Local SMB Survey: 68% Have Facebook Pages, 28% Have Claimed Google Places Listing

As part of Getlisted Local University we occasionally survey the attendees. We ask several questions to assess their level of knowledge about search in general and local search in particular. This survey sample size is very small and self selected from those that registered for the seminar. The participants are primarily small and medium businesses and the market area they occupy is mostly rural. The results however are consistent with previous informal surveys.

I am always shocked that so many businesses have created Facebook Business pages and so few have claimed their Google Places page. I have been at the local thing for such a long time that I frequently forget how few businesses actually make a concerted effort to understand and benefit from Local search.

4. Do you have a website? (y/n)

Yes   83.3%
No   5.6%
5. Have you “claimed” your local business listing in the Google Places Dashboard?

Yes   27.8%
No   55.6%
6. Does your business currently have a Facebook page?

Yes   66.7%
No   22.2%

 

My takeaways?
1)There is still a huge upside to Local search
2)Google Places has not yet succeeded in gaining mindshare against Facebook despite the very real benefit it offers and their longer time in the market.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Local SMB Survey: 68% Have Facebook Pages, 28% Have Claimed Google Places Listing by

18 thoughts on “Local SMB Survey: 68% Have Facebook Pages, 28% Have Claimed Google Places Listing”

  1. Unfortunatley it doesn’t surprise me. When a company doesn’t have a physical location Google isn’t exactly clear on how to set up or claim a business. Many smb’s are skeptical of using their home address. Sure you can hide your address and select a service area if you meet clients on-site… But I believe Google could do a much better job.

  2. Oh…and you should ask in your survey… How many have set up “personal” pages in Facebook for their business. The amount of businesses that improperly set up a Facebook page is what astonishes me.

  3. @Zachary
    At home businesses (which admitedly Google does not handle that well) is not really represented in this sample survey. Most of the respondents are bricks and mortar types who would benefit greatly from a stronger google presence.

    Since the course is targeted at novice internet marketers and the survey respondents mostly fall into that category, we tried to keep the questions very simple.

    It was more a way for us to understand their needs than to ferret out behaviors.

  4. Makes sense. Facebook is a something they likely use for personal reasons, so the extension to their business is pretty simple. Huge advantage for Facebook since the SMB does not have to learn a new ‘system’ or go somewhere new to manage their business on Facebook as they have to with Google Places or any of the other local options (except maybe Foursquare and that is stretching it).

  5. @Mike, this doesn’t surprise me with SMBs. Most have never heard of “Google Places Dashboard” and don’t connect the search listings they see with being able to claim and edit them. But… when they get a bad review then they want to find out more about their listing and learn more. :)

  6. Of all the business owners I know, work with, and speak with, they are universally more responsive to facebook. Of those cases, of the ones I follow, they all get virtually all of their business from the internet, essentially from search; whether they have claimed listings or not.

    Facebook is easy for people to digest. Its interactive. A site gets friends and gets comments. Even from the business operators who get information about the volume of business they get from the web versus facebook….all these people respond to facebook.

    Its simpler to appreciate.

    Its not just that the business owners are unfamiliar with claiming their Places Records….they are unfamiliar with analytics and getting an appreciation for how the internet drives customers to them.

    I’ve been astonished by it.

  7. no surprise up here in canuckland either, Mike….by our count, the last 23 client leads we got, when asked if they have claimed their Google Places page – all but 3 said “Google who?”

    …sigh….

  8. Since I live in GooglePlacesLand and not FacebookLand, this just seems backasswards to me. I mean I believe the data is right and get it, but still just can’t understand how many businesses are clueless about Places.

    What kills me is when a Dentist fills out my contact form requesting a Google Places Optimization consultation and they EVEN SAY in the email they want to rank higher in Google Places!

    We talk for 1/2 hour I explain everything, checking along the way to be sure they understand. Then ask them a specific question about a problem I find on their claimed Place page. And they say “What’s a Place page?” Just floors me! Not only do they not know what one is, they’ve never seen one and they didn’t even know they already had one and they def are not the one that claimed it. It’s been just sitting out there in space, usually filled with violations and they had no clue.

  9. I am always astonished that so many clients have no clue as to what Google Places even is! So many of these clients are purportedly “checking” their rankings. Don’t they even wonder exactly what the Places listing even is?

  10. Interesting survey. Thanks. I wonder how many interact daily or even weekly on their Facebook page. I’ve seen many businesses that set it up and that’s it, no interaction.

    As far a Google Places goes, I find the toughest part is getting the small business owner’s attention. They are so busy. Some still don’t have a website. Once I gain their attention and explain what Google Places is, they say “oh yes” and then become extremely interested in how it can help them.

    There’s a lot of opportunity for those of us who claim and optimize Places for local business if only 28% have claimed their listing. How do you grab their attention?

  11. I’ve worked with many small business owner’s that have tried to get their Places pages claimed and updated but give up because of the lag that Google has before implementing any changes to Places descriptions. Google really needs to address this if they want to attract more businesses.

  12. Think Linda says it well.

    Most business owners have not got a clue that google places exits but because so Facebook is so very popular, (and is always reported as a “game changer, whether accurate or not) it’s natural that the uptake ratio is so different.

    Interesting survey.

  13. This does not surprise me. Facebook is buzzed way more in the media then Google Places. Thank-goodness for us local SEO’ers to help. Crazy stats!

  14. I claimed my Places Page, but also have an active listing in Google Local that has several reviews and more citations. How can I make my listing into my place page.
    My lisitng is owner verified, but it had my OLD address on it. I moved, so I updated my address on my listing, and resubmited it.

  15. Mike…That does not surprise me. With the way the economy is many business owners are too busy working in their business they hve no time for working on their business. Because of this, the majority of business owners have no idea at all what Google has to offer SMB’s or even heard of Places, Google +,AdWords, etc. But that means more business for people such as yourself who are in the business of educating and helping SMB’s get to page one of Google.
    It’s also no surprise that more than twice as many businesses have a Facebook page. Let’s face it, everyone has heard of Facebook. Even my nine year old niece and my aunt in her seventy’s are on Facebook. But the sad part is if you would of asked of the 66.7% who have a Facebook page; are you still active on Facebook six months after you created your page? I would not be surprised if you well under half are.
    BTW..You,David,Mary and the others involved where awesome in October at SMX in New York! Keep me up-to-date for the next time you have that again in the New York area.

    THANKS!

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