15 Jan 2013

5 Tips for Facebook Graph Search Optimization

Facebook announced Graph Search today in its press conference, a new form of social search that relies on friends and connected parties to find interesting results. Instead of traversing search archives about topics, Graph Search lets you traverse social networks for people who know about the topics.

My friends who work at SHIFT Communications

It should take almost no time for Graph Search Optimization companies to spring up overnight for optimizing your marketing programs for Graph Search. I’ll save you some time with a few simple guidelines based on what Facebook has revealed.

1. It’s about who you know. Google Search is about what. Facebook Graph Search is about who. Change how you think about search for Facebook. The two strategies are incompatible, so you can’t just copy your Google SEO strategies blindly and hope it all works out.

2. It’s actually technically about who knows you. If you have the right, relevant audience, then when people are asking friends of friends about your industry, Graph Search will connect them. Guess what that means? You should be asking vigorously of your customers, of your mailing list, of anyone relevant to your industry, to hit the ol’ Like button.

Also, you can fling anything you heard about the value of a Facebook Like straight out the window now, if you haven’t already. This changes that game entirely.

3. Your fans are officially your marketing force whether they want to be or not. With Graph Search, people who like your Facebook Page and share your stuff will automatically be referral marketing on your behalf. In their briefing they said, “You want a search tool that can help you get access to things people have shared with you.” The value of someone hitting the Share Button is now significantly higher because the algorithm for Graph Search is going to make the logical connections from public and friends’ shares.

Get your friends, customers, prospects, and evangelists to Share your stuff as often as possible.

4. Engagement matters (more). Facebook is quite clear about that: “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.” Engage, because the algorithm, given two choices for a search, will pick the higher engagement one to list first. In their words, “Results are ranked by people you care the most about; the rest are sorted by mutual friends and other signals in the Facebook system.” That means EdgeRank, which is composed of freshness, relevance, and closeness.

Get people talking with your Facebook Page by any legitimate means you can.

5. Add location data to your Facebook Page or else. Graph Search has geo-targeting built in. For that matter, make sure that your Facebook Page is as complete as you can make it for your business.

As more is revealed about Facebook Graph Search, there will be more ways to take advantage of it, but this is a list of things you can do right now, today, to prepare. If you want to get in on the Graph Search beta as a user, Facebook has a waiting list here.

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

Be Ballsy. Work at SHIFT. Apply now!

7 comments
ambreen11
ambreen11

Thank you for the update on this. I haven’t done much research on Facebook’s new graph search. Your article and the input in the article were extremely helpful!

ken bane
ken bane

great article and thanks for mentioning location. Taking it a step further, Graph Search Optimization is even more important for multi-location retailers and restaurants who have hundreds or even thousands of local store pages that in-store mobile customers can like, check into, leave wall posts and even rate (via the nearby me tab in the mobile app).  It opens doors for local engagement around actual social activity that can ultimately push a brand's local pages to the top of the list.  "Italian restaurants in Atlanta" "Hamburgers in Austin".  Of course there are a lot of challenges - many brands haven't claimed their locations, there are lots of user-generated/unbranded pages, and it's challenging enough managing a national brand social presence, let alone hundreds or thousands of local pages.  Retailers and restaurants who get it now will clearly have the advantage.  

MarkGavalda
MarkGavalda

This sounds like a great idea and in theory it could be really awesome for the users (and maybe the businesses too), but who knows when they'll start to monetize the hell out of it and distort results with all kinds of ads, sponsored results and what not. To be honest I'm quite disillusioned with Facebook since the "we don't care that you invested a lot of money into building OUR brand too (asking readers/clients/fans to like a page at facebook.com/whatever) now you should pay us if you want to reach the audience you built..." fiasco :-/

EricWard
EricWard

And just like that, all Facebook user interactions have become suspect. Is it a genuine "Like", an incetivized Like, a real Fan, a purchased Fan, etc. These interactions have been for sale for quite some time, but not had much real impact. With the new Graph Search, the Like/Fan rush will just intensify, at any cost and by any approach.

HughBriss
HughBriss

Excellent article Christopher and damn, you sure put that together quick. ;)

dionak
dionak

Thanks for the update Christopher. It'll be interesting to see how this continues to develop.

ScottAyres
ScottAyres

This to me takes the idea that Google has with the +1's to a whole new level.