Facebook and the New SEO

With the advent of Facebook’s new Open Graph Protocol announced at their developers conference last week, there has been no shortage of criticism as to what’s private, what’s open, and if this makes Facebook even more open and more closed.  While I’ve certainly made my opinion known, there is really little that needs to be said from a brand perspective.  It’s quite obvious that Facebook is now a force to be reckoned with, and businesses, brand managers, and so-called “social media experts” should start paying attention.  Perhaps the group that should be paying most attention though are those that currently pay attention to SEO for their company, or the brands they represent.  With Facebook’s entry into the search space last week, Facebook should now be part of every company’s SEO plan.

Just last week, Mark Zuckerberg was quite clear when he said, announcing Facebook’s new Open Graph Protocol, that Facebook was working to make “people index the web”.  No longer are the days of complex algorithms, PhDs focusing on the fastest and most relevant search results through code.  What better way to provide relevant content and experience for what people are looking for, and often even when they don’t even know they need it, than through their friends’ activity on Social Networks.  Search is now all about relevancy.

I find it ironic that before Google, Sergei Brin’s focus at Stanford was actually a relevancy engine surrounding movies your friends watched.  His project centered around looking at how your friends rated movies and then provided suggestions based on the movies your friends like.  He quickly scrapped that when the idea behind Google came along.  Now, as the tides turn, Mark Zuckerberg took that entire focus of friends’ activity and suggestions, and is building the entire web around it, and just now he’s coming back to focus search around it.

What does Open Graph Protocol have to do with all this?  Facebook’s Open Graph Protocol is just a series of meta tags that enables Facebook, when specific Social Plugins are installed on a site (or the site is registered through Facebook Insights), to begin tracking that website.  Each website can provide very specific information about itself, and how it relates to the Facebook (or other) networks.  If you view the source of this blog you’ll notice I even get so specific as to identifying what my phone number is and what e-mail address you can contact me with.  All this information gets registered with Facebook.

Now, when you search in Facebook for “Stay”, this blog should show up in those search results, taking you right back to this blog, and providing you relevant results based on the usage and likes of yourself and your friends, something much more powerful than just an anonymous link network.  Each and every website on the internet has this opportunity to now appear in the Facebook search results, and with little effort, intercept itself between the friends of its viewers so they can easily share it with others.  That’s a very powerful concept, and so far in just the last week, over 50,000 websites are already taking advantage of this!

SEO is something that is now a standard part of any businesses web budget.  It’s simple – you build common strategies for formulating your content to appear properly in Google and others’ search results.  You try to guess the keywords you want your website to appear high under, and adapt the content of your site to make finding it in search engine results much easier.  Now, you’re going to need to do the same with Facebook.  Each SEO manager within a company should seriously be considering adding the proper Open Graph Protocol meta tags in their site, and, by doing so, they will now appear in Facebook’s search results as well.

Facebook has made it clear that this is a search game.  The release of Open Graph Protocol makes this clearer, and you should be paying attention.  Through your likes, Facebook now has the potential to provide near exact matches of advertising towards exactly what you’re looking for, without you even knowing you needed it.  That, my friends, is the holy grail of advertising.

Now, take those ads and spread them across the web, just like adwords/adsense.  Give website owners a cut for sharing them on their site.  You now have near perfect contextual advertising across every website on the web, Facebook becomes even bigger as they make more money from those ads, and the web becomes a better place by providing an experience you, the user, actually want to receive.  The brands advertising make more money, as does Facebook, because ads aren’t being wasted on people that do not want to receive them.

Facebook just did something huge last week.  It is now in the interest of every single company out there to be getting their brand visible in the Facebook search so this can happen.  This is a search game more than it is social.  Facebook just made it a whole heck of a lot more valuable for you to be investing in SEO, but this time it’s on Facebook’s terms, not Google’s, and in the end everyone wins.  Well, except maybe Google.  If Facebook isn’t currently a part of your company’s SEO strategy it’s time to start re-thinking what SEO means to you and your company.  Like it or not, Facebook is the new SEO.

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28 thoughts on “Facebook and the New SEO

  1. It's pretty interesting, at teh same time the title is a little sensationalist.

    SEO while recently has had many believe it is all about catering to a brand name, it's really about bringing traffic through all possible venues.

    Facebook Optimization or Google Optimization is just the wrong way to look at it. Jmo…

    Search Engine Optimization, Or Search Marketing, Or advertising, are generic terms which encompass more than a single venue. With that in mind, Facebook has a long long long way to go before it's the only website we visit. (I still don't have an account to be honest)

    There is also RDF's which are the competing standard, or the standard currently being pushed by Google.

