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Facebook SEO – Graph Search Tips Part 2

Call to action and action sharing – future results in Graph Seach

It is no secret that Facebook have been trying hard to push their Actions/Objects system. Not so long ago, they helped developers by providing them with new options for Facebook actions administration, as well as new actions as a whole.

I will outline their advantages:

  • you outsource social activity to your website (where you can carry out direct sales), instead of leaving it in your fan page
  • after a call to action your user almost automatically shares the action with their friends
  • shared actions have a special visual type (format) in which they appear in a group. Facebook has called this format “Collection”.
  • shared actions are generated in Collections and spread to (note!) all social channels among a larger audience. Facebook shapes visually this aggregation in different ways, according to the social channel we see it on. Facebook have named this formatting “Aggregator”.
  • you have detailed statistics about shared actions, and the objects or subjects related to them, at your disposal. For now the only source of these statistics is Facebook.

But why am I telling you this?

Because every facebook action is a new edge in Social Graph, and every facebook object is a new node in Social Graph. You know that Social Graph is the main source of information for the Graph Search engine and the reason why Graph Search is not showing facebook actions/objects is because the whole platform is still in its beta test version.

You must find a way to adequately integrate Open Graph Actions into your website – this will help the website be easily discovered in Graph Search in the future.

Tips for fan pages

A few more tips, apart from the ones you are going to find in Part 1:

1. The first tip, which I have already given some time ago, is to create a username (vanity URL) for your page. This is still very important but there is something else that matters a lot – the page’s name. SEO specialists know that the name, if picked correctly, has a better chance of showing up higher in Google search results. Pay attention to the name and if you still have the chance to change it  – do it. If you are a local business, you can try adding the name of the city you operate in, or your core activity. For example – “Company Name – TV sets repairs in London.”

2. I also wrote in Part 1 about the importance of asking your employees to add your company’s fan page to their “Interests” in the information section of their profiles. Not adding the page correctly leads to the automatic creation of topic or location pages which have no owner and aggregate thematic content absolutely randomly. Here’s an example of such topic page of the company Diplomat – take a look at it here. The reason for its existence is because one of the employees of the company wrote the word “Diplomat” in the Job field on their personal profile, without selecting the actual Diplomat fan page from the drop down suggestions menu. Here is another similar example – this time an Mtel location page – click here to see how many fan pages with no admins have been created just because of different check-ins to some of the company’s branches. A very important aspect is that often the automatically generated topic or location pages come up higher than the actual fan pages in search results. There are reasons for this, and most of them are described in greater detail below. Here is an example of such a result:

graph-search-tips-2-01

Note in the example above that the automatically generated page comes up higher than the official business page. When you click on the first result, you get not only results for the dental studio in question, but also for its nearby competitors. Even more – the 4th result is “People who like…” If you choose it, you will see the people who have liked the automatically generated page, rather than the official one! This not only creates the deceptive impression of fewer fans, but other problems as well.

You understand that you absolutely must find these pages and take control over them. They can be found in the old Facebook search engine, as well as in Graph Search, and it is important that you have control over them not just because they show random information (most of the time) but also because they often generate relevant information, concerning your brand and its reputation.

Here are two ways you can use to take control over the topic and location pages:

  1. Ask your friends to declare that you have to be the owner. They need to click the winding wheel button at the top right hand corner and choose “Do you know the owner?”. Then they need to enter your name in the pop-up window. The picture below shows how to do that:
    graph-search-tips-2-02
  2. You, as well as other people, can report the page, stating that it is duplicating your official fan page. The picture below shows how to do that:
    graph-search-tips-2-03

3. The third tip is more like a recommendation, which you have to consider. Since Graph Search was announced, fan pages were given the opportunity to add not just a main category to which they belong, but subcategories as well.

It is very important for your page to be in the correct page category that describes your business best! Incorrect category placement is often punished by Facebook by transforming your page into a community page, thus losing the opportunity to take advantage of very important options regarding information the fans need, such as a recommendations field, a map, etc. Which is why the main category is very important – pay attention to it!

Subcategories can be a good idea and a bad idea at the same time because in some pages they appear in the About section below your cover photo and lead to search results including your competitors. On the other hand, subcategories are very important for Graph Search and the opportunity to be found by using more keywords and phrases (mostly in English for now). So, having the pros and cons in mind, you need to decide whether to add subcategories to your page.

Adding main and subcategories to your page is done by opening your fan page and choosing Edit Page > Update Info from the Admin panel located on the upper right hand corner of your page.

graph-search-tips-2-04

Subcategories are not available for all types of fan pages, but those of you who do have them, can see where to find them in the picture below. It is important to know that you must type 1-2 of the first letters of your desired subcategory in English in the subcategories field in order to activate the drop-down list of suggestions to choose from. Otherwise there is no effect. Here is the picture that shows successfully added subcategories:

graph-search-tips-2-05

As I said above, subcategories are shown on top of the About field, which is located just below your page’s cover photo – a pretty visible spot. In local business places, when you click on the link with the sub-category name, you are lead to search results, where your nearby located competitors are most likely present. Here is an example:

graph-search-tips-2-06

Note how this page has added the subcategory “Hotel”, which is a link to a local search. By clicking “Hotel” we are lead to a page, showing other hotels in the area.

graph-search-tips-2-07

Having said that, I leave the decision of whether using subcategories is appropriate, entirely to you. I think that it is appropriate in certain cases but its effects and trends must be closely monitored.

