Facebook recently launched Graph Search, a facility that will allow users to find places based on their friends activity on the social network.
Graph Search aims to deliver a very different type of search from what Google offers. The objective for Facebook is to give users recommendations based on what your friends like and talk about.
For example, if you search on Facebook for a Curry House in London, the results you would get will be based on your friends Likes and Check-ins to Indian Restaurants in London. And if by any chance your friends haven’t been to a curry house in London, then Facebook will give you web results from Bing, with whom it has partnered.
The partnership means that we are going to have to spend more SEO time on Bing.
Writing for SearchEngineWatch.com Ben Straley (@bstraley) says that the, ‘simple rule of thumb is that the more content that gets shared, liked, or commented on through Facebook, the greater the chances of discovery of that content through Graph Search.’
How is Facebook going to offer me the best results to my search queries?
Facebook is currently the biggest social network in the world with over 1 billion active accounts. More than half use Facebook on a mobile device.
Every users journey through the network is recorded, giving it a wealth of data that it uses for advertising revenue.
According to Europe v. Facebook founder and law student Max Schrems data that the social network collects includes:
- Your friends and family
- The IP address used from every location you’ve used to log into Facebook
- Dates and name changes
- Your messages and comments
- Every event you’ve been invited to
- Check-in to places
- The Pages and comments that you ‘Liked’
- Camera metadata including date/time and GPS
How will Graph Search affect the reputation of my business?
Facebook Pages can be set up by anyone. If you are not on Facebook then there is chance that a supporter or detractor has already set up a Page. And if they haven’t, Facebook’s deal with Wikipedia enables it to deliver Wikipedia entries on companies or brands that do not yet have a presence on the network.
Remember, an unofficial Page can attract as many people, even more than an official Page.
Certain media outlets will look at content on Pages, official or otherwise, to see if they can find case studies during a crisis.
Journalists are really going to like Graph Search. In a note on the Facebook + Journalists page Journalist Program Manager Vadim Lavrusik says, ‘because graph search is in early stages of development, the first version focuses on four main areas: people, photos, places, and interests.’
Before adding, ‘the new search enables journalists to do richer searches when trying to find experts for stories. For example, say you’re doing a story on a specific company, and you’re looking to interview someone who works at the company’s New York office, you could do this by searching for, “People who work at ACME Inc. in New York,” to find potential employees to reach out to.
You could even make the search more specific to find people who work at the company with specific titles, for example. This could make it easier to find potential sources and experts to reach out to for stories you’re working on.’
What can I do to manage my reputation on Facebook?
First, and above all, offer a good service. Nothing works like recognising your customers. If they like you, then encourage them to share their praise, because if they don’t they’ll be equally happy to share their dislike.
In PR, the saying goes that good news is repeated 3 times, while bad news 11.
Social media though does amplify bad news. People like to share and shame. Not being on Facebook just means that you are outside the room while people talk about you.
If you already have a Page, then Facebook has shared a few tips about SEO to help you when Graph Search goes live. These include:
- The name, category, vanity URL, and information you share in the “About” section all help people find your business and should be shared on Facebook.
- If you have a location or a local place Page, update your address to make sure you can appear as a result when someone is searching for a specific location.
- Focus on attracting the right fans to your Page and on giving your fans a reason to interact with your content on an ongoing basis.
Remember, your presence, activity and authority on social media are signals that help your SEO. Make sure that you own it and can influence the perception.
Does Graph Search mean that Facebook Likes finally have a value?
Hypothetically yes. A Like is one of the key signals that Facebook will use when they filter data to answer your question. But, there is a difference between Liking a Page but never commenting, and commenting and never Liking a Page.
In any case, the Likes from people in your network are the ones that are going to count. Likes from fake Facebook users should be considered a waste of money.