‘Likes’: Now Part of the Search Ranking Currency
With more than 500 million users (30% in the United States), Facebook is rapidly becoming the primary platform for social networking. This is the direct result of its ability to further expand relationships across the globe. Facebook puts the user at the center of their own web experience, changing the world of SEO as links become superseded by ‘Likes’.
The Like Button’s Function and Value
We’re halfway through the year 2011, and already in its infancy the Facebook Like button has proved to be paramount in the world of website promotion. The year began with most websites featuring a Facebook Share option, and maybe a Like button. Facebook has recently discontinued the development of the Share feature, and has chosen instead to highlight the Like button as the sole way for websites to expose their content on Facebook. If a user Likes a company’s page, posts from that page will appear on the user’s personal newsfeed with a link back to the company’s page. This feature allows websites to gain more responses from their advertising because they can more frequently inform users who have Liked their content. The feature also shows which of the user’s friends have Liked the same content page. The Like button is quickly becoming one of the most important features to have on your website because Likes have an effect on search engine rankings, and the content page your button links to is also crawled by the search engines which adds greater authority to your site. Like buttons give website owners the chance to enhance traffic and improve engagement with recurring visitors as well as referred new users—as it becomes more and more popular, most company’s would even consider the Like button as a requirement for their website.
Since the Like button is still very new, it’s hard to calculate just how much quantifiable value it provides for a company. Analysts do suggest that a Like’s worth usually weighs more in comparison to that of a Tweet. Eventbrite.com, an event-ticketing website, has published that an average Like brought in $1.34 in revenue as opposed to $.80 that an average Tweet does, and that the value of the Like is still rising as the Facebook network and Like button acceptance expands. Eventbrite has also provided the statistic that a Facebook user who Likes a page via its Like button visits 5.3 times more Web URLs to engage with content and on average has 2.4 times more friends than users who do not Like pages. This just goes to show that not only are the Likes important in that users who choose to Like your page will engage with your content, but also that their friend-base is double the size of the non-Like user and they can refer their friends to Like your page as well. A like button is a direct connection between website owners and more socially interactive customers, and those customers have a good chance of referring their own friend base to your page if you’re lucky!
Where SEO Comes In
Search marketing and social media networking are becoming more and more interrelated because the amount of Likes and Tweets pointing to a particular website can increase the site’s rankings in the top search engines. As the value of a Like increases not only in the business aspect but in search engine rankings as well, Facebook Pages are becoming simultaneously more competitive in obtaining the attention of Facebook’s 500 million users. Facebook’s in-house search option is a great tool for gaining new prospective Likes from users searching for your company or services. There are certain ways to optimize your Facebook Page so that users can easily find it, Like it, and stay informed.
The first thing you should do is to name your page something simple and directly related to your brand without making it overly descriptive. This is because the Facebook search option is based upon results that are an exact match to the topic searched. If you try to combine words when naming your page (like CompanyOne rather than Company One), you have a lower chance of appearing under the results section because this is not your company’s true name and only the exact wording that the user typed into the search box will appear as results. Its also important to be clear and brand the page with your company’s title because this name is also the Facebook Page’s title tag, which is the linked section that will appear in outside search engines as well as Facebook’s internal search. Make sure to describe your business in the ‘About Us’ box and ‘Info’ tab. These are fields that contain content more easily indexed by search engines.
Lastly, remember to keep your wall as lively as possible. Keeping your Page vibrant with new and significant content that is updated a few times a week keeps the page active, and it keeps both search engines and your friend-base coming back. Your ultimate goal for optimizing your Facebook page is to create content that makes the page functional enough for people to Like it and talk about it with Friends. This makes an effect on not only Facebook’s search engine, but Google and Bing also notice high activity on Facebook Pages and considers this in their rankings.
One Tip You May Want To Consider
Since your main goal is user engagement when it comes to your Facebook Page, a great idea you may want to consider to boost community/user involvement is to host a sweepstakes, contest or giveaway. It’s an effective and easy way to track your conversion goal!
- Have a contest where users who enter will be selected at random to win a prize, for example X amount of gift cards and varying prices.
- Be sure to offer prizes that people actually would want or need. Be interesting; don’t endorse an unknown or confusing item (or service) that may only intrigue a few prospects.
- Be original, there are other contests out there that your customer may find more appealing and enter instead, so try to stand out by being straightforward, interesting, and beneficial to the largest client-base possible.