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 the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Other | Small Is Beautiful


About The Author: is CEO at Palore, a provider of local businesses' advertising data and information on their online activity. He also blogs at The Palore Blog. This column is researched and written by the marketing department at Palore, which is led by Hanan.

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  • Tim Cohn

    For the same reason not all web pages that are crawled appear in Google’s index.

  • Wes

    Where do you see Facebook blocking Googlebot from crawling and indexing facebook pages? All of the business pages I have created have always been indexed and cached by Google. Same with my personal profile, which, up until recently hat a PageRank of 2. I don’t see any crawler blocks on those pages in robots.txt file or meta robots…

  • demoninside

    Good job. If you are looking for more sensation write article “Google hits Facebook in the face!!”.

    The most biased article I’ve seen in a while. The author has no idea how Google is building citations for local listings and how many months (if not years) are needed to get citation from Facebook. He overlooks the fact that small business owners are not SEO specialists and can put different information in the Google listings and the Facebook pages so the link between them will be virtually impossible.

  • Hanan Lifshitz

    Tim, with any other site I would have assumed the same, however, given the many reports about Facebook blocking Google I suspect there may be other factors in play.

    Wes, I don’t have any insider information about Facebook’s content sharing relations with Google other than what has been widely publicized. BTW, Facebook’s robots.txt file does refer to the Googlebot directly – here’s what it says:
    User-agent: Googlebot
    Disallow: /ac.php
    Disallow: /ae.php
    Disallow: /album.php
    Disallow: /ap.php
    Disallow: /feeds/
    Disallow: /l.php
    Disallow: /o.php
    Disallow: /p.php
    Disallow: /photo.php
    Disallow: /photo_comments.php
    Disallow: /photo_search.php
    Disallow: /photos.php

    demoninside, I’m sorry you feel this way – the post shares factual data and raises an open question – I don’t see where they bias is…


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