On Tuesday evening Facebook launched Graph Search which is essentially an overhaul of its search service. Most commentators agree that Search has been an Achilles Heel for Facebook, so this is a welcome announcement. People will now be able to search through information and photos that their friends have posted as well as find places friends have recommended.
With a company page on Facebook being a key element in a lot of brands’ digital strategy, we caught up with Firefly partner, Ben Gibson at The Search Agency UK to find out what Facebook’s latest announcement means for companies.
Following this announcement, Ben highlights the importance of three elements in order to ensure a brand gets the best out of Facebook – Implementation of SEO practices on Facebook, local search optimisation and quality (not quantity) of Likes.
To ensure Facebook pages are optimised for SEO and easily searchable on the site, Ben says that “A basic SEO framework, including vanity URLs and business information, needs to be applied. We expect that brands will have to further develop their search strategy that optimises their placement within the Facebook ecosystem. Edgerank has long been important, and will be more so now that there is a new way to access information and objects. However, there is a challenge when it comes to assessing impact of search strategies; the data on search volumes, ranking etc will remain with Facebook. A proxy for this may be greater analysis of Bing ranking data. ”
“For local businesses or regional branches of larger organisations, ensuring the correct information is prominent on the page means that there is the opportunity to nurture a good local Facebook community to gain greater prominence within Facebook results.”
Achieving a good ranking in Facebook Graph search results will also be dependent on Likes. Once upon a time, the number of Likes was a way of measuring success on Facebook, to the point of people buying fake Likes (something Facebook has been cracking down on). Now the emphasis has shifted to quality Likes - i.e. the recognition from individuals with large networks who are deemed more influential.
“There has been much discussion over the last few years regarding the value of a Facebook Like but Graph Search will make it even more important for brands to generate quality Likes so their pages can be found. Buying Likes is highly unlikely to be a shortcut for success!” he said.
“Because Facebook will allow users to search by people, places, photos, interests, it means there’ll be a focus on quality content that ticks all these boxes. For example, if your business has a physical presence, you’ll want to think about location indicators.”
A high ranking in Facebook will be something earned by companies. Facebook’s Graph Search is currently in beta test so it is early days yet, but one thing’s for sure, social search is evolving. Google + is the other contender is this space and brands need to prepare as these two tech giants make changes and do battle. According to Charles Arthur at the Guardian, Facebook and Google are like two icebergs on a collision course. We’re braced for impact.
This post was written by Charlotte.