Have you heard of Facebook’s new Graph Search? Are you on the waiting list to try out this powerful new Facebook feature? In this post we’ll do a quick tour of Graph Search in it’s beta phase and I’ll share some personal observations based on my experience with it so far.
Introduced in January and at the time of this publication, Graph Search is currently in beta test mode and has great potential to offer more exposure for your business Facebook company page. While you might be tempted to sit back and “wait and see” how the new feature works, let me encourage you to get on the waiting list now to request an invite for two reasons:
1. You’ll get a chance to test drive Graph Search as a consumer. Run some sample searches and queries and see how Graph Search uses your existing network of connections to return results.
2. Armed with this knowledge, get a jump-start on optimizing your Facebook page for Graph Search so you can be found and better serve your prospects and fans.
A Brief Overview of Graph Search
Okay, so now that you know where we’re going, it’s time to sign up. Then you’ll probably have to wait for a period of time to be invited to try the beta. I heard back in one week.
Once you receive an invitation to Graph Search, you will notice the following bar when you are logged into your personal profile:
Clicking on this bar will bring up a drop-down list with suggestions as follows. You can also just type in a search phrase of two to five keywords (also known as a long-tail keyword) right in the search bar (circled in red below):
Since Graph Search is “privacy-aware” you can only search for content that has been shared with you on Facebook. But what’s really cool is that you can search on long-tail keywords or phrases such as “friends who like Main Street Restaurant.” Through the use of filters, Graph Search will search through your friends’ list and return the query results. And what’s better than a recommendation from a friend?
For an in-depth look at Graph Search, check out Social Media Examiner’s recent post, Facebook Graph Search Review: How it Works.
How Does Your Company Page Show up in Facebook Graph Search Queries?
But let’s get to the heart of what all this means to you as a business owner. Once you are invited to join the beta, start looking at how your company page shows up in Graph Search. I have been testing Graph Search with my own company page over the past two weeks and have found some interesting results.
First, I conducted a quick Google search using the long-tail keyword phrase “social media Rochester Hills MI” and my company’s Facebook page turned up favorably in the search results. However, the same query done on Graph Search did not yield such favorable results. In fact, my company was nowhere to be found!
I dug in a little deeper and what I discovered is key. Since my keywords are not part of my company name, Graph Search was not able to find me.
So I needed to update my company info for my Facebook cover page to include these keywords. In other words, instead of listing my company as Codefetti, LLC, I changed it to Codefetti, LLC – Website Design + Social Media Marketing. That did the trick and at least at this beta phase of Graph Search, my company now shows up in Graph Search results. Update as of 3/13/2013: I discovered today that “superfluous modifiers” on a company name are against Facebook’s Terms of Service. I have since removed them from my company page name.
Yes, Graph Search is still in beta and the Facebook engineers are undoubtedly tweaking and changing algorithms. So at this early stage, here is my advice on what you need to do to improve your Facebook company page and help your business be found:
- Facebook Page optimization is crucial to being found in Graph Search.
- Make sure your keywords and website URL are prominent in your About section of your Facebook Page.
- Completely fill in the company info section and make sure you are using your keywords.
- And yes, the more fans you have, the more relevant your page will be in the eyes of Facebook. While getting page likes and lots of fans are not the crux of a successful social media strategy, having a thriving and engaged community certainly is!
- Locking down your privacy settings will shoot you in the foot. If you want to be discoverable, then you have to be public. Period.
- Write and share great content. The more your page’s content is liked and shared on Facebook, the more likely it will be returned in Graph Search results.
- Though Google is the preferred search engine used by approximately 65% of consumers, do not rely on SEO efforts that focus mainly on social integration with Google. Remember SEO should not just focus on achieving page 1 ranking on Google.
- Tempting as it may seem, we can no longer turn a blind eye to Bing, whose visibility and use will most likely increase as Graph Search becomes main stream. It’s important to note that Graph Search will use Microsoft’s Bing search engine to return queries outside of Facebook.
- Deliver top-notch content to your community and use SEO and social platform best practices to increase your reach.
Are you using Graph Search? If so, what tips and discoveries can you share with us in the comments below?