On August 7 Facebook completed the roll-out of its Graph Search for all users. For those new to Facebook the Graph Search is like a new search engine, with results that include only publicly available content on the social site and personalized around users’ connections, likes and interests. Google for example gives results from everything available on the Internet worldwide and based on the words and phrases their users search for. Still, we are talking about a pretty large database of over a trillion social connections now existing on Facebook.
Users can now search the social site for people they may know, music their friends like, movies their friends like, games their friends play, restaurants nearby, or additionally refine their searches for more specific results like “books my friends of friends have read” or “restaurants in Nova Scotia visited by my friends”. They can now narrow the search around the information their friends have made publicly available, integrated with content, local and social data for other people and businesses. This provides a great opportunity for companies marketing on Facebook to maximize their efforts by improving their brand pages and getting more fans while at the same time boosting their SEO for more love from search engines.
So, how do you optimize your business (brand) Page for Facebook Graph Search and Google?
First you start with page optimization (about section, content, and local search), and then you continue with how you share content and engage readers.
Edit your Page name, URL, and optimize your Page’s About section
We can’t talk about SEO and not begin with on-page optimization, and we can’t start our Graph Search strategy without first optimizing our Business Page on Facebook. Start with your page username and choose a URL that includes your company name and/or one or two selected target keywords for SEO purposes. Supernova Media page URL is keyword-targeted: www.facebook.com/novascotiawebdesign. You can register your username at www.facebook.com/username, but make sure it will be suitable forever, as once it’s set you can’t change your mind.
Also pick a Page name that matches the name your clients know you by, and avoid changing it so you won’t hurt your SEO. Don’t overstuff your name with too many keywords, – fans will see you as spammy and won’t engage with your page or share your posts and updates with their friends. What’s worse, they may even hide your posts from their news feed. Don’t be too generic either because Facebook may block you from posting updates and reaching out to new fans. Keep in mind that the first word of your Page name is what Google weighs the most.
Select the appropriate category for your business, and then edit the short description and other elements of the About section so they’ll contain the descriptive keywords together with a link to your website in the first 75 characters that show on the Wall view. If you can make it up to 140 characters your whole message will display in the search engine’s snippet. Your About section, your Mission and Company description are your fan page basic SEO elements. The search engines see your Page name as SEO title and H1, and your About as meta-description for your company page on Facebook. Make sure your strategic keywords are included.
Keep your page updated, always relevant, and publicly viewable and sharable. Link to it on your website, blog, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter profile and invite your friends to like it, and promote your Facebook URL on your business card and in your email signature.
Consider Local Search optimization within Facebook
Graph Search has made it possible for users to search products and services their friends have tried, liked and recommended. That is why it is now even more important for small and local businesses to be actively present on Facebook. For those in the restaurants, hotels, travel and recruitment niche Graph Search can be vital. In order to show up in Facebook Graph Search results you need a local store or a local place Facebook page. You must update it with an accurate address and phone number so that your page will appear in the results when someone is searching your specific location. Google places higher importance on pages with such data, and that can effectively increase your brand’s overall SEO.
Regularly share only high-quality relevant content, images and videos
Regularly posting and sharing quality and relevant content (blog posts, videos, pictures, etc.) is key for your business to appear within Facebook Graph Search results and necessary to engage your following. Make sure the content you post relates to your business, and try adding at least one of your keywords when describing the value of the links to your readers. Keep in mind that the first 18 characters serve as meta-description for your post, and the first word has the highest importance so it’s probably wise to make it a keyword. Encourage people to like, comment or otherwise interact with your content, ask them to tag or share photos, etc. Supernova Tip: Be sure to optimize your photos and videos by naming them by your keywords or company name!
The visual appearance is very important, so make sure to use only high-resolution images when sharing your links. You can also add captions to describe the uploaded photos and include your relevant keywords as well as links to the corresponding pages on your blog or website.
Attract and engage your Fans to interact with your Page
The number of Likes (particularly local likes, so that you appear in Graph Search of local users), Check-ins, Recommendations, are all vital signals for Facebook to rank your company page in Graph Search. Engaged is the best audience, and you must be creative applying new ideas focused on boosting interaction and bringing relevant fans that will send-out a far stronger ranking signal. Above, we’ve embedded one of our Facebook posts right in to this article! We encourage you to embed popular posts or posts you want to promote in your articles (blog) too.
Comments, likes and content shares are also important as they optimize and improve the SEO value of the links between you and your fans when Facebook connects the names to their profiles.
Consider your Page’s News Feed Ranking (ex EdgeRank)
Facebook EdgeRank algorithm is based on Affinity, Weight and Time Decay which determines how, when or if certain post will show in user’s News Feed is now out of use, and is being replaced by a far more complex algorithm that includes over 100,000 individual weights in the model. Users will continue to see more content from the pages with which they interact more often including clicking, liking, commenting, posting, sharing, etc. So again,it’s all about engaging the audience for businesses. It’s great that you have fans that “Like” your page, but are they engaged enough with your content so it will appear in their feeds at all? To be able to reach the maximum number of viewers with your posts and updates you must put interactivity and user engagement first when building your Facebook brand page strategy.
There’s still a long time to go until Facebook Graph Search starts threatening Google’s domination over search, but the social site will continue to gather more and more data and the time will come when we’ll look on Graph Search for the stuff we need as we do now on Google. As a business you should recognize the strong social signals and optimize for Graph Search starting today.
Have you taken advantage of the available complex search terms? ie: I just searched “My friends who like WordPress”. What do you think of the new Graph Search features?