As of this month, Facebook announced that Graph Search (first introduced in January of 2013) is now active for all U.S. users. Globally the roll-out continues in other countries over time.
Facebook’s Graph Search allows you to conduct very detailed searches that surface people, photos, places (place pages), and interests (fan pages!). Currently, you can drill down with more than 40 search variables!
Graph search has amazing potential for businesses
Facebook Pages that are public (no country/age restrictions) are available by default to show in relevant searches within the Graph Search tool. As well, any web page, Facebook photo, or Page News Feed post that a Facebook user has “Liked” is part of the searchable data that will be available to return in results when a user submits a search query. Now, more than ever, getting the “Like” is important for your business!
A important key for businesses to do now is to prepare their Page for Graph Search by evaluating the Page to ensure all information is up-to-date and best listed for search result success.
Here’s how Graph Search works:
- The search bar first returns the top search suggestions, including people, Pages, apps, places, groups, and suggested searches. People can search for things like restaurants near them, hotels in places they want to travel to, photos posted by Pages they like, or games that their friends like to play.
- These search suggestions take people to a unique results page. The results returned are based on factors that include information that has been shared by your business and the connections of the person searching.
- As has been the case for some time, there will be search suggestions in the search bar that then can trigger web searches. Web searches will display Bing results and Bing ads.
- Pages and apps can continue to use sponsored results, which appear to people whether or not they have Graph Search (sponsored results have been available since August 2012). Here is more information on creating a sponsored result.
(image courtesy CNET)
How can you optimize your Facebook Page for Graph Search?
Here’s some important items to review and check for your Facebook Page.
If you want your business to appear in as many Facebook search results as possible for Graph Search users, then make sure to complete:
- Your Business Profile – Review Page specifics including the page name spelling, category (industry), vanity URL, and information in the “About” section all help people find your business and should be shared on Facebook.
- Include photos and tag all of them – add locations, time and tag your business (use the @biz name). Many Facebook users will use the new tool to find pictures, so help them find your Page images that leads them to discover your business.
- Public Data – The best setting is no age limits and no country restrictions. It’s also important that you make sure that all the data on your businesses’ page is public. Unless it is, you are narrowing down your ability to be found.
- Place Pages – If you have a location or a local place Page, review and update (as needed) your address to make sure your business page can appear as a result when someone is searching for a specific location.
Here is Facebook’s guide for updating your Page: Make sure your Page is complete and up-to-date.
Privacy of User Information in Graph Search:
Graph Search is privacy aware. That is, posts shared with friends can only be discovered by those friends in searches. Only public posts can be found by anyone.
Basically, Graph Search respects the privacy and settings you as a user have set on any post. Posts by Pages are fully part of Graph Search.
WHAT MATTERS GOING FORWARD?
Key items for all Facebook Pages:
1. Likes Matter
As noted, Facebook Likes are now more important than ever, especially for businesses. According to a Facebook blog post, Graph Search can make it easier for people to discover and learn more about businesses on Facebook. This is because the search results are based on Facebook’s robust database, which includes information that has been shared by businesses and individual Facebook users alike. That being said, businesses with a large fan base will be more likely to turn up in searches for phrases like “restaurants in New York that my friends like.”
2. Engagement is Key
Aside from obtaining likes, businesses should focus on maintaining an engaging Page that includes quality interactions with fans. Since the search results are based on information that has been shared by businesses and individuals, interactions between a business and their fans can help the business score higher in the search results. Furthermore, Graph Search also makes interactions like check-ins even more important, because users could potentially search for phrases like “Places in Seattle that my friends have been to.”
3. Invest in your Page
Facebook’s blog post states that the best thing businesses can do for their Page is to continue to invest in it and make sure that it is complete and up-to-date. Items like the name, category, vanity URL and information within the “About” section of a business Page are important. Additionally, Page owners may want to consider running promotions and deals on their page to increase fan and user activity with their Page, resulting in potentially higher search results for your Page with those individuals and their friends.
Learn more about Facebook Page best practices here.
Learn more apps to run Facebook Page Contests and Promotions here.