Recently, Facebook announced its new graph search tool, which allows users to search through interests, locations and recommendations of Friends and connections. While some may be heralding this as a threat to Google or a sign that Facebook will soon dominate in search, it is by no means the end-all and be-all. Marketers should think of graph search as a new tool to better reach their audience – one that needs to be employed with existing SEO practices rather than working in competition.
Building Your Audience
As any seasoned SEO marketer can tell you, links are your best friend online. Building quality links is one of the best ways to build your online reputation and increase your search rankings.
In the case of Facebook and graph search, it’s not links you need to worry about, but the same principles apply: you want to get Likes. The more Likes your page has, especially within a specific network, the more likely your business is to show up in graph search results. The company with 1,500 Likes is more likely to pop up in a search for “businesses my friends Like” than a company with 50 Likes.
So how do you gain Likes? One of the best ways to gain Likes for Facebook is to tap into your existing audience through other channels such as your company website or email. The advantage of creating a combined Facebook and Google search strategy is that by successfully building up an engaged audience through link-building and Google’s search results you can start feeding these through to your Facebook page. Giving your Facebook page a boost of Likes will in turn improve your company’s ranking in graph search and it’s likely that this will send new visitors and more traffic back to your company website.
If you are successfully implementing best SEO practices for both Google and Facebook, you are effectively creating a self-sufficient marketing loop. Google is bringing in Likes for Facebook, and Facebook fans are driving traffic to your site. Your company is being found on both platforms and circulating your traffic based on individual needs.
Personal Endorsements and Inbound Marketing
Like all online platforms, search is becoming more social. Users want to see people-driven results. It’s a well-known fact that one of the most effective forms of advertising is word-of-mouth endorsements from real people. Why would users expect anything different when searching online?
Google has started offering an Author Rank mark-up option to identify the author of your online content, which means that this content will show up in search results with a picture and bio attached. This enhanced search feature gives credibility to your result, which people trust and makes it more likely that they will click on your content.
Facebook already has this feature built-in; as a social network, everything comes recommended by your friends and peers. The beauty of graph search is that your customers will now be able to find your business through their friends who already like you. It’s word-of-mouth marketing at its finest.
Now more than ever, it’s important to reach your target audience where they live. As graph search rolls out, customers will start finding your company through the one billion members online who are Liking and recommending you on Facebook. But, you still need to show up in Google’s results for people searching the old fashioned way.
Sarah Wise, Marketing Executive for BIGprofile.