Search is the de facto way in which consumers navigate content platforms. Not just the Web via traditional search engines, but all types of platforms, from television to radio to music libraries. The fact that search has always been lacking from Facebook has long been a source of criticism and frustration.
Facebook Search Graph
There’s a lot of content on Facebook. Until Facebook Graph Search was announced by the company last Tuesday, there has been very little way to find or use it. It’s been impossible to search actual content, aside from given names or perhaps classmates.
Graph Search not only enhances Facebook’s functionality, it also makes the entire platform more useful. It has the potential to significantly increase user engagement as well.
While there are not yet any formal products or features for brands or marketers accompanying the launch; rest assured, there will be in the not too distant future. A much more robust paid search advertising product(s) is almost a given. So is functionality linked to Facebook’s API. The company will be in possession of even deeper and richer user data than it already possesses as users’ search history forms part of their profiles, indicating interests, affinities, purchase paths and purchase intent.
While commercial products linked to Search Graph are in the (not-too-distant) future, brands and marketers should start considering their Facebook presence in the context of search today. There’s no time like the present to prepare for the potential impact of Facebook search on the content of branded Facebook pages.
Location-Specific Facebook Pages
For the first time, marketers must think about optimizing their Facebook pages as they would for SEO, but with a degree of specificity relative to the platform. A smart place to start would be with getting location specific.
Any big box store or restaurant franchise with locations in multiple cities must begin to consider multiple pages for specific locations. If users are looking for pizza that their Chicago friends like, for example, Domino’s won’t appear unless the restaurant has a Chicago-specific page.
As with traditional search, photos and images will also be searchable on Facebook. This means optimizing images, surrounding them with text and identifying (when appropriate) people in photographs.
Because images have heretofore not been searchable on Facebook, the best practices attached to images posted on websites, blogs, or photo-sharing sites have not necessarily applied to Facebook. It’s time for that to change.
While many expected Facebook to announce a mobile product rather than search functionality at the highly anticipated launch event, there are nevertheless implications for mobile in this announcement.
Search Graph was developed by a team that included a number of linguists – its natural language capabilities are extremely high (search for [people who] or [friends who], for example). This will make searches easier to conduct from mobile devices when the functionality leaves limited beta.
Facebook assured me that the company will share tips for business owners, brands and advertisers on their blog. True to their promise, optimization advice was available as soon as the launch announcement was made. Watch that space!
BTW, Search Engine Land’s Matt McGee provides information on Search Graph optimization here.
Geo-Local Social Platform Presence
Any business currently invested in maintaining a presence on geo-local social platforms, including Yelp, Foursquare, Google Local/Places, etc., would be well advised to spruce up their Facebook presence (or create one) immediately.
One billion users, one trillion connections – Search Graph has a great deal of potential, as well as the potential to disrupt social search.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.