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The Connection Between Facebook Citations & Google Place Pages

Google and Facebook’s ongoing battle to dominate the Internet can make it difficult to understand some Internet trends. This is further complicated by the fact that Facebook is blocking the Googlebot from crawling its pages.

However, Google does have quite a few Facebook pages in its index – a quick search suggests as many as 2.6 billion:

google facebook

When you check out Google Place Pages for small businesses, you do find many references to Facebook. Here’s an example of a plumber in Boston with a Facebook citation on his Place Page:

boston plumber facebook2

The fact that there is a Facebook citation here does not necessarily mean that Google crawled Facebook. However, since this Place Page is not ‘owner verified’ we can assume it was not manually entered by the business owner.

We thought it would be interesting to see how many NY businesses have links to Facebook from their Google Place Page. Out of the 500,000+ businesses we looked at, the average we found was slightly over 2% – and virtually all of the business categories were in the single-digit percentages.

new chart jan 4

What’s surprising is the discrepancy between the figures we found and the figures quoted by other surveys. For example, BIA Kelsey’s study found that 32% of SMBs use social sites like Facebook, USA Today quoted more than 1 million SMBs have Facebook profiles, and Fox Small Business Center published a survey that found 63% of SMBs rely on Facebook.

This raises a few questions: how many small businesses really are on Facebook?

If, for example, Kelsey got it right and 32% is a fair number, then why does Google show such a small percentage? This could be for a number of reasons, given the tense relations between these two Internet giants. Thoughts?

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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