In recent months, the interlacing of social and search has become somewhat of a hot topic. The announcement of Google’s latest algorithm changes brought with it many changes – but also an admission from the search giant that yes, social media will be playing an increasingly prominent role in search results. The value of social media was already being felt by way of Google’s own social network Google+ which allowed users to plus one and share pages instantly simply by being logged into their Google account. These social interactions would then influence unique users’ search results if they were logged into their account when searching – a feature Google called Search plus your world.
Now, a year after the launch of Google’s social network – it’s not just search plus your world that’s changing the results we see when we search – all major social networks and the content that they generate seem to be featuring more prominently in results. Basically, Facebook pages have become just as, if not more important than websites in the search playing field. This means, your brand’s Facebook page should be optimized in order to make the most of the potential traffic that could be coming your way.
Facebook search vs Google search
Social network giant Facebook boasts over 500 million registered users and receives no less than 32 million monthly visits from Google, which is why ensuring the visibility and relevancy of your brand’s Facebook page, is crucial. The visibility of your Fan page not only affects how users find you within Facebook, but also how users find your Fan Page using search engines.
The Facebook search algorithm operates on the exact match method, meaning only results containing the exact phrase a user types into the Facebook search bar will be shown to them.
Facebook search results are also based on n a user’s connections, which means that Facebook will show different search results to different users based on how ‘connected’ they are to a certain page. If the user has friends who have ‘Liked’ or commented on the fan page, they will be more likely to find that particular page when searching for it on Facebook. This Facebook-style search functionality can assist in exposing your fan Page to an already interested viewer, but it could also mean that Facebook search can sometimes conceal your page from people trying to find it.
Search engines such as Google and Bing on the other hand have the ability to crawl and index certain parts of all fan pages, including the Wall, About Us section, Page Info and any additional HTML added to the Fan Page by an Admin. Which means – these spaces can easily be optimised to ensure your pages visibility in search engine results.
Page name and URL
The name of your page is very important –for humans as well as search engines. Since Facebook search operates on exact match, it is very important that you select a name for Facebook page that’s likely to correspond what users will be searching for. Next, make sure your page has what is often called a ‘vanity URL’. This simply means that instead of having a random generated Facebook URL, people will be able to easily find your page by typing Facebookcom/yourpagename. Vanity URLs are permanent, so once again it is vital that you pick one that is relevant and easy to find/share. Have Don’t worry if you’ve built up a presence under original URL Facebook assigned your Fan Page – Facebook places a permanent 301 redirect on your original URL, meaning your original page rank will carry over to your new vanity URL.
Keywords in descriptions
Remember, search engines have the ability to crawl and index a Fan Page’s Info section, About Us section and Page’s Notes, which means that it is important to pay special attention to the content put up on these pages. Keywords are extremely important and can help people find your page successfully when searching for them. In your company description be clear and specific about what you are and what you do –now is not the time to be vague or poetic.
Categorise your page
This may seem like an obvious point to make, but it is one that is often overlooked. When Fan Page results show up within Facebook search their page category appears right below the Page Title. Make sure the category you select will accurately describe to users what your Facebook Fan Page is about.
Invest in PPC
Facebook PPC will not only expose your brand’s page to thousands of new users and help your page grow; it is also good for SEO. Research has shown that Facebook PPC is the most cost-effective PPC program , with ROI from Facebook PPC being on average 50%. Unlike other PPC programs that target keywords, Facebook PPC targets particular users with certain interests.
Keep it fresh and dynamic
The best and easiest ways to ‘optimize’ your Facebook page is by generating exciting content that constantly updates and kept fresh. Search engines reward pages that are active and that inspire action and interaction from others.