It's uncertain what impact Facebook's Graph Search will have on small businesses and local search - so far, fewer than 1 million users have access to Graph Search. Because "places" is one of four key realms of Graph Search (the others include people, photos and interests), it's safe to assume that if this new search option takes off, the local component will be strong. Thus, here are some tips for small businesses to maximize their potential in the event that Facebook Graph Search becomes the next big thing in local SEO.
Have a complete and updated Facebook page
This is obvious, but businesses can't show up in Graph Search results if they don't even have a Facebook page. Small businesses should make sure their address is up to date and all category sections of their profile are complete, engaging and accurate. One important tip is to mention a business' target locations, especially as it is uncertain whether Graph Search does a good job of presenting users with businesses in nearby towns.
Revamp your social media strategy
Though the exact ranking algorithms are only known to Facebook, it's likely that a business' number of likes, check-ins, and visitor-tagged photos are very important in Facebook's local search rankings. Of these three, likes might be most important, as Graph Search queries seem to rank results by whether a user has friends who have "liked" the business. Now might be the time for small businesses to revamp their social media strategies to engage current fans and garner new ones. Local businesses should encourage users to share photos and showcase recent customers' photos, as they seem to have some weight in local search results.
Because Bing and Facebook have a strong partnership, if keywords don't produce results, Facebook shows data from Bing ads and Bing search results. Small businesses should make sure to have an accurate and complete Bing Places page, and they also might want to consider investing in Bing ads.
Get Facebook Graph Search
Finally, small businesses can keep an eye on competitors by requesting access to Facebook Graph Search. It's a good idea to play around with Graph Search and see competitors' demographics as well as which keywords bring particular results.
Encourage customer reviews
Customer reviews are probably a factor in SEO rankings. Businesses in local Graph Search get star rankings that are highly controlled by Facebook through a ratings module to users who have checked in. Thus, having a tactic or policy to encourage customers to check in at and review your business is important.