    Hope that helps…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resource_Descripti

    Like

  2. MrGamma I totally understand SEO, and Facebook brings another element to the
    mix of just optimizing a web page for search engines. Now you are having to
    work on better ways to not only get it higher ranked, but also get more
    people to share it. That's much more than typical SEO. We're in a brand
    new era, one where Facebook previously was not a part.

    Like

  3. The results you show for the Facebook search “stay n” are not what I see. You forgot to account for the fact the search autofill function on Facebook is personalized, making it way harder to achieve what you are describing. Not saying that Facebook search is not growing in importance but I'm not sure that the optimization tactics are quite there yet.

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  4. I can't find any of those Stay N Alive pages on Facebook either. I can find that Application there, but those entries you're showing do not show up for me in a search.

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  5. Considering Facebook's Open Graph Protocol just launched last week, I think it's too early to make bold predictions about Facebook becoming another Google in terms of search. Certainly, I can think of B2B clients with very niche products where being found in Facebook is not even on their radar. Buyers of niche B2B products “Google” their search queries. I don't see that changing too soon. But, then again anything's possible on the web.

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  6. Brian, that's the power of it – your search results will be different from
    mine. The difference between Google's and Facebook's search results is that
    Facebook will be relevant based on your own likes and interests. It's not
    all the way there yet, but that's definitely where they're going, and you
    need to be sure you're a part of that.

    Like

  7. Bernie, more than 50,000 websites have integrated in the first week after
    launch. That's more than Gmail users that converted to Buzz in the first
    week. It's not too early to make that assumption – it's happening.

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  8. Do we really need another search engine? IMO I don't think so and I don't “like” it. History will record Facebook as the great hijacking of the internet by an intra-net.

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  9. Hmmm. I wonder how much I am like my friends? My tastes are esoteric. But then I am probably an anomalie. This could work well for people who are in the center of the pop culture storm (middle of the bell curve). The rest of us may need a different source.

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  10. Adam, how about we stay constructive here – what do you think SEO is? I've
    never said I'm a marketer (I'm a developer). I do know businesses need to
    be focusing on this stuff as much as they are other search engine
    technologies though.

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  11. I'm with bernie here. Demographics are important, and Facebook's demographics are changing. Techies are moving away from FB and leaving the less savvy. That's fine, because FB wants to be the next AOL anyways. However, it makes for a crappy search experience unless you really do share professional interests with your IRL friends and family.

    Friendfeed, on the other hand, works great as a filter because I've carefully selected people who share my interests, not my bloodline. Demographics are important.

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  12. I totally agree you Jesse.Google is different than facebook.There are also many other search engines like bing,wikipedia n etc.All are different from one another…

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  13. Hi Jesse,
    Just what is your skin in the game here?
    You seem very interested in promoting facebook and rather deaf to the privacy “missteps”.

    Like

  14. Frank, I think it's a waste of time to look at their mistakes. I have
    covered them before though. I see a huge opportunity here and my goal is to
    ensure people can take advantage of this. It doesn't matter if Facebook
    makes mistakes. What matters is, from a marketing perspective, Facebook has
    a network of half a billion users that you have the opportunity to get your
    business in front of if you take the right steps.

    As to what my skin in the game is, you might notice in the upper-right I
    have written 2 books about Facebook, and if you read this blog you'd know
    I'm writing my third book on Facebook. Facebook is my specialty. It's my
    biggest strength. I know Facebook inside and out, and for good reason. I
    want to share all the amazing things I've learned about Facebook and other
    platforms I've worked in so that those who read my blog can also see the
    benefit I have seen first-hand.

    If I see anything as amazing from Google or Twitter (which I have), or any
    other service out there I'll be all over those just as much. You'll also
    notice I'll criticize other services when I don't see them producing as
    amazing a service as what I have seen Facebook provide.

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  15. I think all the search engine have there different search result and also the page ranking. So as with facebook. facebook is right own his place whereas google is also right own his place..thanks for sharing the post…

    Like

  16. I think all the search engine have there different search result and also the page ranking. So as with facebook. facebook is right own his place whereas google is also right own his place..thanks for sharing the post…

    Like

  17. Hi Jesse,
    Just what is your skin in the game here?
    You seem very interested in promoting facebook and rather deaf to the privacy “missteps”.

    Like

  18. The results you show for the Facebook search “stay n” are not what I see. You forgot to account for the fact the search autofill function on Facebook is personalized, making it way harder to achieve what you are describing. Not saying that Facebook search is not growing in importance but I'm not sure that the optimization tactics are quite there yet.

    Like

  19. Facebook is the third biggest company in the world today. If you build a community around your business using this social networking site, expect for higher conversion and sales.

    Like

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