Facebook’s Graph Search & Brands


By: Anne Buehner, Social Media Strategist at Red Door Interactive

Facebook launched the Beta version of its Graph Search this week. The tool will be rolled out slowly – a waiting list can be joined by scrolling to the bottom of the page. Graph Search will allow Facebook users to search the site and garner results based on their friends’ likes, information, or activities that they have made public on Facebook. For example, if you indicate that you live in San Diego and are married in your “About” section, you would show up if someone searched “My friends who are married and live in San Diego.” On a brand level, a search for “Restaurants my friends have visited” would supply a list based on check-ins or other location-based information that was made public on Facebook.

Implications & Next Steps
As of now, there are no new ad options for Graph Search, so brands will need to focus on the following to optimize their Pages for maximum visibility:
1. Make sure your Place, Page and App information is up to date. The name, category, vanity URL, and information you share in the About section all help a user find your business and should be shared on Facebook.
2. Share branded content from your page. The photos and videos will be searchable. Keep in mind that Facebook’s algorithm gives higher priority to original branded content vs reshared photos and videos. Additionally, visual content should include relevant information and search terms in the status update or descriptions. In other words, a content strategy is more important than ever.
3. Strengthen relationships with influential fans. Search results are ordered based on a user’s relationships with his or her friends, so it’s not just the number of fans or users but also the strength of those connections that are important. For example, if a user searches for restaurants in a particular city, those that are most popular with his/her closest friends will be displayed first. Additionally, results that are similar to a searcher’s existing likes and interests may be ranked higher.
4. Employ a check-in strategy if your brand has physical locations. Local place pages will show up in searches, as will check-ins at locations. First, claim your pages if you haven’t done so already. Then, provide occassional “deals” through Facebook to encourage fans to visit and check into store locations.

What about SEO
Graph Search should not change your existing SEO strategy. We don’t foresee Facebook taking any marketshare from Google in the near future, but will continue to monitor. Facebook users will use Graph Search to find people, places and things, while we see Google function as delivering search results for websites. However, since Bing populates Facebook's "Web search" within the Facebook Graph Search, organic rankings in Bing may become more important.

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