenged.

    Just another good will post … hope the site owner doesnt mind. I have no professional affiliation with either of these links/resources.

    Internet is full of valuable info and freebies for anyone who extends the effort though.

Leave a Comment


Comments are moderated before publishing