Optimizing for Both Facebook and Search Engines

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5 Ways to Make Money Using Facebook

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You're probably familiar with search engine optimization (SEO) tactics for improving your website's search rankings in Google and other major search engines. But have you thought about how to incorporate social media into your search strategy?

Facebook can be a valuable asset for search results. The volume of content and variety of places to add keyword-rich content can help you attract new Page members on Facebook, while providing more natural search results (Figure 8-6). Facebook is indexed by search engines and also has deals with Google and Bing to display social search results that include posts from your friends.

Facebook's search is not always the greatest at displaying results, but the site's working on it. Counteract its shortcomings with some rockstar SEO to ensure that people looking for your name or service can find you. Misspellings are especially important to account for on Facebook.

In the more general natural-search realm, a well-optimized Facebook Page can help you overtake a competitor by providing a second set of Pages (in addition to your own website) to display on the search results page. This can also be helpful when you're looking to do some reputation management. A Facebook Page can also give you the opportunity to add a few more keywords that didn't work as well on your website.

Figure 8-7. Gilt Groupe keeps it simple with a Page name and URL that match its brand name. The Info Box includes keywords about what Gilt Groupe offers.

The Easiest Places to Put Keywords

The same SEO rules apply for Facebook optimization as for traditional search engines such as Google. Keywords should always be in text fields, and the higher on the Page, the better. Three of the best places are:

Page name

Your Facebook Page name or title is one of the first things both users and search engines see. Create a keyword-dense title, but make sure it's clear who you are and what you do. Your company or brand name is usually the most effective title (Figure 8-7).

You can also choose a vanity URL for your Page, which is another great place to include branded keywords like your company name. Facebook Page URLs are a large part of optimization, as content space is limited.

The Info box

This small, 250-character box located below the Page icon is an underused gold mine for both traffic and SEO purposes. It's one of the first things a current Page member sees when looking at either the Wall or Info tab. The keywords you use in the Info box can go a long way in search. With its prominent placement, the Info box is a great place to optimize a little info about your Page, because it's the highest place in the Page code that allows custom text. You can even put a clickable link in there. You just need to include the http:// part first.

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Using Keywords on Facebook Tabs

The Facebook tab structure creates a helpful hierarchy of information and the ability to add lots of keyword-rich content. Facebook offers several standard tabs for your Page, including the Wall, Info, and Photos or Videos tabs. You can also add your own custom tabs.

Default landing tab

Facebook allows you to choose a specific landing tab for new Page viewers. This is the first tab they see, and its primary goal is to encourage them to click Like for the Page. It is also the first Page crawled by search engines. This default tab can be a custom tab you create, so make sure it contains relevant text that explains to both search engines and Facebook users who you are and what you do.

Info tab

The standard Info tab has fields containing important descriptive data about your Page. It's important to fill out all fields, as they provide an opportunity to include keywords and links for both local searches in the Location field and more general product or service queries in the Company Overview section. The specific fields present will vary by Page category, so choose the category that best fits your needs.

Custom FBML tabs

Facebook Markup Language (FBML) tabs can hold lots of keyword-rich text. You can also include images and links to design the Page and push to more relevant content on your site (Figure 8-8). Adding content tabs to your Page is a great way to drive a ton of traffic in both natural and Facebook search. It also opens up the opportunity to rank for more keywords, including Facebook-specific terms.

Figure 8-9. Victoria's Secret Pink includes videos, photo albums, and links in its status updates. It includes captions for every piece of media uploaded and frequently creates public events.

Other Content

It almost goes without saying, but it's important to continually share interesting content on your Facebook Page and always use all available descriptive fields on each type of content shared. This advice extends past static tabs and into the ever-changing world of status updates and media uploads (Figure 8-9). Facebook allows nearly every piece of content to be indexed by search engines, so use the tabs, tools, and input fields that Facebook provides to your full advantage. Here are a few content-specific tips:

Media

Post photos to multiple albums and include keyword-rich descriptions of the album and each photo. Every event or topic should have its own album for easier searching. Allow Page members to post their own photos and comment on or tag your uploads.

Events

Use the Events feature for both real and virtual events. Always fill out all fields with a full description of the event, and make it open to the public. See Chapter 5 for more information on Events.

Status updates

There is a lot of debate about the extent to which updates help with search engines, but it's clear that they are a big factor in Facebook searches. Take your time when planning content and include keywords; this is the bulk of what Page members will see on a daily basis. You can also add a discussion forum to your Page for even more frequently updated content.

Figure 8-10. Victoria's Secret Pink's strategy has paid off, as the company often receives upward of5,000 likes or

1,000 comments.

Figure 8-10. Victoria's Secret Pink's strategy has paid off, as the company often receives upward of5,000 likes or

1,000 comments.

Increased Interactions

User interaction is a crucial yet elusive factor in optimizing your Facebook Page and improving search presence. Facebook views interactions with your Page (likes, comments, and posts) much like a search engine views links pointing to your site. A user interaction is a vote for the content of your Page (Figure 8-10) and helps Facebook rank it higher in its search—and, ultimately, helps your Page rank higher in search engines as well.

Facebook's focus on user behavior and interaction extends to visits, clicks, and Event RSVPs as well. The exact weight or algorithm the site uses to calculate interaction is unclear, but the higher the engagement on your Page, the higher you will rank in Facebook searches and the more prominent your placement in a suggested search.

The predictive search field can most closely be likened to the first page of Google results. Most users never go to the actual Facebook search Page. When a user begins typing in the search box (at the top of every Page), Facebook will suggest friends, Pages, applications, or Events based on her past behavior, the behavior of those she is connected to, and optimization of Pages.

Encourage interaction on your Page by posting frequently and including lots of content that asks users directly to interact. Link participation to prizes: to win, users must vote on photos by liking them or comment on your Wall or posted update. Even without providing an additional incentive, you'll find interaction will spike when you end a post with a question like "What do you think?" Try it—the difference will surprise you.

Figure 8-11. The sheer volume of people and content on Facebook at any given moment necessitates a strong content strategy to break through the clutter. (Graphic by Muhammad Saleem for Mashable.com.)

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