What Facebook Graph Search Means for Marketers

March 7, 2013 Aaliyah Madadi

During a product release demo a few months ago, Facebook unveiled what could be the biggest disruption to traditional search engines and queries yet – Graph Search. Facebook Graph Search allows users to search for specialized and specific information based on their own likes and interests as well as those of their connections. Ultimately, Graph Search goes beyond traditional search by returning results that are tailored and specific to an individual person, rather than returning the same results for all users based on SEO rank.

Let’s walk through a quick example to really understand the implications of Graph Search. Let’s say I wanted to do a search on yoga; here are the results that Google would serve up:

The search returns a Wikipedia page on yoga, followed by an extensive list of yoga studios close to me in Toronto. That’s great, except that I have no idea which studios are good and which ones I’m least likely to prefer. Imagine, however, if I could quickly gain insight into which yoga studios my friends attend and recommend – like most people, I’m more inclined to go to a studio that my friends endorse rather than randomly picking one that I know nothing about. And that’s precisely the power of Facebook Graph Search – it empowers you to go several levels beyond traditional search by providing results that are tailored to the preferences of you and your connections.

Now that we understand the power that Graph Search yields, let’s dive into what this means for marketers.

The Power of Likes

Facebook Likes are to Graph Search what SEO is to Google – they will drive search results and work as reinforcement that users are endorsing a brand. Ultimately, pages that have more likes will show up higher on Graph Search results since they will be connected to more people across Facebook.

For marketers, the implications are quite obvious – start increasing your company’s Facebook likes by posting quality content and building out your community. Graph Search is still in beta and there are no indications of when it will roll out for all users. As such, right now is the best time to start building your Facebook page because once Graph Search is launched, it will only become more difficult and competitive to get those likes.

Be on Bing

Yep, it’s true – those traditional SEO strategies are still important, but this time for Bing. Since Graph Search uses Bing when a user’s search doesn’t yield results within their network, Facebook recommends that companies optimize their brand pages with relevant keywords so that they rank well on Bing. This means utilizing your content and keyword strategy on your Facebook page, through status updates and the content you post.

Stay Informed

Graph Search is still in its infancy and will continue to evolve over time. As such, it’s important to keep the implications of Graph Search in mind while you monitor the evolution of this new social search engine. For example, if Graph Search takes off and more people turn to Facebook for basic search queries, ranking well on Graph Search could be as significant for your company as ranking well on Google – perhaps Graph Search will even exceed Google as the most widely used search engine (I wonder what Google has up their sleeve to counter this from happening).

Furthermore, Graph Search is essentially an algorithm that will continue to get smarter over time. That means that ‘optimizing’ your brand page will eventually require more strategies than simply getting likes and using relevant keywords – there will definitely be new criteria that Graph Search deems important that don’t exist yet. The bottom line is this: start building out your Facebook page strategy right now, and continue to stay informed on all the updates and implications that Graph Search will bring (and you can bet that we’ll cover what’s relevant for marketers on our blog).

Until then, why not help a friend out and Like us on Facebook : )

About the Author

After graduating from the HBA program at the Richard Ivey School of Business, Aaliyah launched her career as Marketing Coordinator at Uberflip! Prior to her HBA, Aaliyah also completed a Bachelor in English at Western University.

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