On Friday, September 24, Facebook rebooted its Notes feature. Formerly the domain of silly forwards and “25 things you didn’t know about me but will doom my political career if anyone finds out” content, Notes’ reboot appears sharply aimed at sites like Quartz and Medium. Everything from style to layout to font choices shouts the cloning of these other, more popular content sites.
Should you immediately leap to Facebook Notes? As with all things marketing, it depends on your goals. We set up a few tests on Friday as soon as the feature became available to determine if there was any SEO benefit.
The short answer: no SEO benefit yet.
Here’s how. On Friday afternoon, we set up two public posts. The first post had a compendium of made up words:
Google indexes new content on a fairly regular basis, sometimes as quickly as within an hour. No luck for words like Bioyinoti, even 72 hours later:
The second test was to leverage three distinct uses of a made-up keyword, Lazappalinari:
I incorporated it into the URL, the title, and the body copy, a general best practice.
After publishing, I shared on my brand page and had a colleague share on their personal profile as well. Still no luck even being indexed, also 72 hours later:
Even after Tweeting it:
The conclusion thus far is inescapable: if your goal is improved inbound links and SEO, Facebook’s new Notes reboot won’t help one bit. If your posts aren’t even being indexed, there’s no way for them to be counted for links generated to your regular web properties.
If your strategy is to leverage personal profiles to share brand content (as some folks do with employee advocacy/activation programs), then Notes may be one additional tool to add, but know that it will only potentially help within the Facebook ecosystem, and even then only with personal profiles. As of this writing, brand Pages are unable to create Notes.
That said, as Facebook has done with other features they want to draw attention to (such as video), there may be a short-lived extra bit of favor given to Notes posted in the News Feed algorithm until its usage is on firm ground.
Ultimately, Facebook Notes’ value to marketers and communicators is still unclear, unless you have highly engaged, well connected employees and advocates on Facebook. If you do, you’ll enjoy even more reach with your content (though Notes do not currently have their own analytics); otherwise, stick with the content hubs and communities that are currently working well for you.
Update: within 15 minutes of publishing this blog post, Google indexed the term Lazappalinari:
Clearly, Google is expressly not indexing Facebook Notes.
Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology