Welcome to another social media-meets-SEO blog post – a common theme of late.
This is a very interesting time for search marketing, with the influence of social media on SEO a particular priority on many peoples agendas. Google and Bing have all but admitted that they look at social signals – so like it or loathe it – social media affects your rankings in one way or another.
Which is why, as any digital marketer will tell you, it’s becoming increasingly important to look at SEO and social media as a whole and not as two separate entities.
It’s one thing to use social media buzz to ultimately increase your site’s visibility, but there are also steps you can take to increase the visibility of your social pages in SERPs (search engine results pages) – after all, for buzz you need people and those people need to be able to find you.
Social visibility in SERPs also holds increased importance for those who use social media channels as their primary web presence. For those without a website, it’s crucial that their Facebook/Twitter/YouTube pages are ‘findable’ in search results.
In this post, we’ll be looking at Facebook and a few ways to optimise Facebook pages for search. Full credit to Econsultancy for their original post which inspired this one.
It’s no secret that Google and Facebook don’t see eye to eye, and Facebook only releases limited data to Google making it difficult to gain any solid SEO leverage. However, there is some information that Facebook does release, so we’ll focus on how those elements can be optimised.
Page name and URL
It seems like an obvious point, but one many businesses get wrong. Keep the page name punchy and on-brand. Try to avoid terms like “welcome to” and “the official page of“ in your page name.
Likewise, when setting a username (custom URL) for your page, make sure it’s relevant and brand focused, ie. not, ‘Facebook.com/ourawesomepage’.
Try and also keep the name of your page consistent with your other social networks, such as your Twitter handle and YouTube page name.
There’s no escaping that little blue thumb. ‘Likes’ reflect popularity, and on Facebook, popularity is everything. The more people who endorse your content, the bigger chance there is of search engines taking notice – it’s getting the likes that’s the hard bit.
Facebook hasn’t been without controversy when it comes to users’ privacy settings. Subsequently the company has made an effort to improve privacy, allowing users to hide personal information to those outside of their friend groups. Increased privacy is great for individuals, not so much for businesses.
If you’ve gone to the effort of building a Facebook page, make sure it’s visible! Check you aren’t keeping your page hidden by reviewing the privacy settings.
Use the the ‘info’ page and the ‘about’ section to pack in some quality, keyword-rich content and links.
That said, remember to keep it natural – optimise primarily for people, not search engines.
Getting your Facebook page to rank in competitive SERPs is no easy task. Even big brands are struggling – a study earlier this year suggested that of 200 brands analysed, less than 30% ranked in Google’s top 20 for their social pages from brand specific searches.
People often overlook Facebook’s internal search engine, but with the site approaching 700 million users it shouldn’t be ignored.
As Facebook continues to grow so will the number of internal searches, as will the competition, so for this reason it’s going to become increasingly important to optimise pages for Facebook search as well as for external search engines.
When searching within Facebook, the system autocompletes the search results based on top ranking pages, hitting the enter key will take you to that top result. For example, search ‘star’ and hit enter and you’ll be taken straight to the Starbucks Facebook page.
A page’s position in the Facebook search results is partly down to page popularity. Starbucks, as an example has over 22 million ‘likes’ – who are we to argue with that?. As well as popularity, there are other factors that affect page ranking in Facebook search results, including page user names, your history, and your friend’s history. Throw these factors in with on-page factors such as apps, content and other features and you have quite a task on your hands.
For this reason, it’s best to optimise across the board, making the most of what tools you have available to you. Think Questions, Groups, Events and Apps.
Ultimately, the key to optimising a Facebook page for Facebook search is quality and engagement. Again, optimising for robots is important, but optimising for people should be your priority.