Introduction to Facebook Graph Search
Earlier this week Facebook introduced Graph Search. It is giant leap forward from their current Facebook Search technology. The goal of Graph Search is to get users the information, product or service that they are looking for. The difference is they will not be relying solely on traditional SEO components, but will be leveraging your friendships and relationships with businesses. Although it is not available to the public, there are things you can do prepare for its launch.
1. Get Social
I would like to think that most websites are already doing this. With the Addthis, ShareThis and a handful of other social media sharing tool bars it is easy to add a series of buttons for your users to ‘like’ your pages. These likes will be leveraged as Social SEO signals for Facebook Graph Search. If nobody likes your page, there’s a good chance Facebook doesn’t know about it. There are other Facebook widgets you can utilize. Facebook Comments, Activity Feed, Facebook Recommendations could all provide social signal for Graph Search. All of these Facebook Plugins are easy to install and integrate into a current website.
2. Update your Facebook Profile
From the Facebook Graph Search preview, search results appear to be linking to Facebook pages. So it is important to ensure your Facebook profile is up to date. Perhaps you business changed locations, added some additional services or have some recent successes you could highlight. This profile will be come a conversion point to generate customers. Just like your website, put your best foot forward. The last thing you want is a customer showing up to your old address, or calling a disconnected number. That will surely garner some unlikes.
To make it more discoverable, ensure that all of your profile fields include the popular keywords you normally would like your website to rank for. Without overstuffing the input boxes describe the products and services you offer, so when users now search for these phrases you’ll show up.
3. OpenGraph Schema
When users like your pages through a Like Box or Like Button, Facebook scrapes your page looking for Open Graph schema to tell it more about your website. This schema includes everything from the title of the page, to the street address of a local business. Properly incorporating this Open Graph schema will help associate your or website business properly with the search. This schema is relatively easy to implement for anyone with basic html skill. Just include a few tags in the head and your good. After implemented use Facebook’s Debugging Tool to see what schema is being picked up and how it is being displayed.
4. Build your Fan Base
Another thing Facebook has shown us is that fans will play an important part of the search results. Facebook Graph Search phrases such as ‘Restaurants my friends like’, ‘Popular Clubs in San Diego’ and ‘People who like Vegetable Spring Rolls’ all have one thing in common, Facebook Friends. With each additional Facebook Fan, your site has 229 potential connection points. But it is not just about volume. These users need to be real people. Users that are engaged with Facebook and their network of friends. The more engaged the more influential they will be in the social search results.
5. Be Good…
With the introduction of any new web search engine or technology that drives traffic, individuals will look to game the system. I’m sure Facebook did a great job of protecting their Facebook Graph search results from external influence, but because a lot of the search result will rely on data gathered from external websites they are open to gaming.