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.
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