The New Era of Social Media

Look out Google, Facebook is getting into the search engine optimization (SEO) business. Currently, Facebook’s new Graph Search tool with the Friends Who Like option is in beta testing, but it will soon be released to the public.

What is it?

Why is this important?

The Graphic Search tool will allow users to easily locate friends, businesses, and interest groups within the Facebook environment. Although it is very similar to a traditional search engine, Facebook’s Graph Search tool will use likes not links to rank results. In essence, Facebook is taking natural correspondence and bringing it into the viral environment. For instance, it is completely natural for a friend to ask: “who cuts your hair? or “what is the name of your dentist?”. In fact, 92% of people trust recommendations from their friends while less than 50% trust advertising messages. (Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey, Q3 2011) In addition, Facebook’s “Friends Who Like” option will allow users to go beyond the functionality of traditional search engines and internet reviews to see what businesses their Facebook Friends endorse. This is word of mouth advertising on steroids.

How will this affect my business?

Business must expand their understanding of SEO beyond algorithms and keywords and learn to cultivate organic relationships with their Facebook community through relevant content and open interaction. In short, business must be social within the social media space. For some, this will be a daunting task, but when done correctly, business can benefit by using this tool to create specific marketing campaigns around their community’s interests. Clara Shih reported in Ad Age Digital, “this should result in much better targeting, click-through-rates (CTR), and conversion rates for brand and local advertisers, opening up what could be a very valuable organic channel for advertisers.”

How Can I Get My Business Ready?

Facebook currently has over 1 Billion users. As more people begin to use Facebook’s Graph Search tool over traditional search engines such as Google and Yahoo!, it will be even more important that your business has a Facebook profile with a large following. To set up a Facebook business page visit https://www.facebook.com/business.

For those who already have a Facebook business page, here are some things you can do to make sure your business is Facebook Graph Search ready.

1. Update our About Us section. Make sure to use SEO friendly words that will help your business show up in searches. For example garage doors, remodeling, and repairs.

2. Update your contact information. One of the key features of Facebook Graphic Search is that users can search for businesses in a specific geographic area.

3. Customize your Facebook URL. Facebook allows you to create a vanity URL ex. http://www.facebook.com/OverheadDoor. Having a vanity URL will help users find you faster and increase your Facebook SEO.

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