SEO for Facebook

Updated: December 06, 2010

Google Grudge:

Ultimately, what makes Facebook valuable to businesses is its hubris. Facebook has never seen itself as just another social networking site for friends, like MySpace or Friendster; it's always had its sights on Google.

All those eyeballs and page views would amount to nothing useful for you if Facebook were content to stick to cat videos and frat party photos. Because of its lofty ambitions, you can bet that it will continue to branch out its capabilities until it's competing directly with Google core products, especially Search.

Facebook's Advantage:

A startup attempting to topple Google isn't news, but what makes this fight worth watching is that Facebook been able to grow an enormous network of contributors sharing unique information unavailable elsewhere on the internet.

With its members reveal all kinds of personal information on its pages, Facebook has an unprecedented amount of real data about its users and is in a position to tailor search results and advertising more sharply than than has ever been possible before.

Furthermore, Facebook is able to harness the power of its users sharing and recommending content to rank websites much like Google's algorithm, but with the advantage of human insight.

Google‘s strategy for combing the web has always been to brute force the problem, creating an infrastructure that can crunch an unfathomable amount of data. Its bots spider the web, dragging all of the content back to the home servers where the mysterious algorithm to determines what's relevant.

The automation, however, means that human judgment is not exercised in deciding relevance. Instead, Google tries to simulate the human judgment by such means as looking at the number and quality "backlinks" to each piece of content in its index. It ranks the content for relevance to a particular topic based on the algorithm.

In practice, what has happened is that website managers have tried to reverse-engineer the Google algorithm and feed it what they think it wants. As a consequence, a certain amount of junk is allowed to leech in.

Facebook, on the other hand, knows what content is relevant because its users are sharing and interacting with it. This content includes not only the personal information that users post but also the numerous web links, news stories and blog posts that they reference but also the exclusive content written by its users on the platform.

Facebook search is still in beta stage, and the volume of search is nowhere near the billions of searches at Google. However, the approach FB has selected is the way Web is evolving towards. Once Facebook perfects its search, it will be able to provide superbly targeted results to queries.

The Basic Facebook Integration

If you're ready to take the leap, Interactive Limited has a more complete guide to SEO for Facebook on our site, but these are the three things you can do now to get started:

  1. Create a Facebook Fan Page
    Facebook Fan Pages are pages that organizations can set up to promote themselves. They differ from regular pages in that you collect Fans instead of Friends. By creating one you will be able to communicate directly with individuals, publish updates to News Feeds and invite Fans to events. Your page will also be eligible to appear in internal Facebook search results and on external search engines.
    • To set one up, you'll need to be logged in with or create a personal or business account.
    • Useful Resources: Create the page here.
  2. Install Open Graph Protocol
    Facebook is a walled garden. Installing Open Graph Protocol on your website is the best way to throw your content over the wall and make it discoverable from the Facebook platform.

    Open Graph Protocol functions like a set of meta-tags. Installing them on your webpage gives you're the ability to integrate some of the social functionality of a Facebook page - a ‘Like' Button or a News Feed where logged in users can see what their friends have shared from your site. It also makes your website eligible to be returned in Facebook Search results.
    • The tags give Facebook some basic information about your page - what its for, where your located, etc.
    • Useful Resources: Facebook's developers' page on Open Graph.
  3. Install a ‘Like' Button
    A ‘Like' Button allows you to collect Facebook Fans right on your page.
    Facebook SEO is all about collecting lots of fans, especially in your target demographic. Getting good quality ‘likes' will dramatically improve your Facebook Search rank.
    • Useful Resources: Facebook's guide to installing a 'Like' Button.
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