I love this industry I work in. There I said it. Cheesy as it sounds, I could give the Local Search/Social Internet industry a bouquet of flowers this morning. Facebook unveiled Graph Search yesterday, as you probably already heard. The reason my heart swoons is because of the host of challenges faced by business owners based solely off of the mere implications of this new search tool. Cheesy and geeky all at once.
There are several implications to consider. But the one that makes my heart race immediately is discussed a bit in Danny Sullivan’s January15th article where he describes the gap between good search results and Facebook users’ actual habits of revealing every little opinion (like) and detail about themselves.
The basic premise is this. A search for “which Irish pubs on Chicago’s North Shore do people who live in Highland Park like” is dependent on not only Highland Park users (my friends and their friends) taking the time to “like” Irish pubs on Facebook (lord knows, I don’t take the time myself), but also on North Shore Irish pubs actually being on Facebook in the first place – let alone having done anything to encourage likes to their page as well. And if you're a large national brand with locations scattered across the country... whoa, what a challenge!
The Graph Search search results landscape will undoubtedly have holes; holes that will only be filled by a steady dose of habit building on the part of end users "liking," and businesses getting on Facebook to attract those likes. And the success of Facebook’s new gizmo depends on those habits forming. Where local search is concerned, Facebook's Graph Search's success and SMB's ability to leverage the space are fused at the hip.
I love you, Local/Social Search industry. You always keep me on my toes. J