4. Check-ins!  They are very important and you must ask for them! They often push your page higher in search results! They appear in Graph Search results. Give your fans something in return for checking in to your place. A discount, for example. It is neither forbidden, nor difficult to accomplish. A lot of local businesses in the UK are doing it very successfully. In order to improve the ability to check-in you need to add a map of your location. This is where the hard part comes – Facebook is having difficulties with finding exact addresses and this has let down many local business owners. BUT! Don’t forget that Facebook uses Bing Maps to provide its fan pages with maps. So it’s only logical that you should go into Bing Maps and enter your exact address, or even better – your GPS coordinates, into the search engine. This is how you will find your street and, most importantly, the way that Bing spells it. Right now the streets in Bulgaria and Russia are, for some unknown reason, spelled as “Ulitsa”. For example, “Ulitsa Roza 25,” instead of the correct English spelling, which would be “25 Rosa Str.”

So, after you have found out which whacky way of spelling Bing has chosen for your street address, just go ahead and copy the streeet name and number and paste them into the first of the address fields in your fan page.

graph-search-tips-2-08

In the second field (indicating city/town), just type the first 3-4 letters of your city and wait for the drop-down suggestions menu to appear and choose from it. Otherwise it won’t work.

Enter your postal code in the third field – take it from Bing Maps if it’s specified there.

Save the changes and don’t worry if the traitional red field, in which Facebook tells you they can’t find your address, pops up. If this happens, you will have to manually pinpoint the address on the map. After you do it, save the changes again, and that’s pretty much it. :) Well, maybe not exactly. :) The most important part remains – checking the “Show this map on the page” box, located directly below the map.

5. Tagging fans in pictures from the fan page, and vice-versa – this is something very important, since Graph Search has a dedicated “Photos” part, where tagged pictures are shown as “tiles.” However, many fan pages go a bit far in tagging – they publish a funny picture and tag a bunch of fans, which only serves to irrirate and repel most of them. DON’T do that! If you are a local business, you can just take pictures of fans who have come to your location, and tag them afterwards. We had a similar concept with a confectioner’s shop – clients were tagged in pictures of cakes and sweets. This lead to the clients leaving “thank you” messages below the pictures, which was even cooler!

On the other hand, perhaps photos in which your fan page is tagged will be even more important. Graph Search shows such photos in the “Photos In” button, when you hover over a search result. See the picture below:

graph-search-tips-2-09

We already talked about check-ins and here you can see that there is a different “Visitors” button for them. The idea is to see which of our friends have already been this company’s clients and ask them for recommendations… which brings me to the 6th tip!

6. Recommendations! They are important mainly in terms of online reputation management. They are still not a part of Graph Search, but rumour has it that they will soon be an important element of its results. Tests are being carried out in that direction, so pay attention to recommendations and ask for them! Not all fan pages have a “Recommendations” generator on its Timeline, but those who do, can use it, asking fans to leave recommendations and feedback.

7. The personal profile! Something extremely important, which is also why Graph Search was released in its early beta version. You should definitely think about how a commercial agent, manager, or other employee of yours, can have a public private profile, and include this in your social strategy. The idea of this profile is to befriend your clients and communicate with them. Graph Search has “hot” buttons called “Friends” and “Interests,” where this profile, as well as the fan page, can appear.

What’s more – when your clients search for people, this profile will appear with top priority, which is an extra reminder about your business and leads to the creation of loyal relationships. It is crucial that your social strategy successfully includes this profile in your brand’s communication strategy as a whole. You must not be a pain in the neck, irritate, or repel people from this profile. DO NOT be obtrusive, do not spam. Present this profile as the responsive specialist, who helps, but does not irritate. I, personally, as a consumer, have always dreamt of brands, who can provide not only a fan page, but also a responsive consultant, or an agent, with whom I can communicate direcly. Unfortunately, this idea is not well developed here – you are more likely to find fan pages with irrelevant statues. :(

8. Thematic content! It’s getting more and more imporant  that the content of your posts be thematic. The same goes for your links’ content! Here is a recent example – click here.

9. The higher number of page likes (fans) does not play a role in the positioning in Graph Search but is somewhat important when filtering results. The idea behind that is that if your closest friends are fans of a certain page, it is easier for you to find it in most cases. If they have added the page in “Interests,” this makes it even easier to find it. (this is something I wrote about in Part 1). The same goes for the number of check-ins.

The website is not less important than the fan page!

Don’t forget that, apart from profiles and fan pages, Graph Search also provides search results, thanks to Bing. Currently, these results amount to almost 50% of the typehead SERP (the drop-down real time results menu) in Graph Search, which is very important.

This makes SEO for Bing a really good idea!

Open Graph and, if possible, an actions system, are downright mandatory!

Don’t stress too much on the fan page, especially if this is at your website’s expense. Your website is always the more important element, and you have more control over it.

Additional resources

In conclusion, I have put two of my presentations, and a video, where you can find more information about Graph Search and its future, below. Don’t forget that while this information is relevant today, no one knows anything about what the future holds. Facebook is changing and testing so many things across its platform every week. There are a lot of reasons for this and it is not a new trend or particularity. Experiment constantly – this is what I can advise you, and with the help of the rest of my articles in this blog, I can share only a fraction of everything I have tested, established, and used in my work. Of course, I keep some things for me and my clients, but you will find a lot of information regularly published here. I hope it is useful for you and your business presence on Facebook.

Check out Part 1 of “Graph Search Tips” article!

Click Here!

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Digital Marketing specialist, Art Director at Interactive Age Ltd.

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