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Will Facebook Need Its Own SEO?
It has been over a year since Facebook launched Universal Search, which allowed over 2-trillion+ Public Posts by Facebook Users (depending on privacy settings) to be indexed and accessed via its internal searches. The introduction of Facebook Universal Search (FUS) has leveraged its massive user-generated index of content and potentially opened up a new user behaviour stream for Facebook users. For Digital Marketers, this move now begs the question: Will it be essential to optimize your Facebook activity for Universal Search? Do we need an ‘SEO for Facebook’?
The Current Social Search LandscapeSocial Search is nothing especially new with Google+ and Twitter both having competent built-in ‘Search Engines’. While Google Search still gives a ranking boost in Personalized Search to Posts by people and pages you follow on Google+. Microsoft has also gotten in on the action with Bing and struck deals with nearly every social player out there to integrate social features into their Search Engine.
Facebook Search User BehaviourPreviously, Facebook limited their search feature to posts by ‘Friends’ which has engraved the idea in its user base that this was all it was good for. This is evident by the fact that Facebook itself has tried integrating search for years, previously offering Bing Powered web results, yet by their own admission the overwhelming majority of searches have always been people searching for other people, pages, groups, and basically everything you’d expect people to be Searching for on a social network. Simply put they have not sold the idea of content exploration through search to its users and the dominant user journey as is now and for the foreseeable future will always be the newsfeed. The issue isn't whether Facebook search becomes popular or not. Even if Facebook search remains rather minuscule, with its user base numbers any sort of optimisation is worthwhile for any brand trying to extract traffic and users out of the platform.
Optimisation for Social SearchWhile Google has a myriad of different indicators that influence search results. Facebook, on the other hand, places social signals front-and-centre: they focus predominantly on Likes, ‘Reactions’, Shares and even now you can be certain that your social connections will strongly influence the results that surface. This leaves the search optimisation field open for early adopters to differentiate themselves and dominate Facebook SERPs long before others catch on.
Growth for Facebook Social SearchThis will hinge on Facebook breaking two habits,
- How many users actually bother to do this rather than just Googling out of habit
- Seeing Facebook Search as more than just a way to find other people