What’s Facebook Professional Services? I can hear you asking.
Back in December Facebook very quietly launched a new service known as ‘Professional Services’. This new service is for local business listings, including both contact details and reviews from previous customers.
The idea, as briefly explained on the Facebook page, is to display professional services that are not only local to the user, but also have the best reviews and ratings on Facebook. The feature only appears to be available on desktop currently, although it can be accessed via a smartphone or tablet browser, with very few options for categories.
Customers can use the search box to find businesses within their local area (or another area of their choice) as well as browsing the ‘best’ local businesses of certain categories.
What does this mean for Yelp, and other local listings?
Whilst it’s unclear whether this service has had any positive impact so far, (it’s still believed to be in testing phase – especially as Facebook still haven’t officially made an announcement) it seems as though Facebook is attempting to compete with Yelp, as a reliable directory for local businesses. It could prove very successful, especially if rolled out within the Facebook app so it can be used on the go, but only time will tell.
My colleague Jenny previously wrote a quick guide to local SEO, which has increased in importance since the Google Pigeon algorithm in 2014. Although it is unclear whether this new Facebook feature will affect local SEO per se, there are elements of local SEO that can be applied to Professional Services.
How can I get my business to appear within Professional Services?
There doesn’t seem to be a simple sign-up solution to appear on the Professional services directory, however we’ve noted down a few important aspects:
- Make sure you’ve got a local business page set up
- Enter relevant keywords within your page
- These should ideally include categories from the professional services page
- Be sure to fill in all the page info details, found in the About section on your page
- Enable check-ins and star ratings
- These also can appear on the professional services listing so it’s possible that the more you have the better – so far we have seen both positive and negative reviews appearing on top listed pages, so it’s unclear whether the negative reviews would have a negative impact on the positioning
It’s still unclear whether Facebook are currently testing this new feature, but what we do know is that local search – whether on Facebook, Google or elsewhere – is something that is of vital importance in recent years and is not something that should overlooked. For more information on improving your local SEO efforts, contact a member of the team today.