Monday, 13 June 2011

SEO tips for Facebook Pages

As Facebook becomes an increasingly important commerce platform, brands are starting to direct users straight to their pages on the site. Unfortunately it can be difficult to get Facebook pages to appear in the SERPs, even for larger household names.
I thought it would be useful to take a quick look at a few Facebook Page optimisation techniques, and some of the more common SEO problems on the site...
First of all, time for a quick infodump:
In 2010 “Facebook” was the single most popular search term on Google, with almost 25bn separate search requests.
During the same period, Facebook reported that its own internal search had almost doubled, accounting for around 2.5% of US searches (and we'll look at this again later).
It's not a stretch to imagine that  figure increasing significantly in the future, particularly as new generations of users become more comfortable with the idea of Facebook as a search engine. 
These are massive numbers by any standard, and assuming that regular users aren’t always accessing the site through search then we can reasonably guess that the already huge social network is still growing, and fast.
Despite this a 2010 survey by suggested that of 200 major Fortune 500 bands on Facebook, 70% did not appear in the top 20 Google results, even for brand specific search terms.
There are a few reasons why it can be difficult to gain decent SEO traction using Facebook, but let’s start with an obvious one:
Google and Facebook hate each other.
OK, so that’s a provocative and not-quite-entirely true statement, but for the SEO in the street, it can be a frustratingly accurate one.
Despite the professional rivalry however, optimising for external search is actually fairly straightforward. Facebook releases limited data onto the external web, so initially at least you can dispense with a lot of the more complicated under the hood tinkering you take for granted with a regular site.
Let’s look at what’s out in the open:


There’s a lot of talk in social media about influence, but on Facebook, popularity counts for a lot.
How you go about getting extra ‘likes’ is an entirely different kettle of fish, but in general the usual social buzzwords apply: Relevant, regular, engaging content please.

URLs and naming conventions

The most visible element on the web. Keep it succinct and branded. It’s also worth thinking about other channels you operate on.
If your Twitter account is @GreatDonuts, don’t call your Facebook page ‘We make Great Donuts’. That may sound obvious, but it’s often overlooked.


Not to be patronising, but there is occasionaly confusion over privacy settings and in the past I have come across a few page owners who’ve inadvertently locked their page down.
While there are cases when you only want to display content to fans, do a quick double check to make sure anyone can find you easily.


Unless you're a band, that's images and videos to you. I’d hope that any serious marketer would already optimise here, but it’s easy to forget to name or tag a Facebook picture properly, especially if you’re adding it using an external CMS.
Again, consistency counts.

Info and about

These are one of the most important places to put your keywords. Get a good SEO copywriter to optimise your information page.
Most visitors won’t read the information page, but it’s a good place to park some dense, keyword-heavy copy. Similarly, you’ll also want to put your brand name (or better still, a link) in the ‘about’ box.

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