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There aren’t too many companies out there willing to take on Google in a street fight, but all the signs point to Facebook doing just that.  The good news for small businesses is that this fight will give Google some significant competition in its monopoly over how local shoppers connect with local businesses, a.k.a. Local Search.

Googlers Vs. FB Friends
Smartphone technology is fast replacing the Yellow Pages as the place for local shopper’s to find everything from pizza delivery to surgical supply stores.  Google currently dominates local search results, but now Facebook is challenging Google as the king of local search by announcing on April 29 2010 that its now offering brick-and-mortar businesses decals to put in their windows in an attempt to encourage its 400 million-strong users to visit local business’s Facebook page in hopes that more businesses will purchase advertising on Facebook.

It should be noted that Facebook has said that businesses which promote their Facebook page in places other than Facebook see a 20%+ increase in connections.  So sure, in fact, that they’re offering beta testers of their new decal program $25 in advertising credits to help encourage businesses to participate in program, as well as their advertising program in general.

Searching For Small Businesses
The hottest trend in search engine optimization right now is Local Search, mainly because it’s getting more diversified as more people are using different types of Internet-capable devices (Smartphones, PDAs, GPS units, etc.) to find what they’re looking for.  No less an expert than contributing editor Greg Sterling says, “It [Facebook] could do nothing in particular or it could build the single most effective local directory and search site that exists.  This data will be more valuable than anything Google… possesses.”

Not Alone In Dishing Out Decals
By no means is Facebook the only website that’s offering details small businesses can put in in their storefront windows.,, and all have decals shopkeepers can display.  In fact, Google has been sending decals to businesses as part of its Favorite Places program for months now and just announced that it’ll be sending out details to 50,000 businesses.  The major difference between the decal programs of Facebook and Google is that the latter’s decals include a QR code customers can scan with their Smartphone for more information about the business while Facebook’s decal simply displays the business’ Facebook page URL.

In Summation…
In the rough-and-tumble world of politics, there is an old saying that goes, “All politics are local”.  Well, so are all searches, or at least that’s the way it is when using the Internet to search in a defined geographic area for local merchants.  And whether it’s through Google, Facebook or any other website, this trend will only continue as more and more people are using Smartphone technology rather than their local phonebook when searching for help.

So, if you’re a brick-and-mortar business owner, you better start thinking more “locally”.



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