Search Engine Marketing Home / Blog article: Facebook Graph Search

Facebook Graph Search
16
Jan

By Jennifer Leonard | Associate Director, Media; Jeremy Hull | Associate Director, Paid Search; Ryan Mayberry | Associate Director, SEO

Facebook Graph Search,  is a way for Facebook users to discover new places, friends, and things on Facebook based on their connections. This feature is currently in Beta to select users so Facebook can further refine the product.

The strength of Facebook Graph comes from the connections users have and the actions they have taken on Facebook. This includes “liking” pages and checking into businesses, restaurants or sites. Facebook Graph Search allows for users to learn more about their current connections and then possibly take the same actions (i.e. visiting restaurants, liking businesses, etc). For now Facebook Graph Search does not offer paid ad opportunities and results will be organic based on the number of connections and actions on a Facebook page. Paid opportunities exist for sponsored results that will appear within Facebook Graph just as on any other Facebook page. However, as this product matures we anticipate Facebook will create new ways to serve targeted ads through Graph Search. Brands should take action on optimizing their Facebook Page name, category, vanity URL and about section – which are all taken into consideration when determining Facebook Graph Search Results. It is most important, however, that brands are connecting with their target audience. Graph Search results are ordered based on the relationships and actions taken by the user. The results shown will be based on the greatest number of connections and actions taken. All search results are completely customized based on a user’s social network.  Brands should continue to promote their pages and grow their fan base in order to get maximum benefit from this new feature.

Facebook Graph Search is a great opportunity for small businesses that have trouble competing in the natural search space on Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Many small businesses do not have the budget, traffic or well optimized site to compete with larger businesses who dominate paid and organic rankings. Since Facebook Graph Search is based on relationships and actions taken they can leverage their current audience in order to appear in results. Other industries that will benefit from Facebook Graph Search are the restaurant and travel industry. There is a large opportunity for these businesses to receive new customers based on Facebook friend check-ins and likes, and the value of Facebook’s current “friends of friends” advertising targeting option has increased significantly.

The subtle approach Facebook is taking toward search is likely to grow significantly. As users grow accustom to searching Facebook Graph for people, pictures, and places around them, a large percentage could default to using Facebook search for everyday needs instead of the current leader in the market, Google. While venues and local businesses should see immediate benefits of optimizing for local Facebook Graph Search, it is important for large businesses to realize the future opportunities and benefits of having high search visibility with the Facebook Graph to maintain a presence and to enhance their current paid Facebook advertising efforts.

For brands the ideal target audience of Facebook Graph Search is a user who is extremely active on Facebook via likes and check-ins. They are comfortable sharing this information with friends and want their friends to do so in return. However, the regularly recurring privacy concerns plaguing Facebook may deter some users from engaging with Knowledge Graph Search. Privacy is currently set based on user’s personal preferences, and this may impact the results their friends see. For example, if a user doesn’t share when friends check them into restaurants to their Facebook page these check-ins will not appear in the results. Facebook Graph Search results will vary by user and the privacy preferences they have chosen.

Facebook Graph Search is a feature that will help drive more interaction on Facebook. Users will spend more time consuming content, while brands should focus on developing more content that their fan bases will like or share with friends.

 

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