In case you haven’t heard, today Facebook announced their new “Graph Search” functionality. In the past Facebook updates have generally been changes to the user interface structure. But this update is different. This update means a lot for the development of Facebook as well as new opportunities for businesses. Facebook Graph Search is an exciting development in the future of search.
For years search marketing was in the realm of internet search engines only. Google attempted to give you best results based upon your search. Facebook data was not included because Facebook did not allow Google to access the data of particular users. Now Facebook is getting into the search game, and they are doing so in an entirely unique way.
To find out how graph search will work, check out Facebook’s description here. In a nutshell, Facebook will use your own data to help connect you with others who share similar interests. For example, you could search for “friends who like hiking” and get a list of all of your friends who enjoy hiking. You can search by interests, music, movies, location, or numerous other factors.
According to Facebook, pages will also be returned in this list. Since this system isn’t yet available to try, it’s impossible to know exactly how to prepare your page for this change. However, below I make a few educated guesses on how the search program will work and tips to help you optimize your page.
1. Fill out all data on your page
As Facebook combs through the data looking for matches, it’s important that your page has all the required information completed. If there is no data, there is no possible way for Facebook to make the connection. Relevant information includes an accurate description of your business, products and services, address, email, and phone number. Anything you can include will likely will help your site appear as a search result.
2. Be active in the community
Based on the initial review, Facebook won’t only search static information, but it will also search old posts, likes, and interactions. As the company begins to try and help users connect with things that really matter to them, activity will be a perfect way to determine how involved users are with businesses.
This means that your page needs to be active in the community. It also means that you need to post things that help others interact with your brand. Whatever shape this takes for your brand, make sure that your posts are attracting likes and comments, as these will also likely influence your ability to show up. Photos and videos are great places to start. There are dozens of other articles with good social media tips available, so just suffice it to say that interactions will (very likely) matter.
3. Think Mobile
A big part of the strategy appears to revolve around check-ins. Originally pioneered by foursquare, check-ins will help Facebook understand who likes particular businesses and how often users visit the location. As a business owner, someone visiting your business can “check-in” on their mobile device. Their friends can then see where they checked in on their Facebook timeline. If you operate a restaurant, event center, or retail store, getting users to check-in on their Facebook will be an important factor in your likeliness to show up in searches.
Why does this matter? Let’s pretend you run an Italian restaurant. If I search for “Restaurants my friends visit”, I will get dozens of results. But Facebook Graph Search is going to cater the results to my individual tastes. So if I have 15 friends who have checked-in at your restaurant over the past three months, your restaurant is going to be much more likely to show up at the top of results compared to restaurants with no check-ins.
I’m excited that Facebook is adding a legitimate search ability to their site. I think it will help businesses better interact with consumers. If done well, I think Facebook will become a serious search competitor over the next several years. I can’t wait to give this new functionality a try.
About the Author
Tyler Brooks is a SEO and video production specialist at Proof SEO.