UPDATE: In November 2015 Google has come to an agreement with Facebook to crawl, index and rank public Facebook profiles. This means that most public profiles that are highly active on Facebook will likely start showing up in Google search. To optimize or “SEO” a Facebook profile it will need natural links, a lot of activity and some quality content; just like an actual website.
When you think about a Facebook profile in terms of ranking in Google search, think of it exactly as you would the homepage of a website. You can get natural links that point to the domain and you can direct readers to this page from your other social media accounts or website. The only downside to an active Facebook account is the fact that individual posts or articles shared are not getting crawled and indexed in Google search. With this being the case, go create a WordPress website and get to writing your own content that will rank in Google search.
Original Article from July 2014:
I hear it time and again. “I need to get more Facebook likes.” When I hear this from small business owners I cringe. What most business owners do not realize is that getting more Facebook likes could actually be detrimental to their internet marketing campaign. The first thing I tell every potential client is that Facebook likes do not affect Google search in any way whatsoever. Let me repeat that. Facebook likes do not affect Google search rankings. As far as Bing and Yahoo!, that is another story, but the focus of most businesses, in terms of SEO, is Google Search. If you would like to increase your search rankings please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org as I offer several SEO package. Here is what you need to know about Facebook likes.
Facebook Cannot Be Crawled By Google
Facebook and Google have had a very bad relationship from hello. Facebook wants to wall in their network and keep the information to themselves. Google wants information to be open source for the world to see. No matter how you feel about this subject area it is important to understand that Facebook and Google have two completely different business models. Google wants to provide the best search result for someone actively seeking information. Facebook wants to push information in front of your face based on what you have liked or mentioned on your Facebook wall or newsfeed.
With Facebook and Google being so different it comes as no surprise that Facebook will not let Google robots crawl Facebook updates, newsfeeds and other information. Google can crawl public Facebook business and fan pages but the robot cannot crawl individual posts or updates. This means your Facebook business page may show up in Google search but you will likely never see a single Facebook post show up in search. Even if your Facebook update received 25,000 likes and 4,000 reshares you are not going to be able to find it through a Google search.
If Google is unable to crawl Facebook in its entirety it stands to reason that it will not strongly affect SEO. Each Facebook business page and profile page allows users to share as much content as they would like. Unfortunately, this content is limited to only the Facebook algorithm and not the Google algorithm. This means, even if your business page is public, only Facebook will be able to index the updates and posts. This is very unfortunate for businesses that are looking to increase exposure across the entire Internet. Although some may think so, Facebook is not the entire Internet.
What Facebook Links Do Help SEO?
There is one way in which Facebook can help SEO and that is a link on a business page. As I mentioned in the previous section, Facebook business pages can be crawled and indexed in search; if they are public. On a Facebook business page you are able to have one hypertext link and most businesses point this link back to their business website. If they don’t, they need to do it right now. For more on why this is important please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com.
If a Facebook business page becomes popular and it has many links pointing back to it, the pagerank of the Facebook business page will increase. Please note that the links pointing back to the business page must be crawlable by the Google spiders. Businesses could build up the pagerank of their Facebook page by linking to it from blog posts, adding it to a Flipboard magazine, sharing it on Google Plus or using some of the other curation tools like Scoop.it or Paper.li. Think of a Facebook business page as a business card in which you have just one link. For more on Flipboard use this resource: How to Use Flipboard for SEO and Traffic.
The link to your website can become much more valuable as the Facebook business page increases in value. This is not something I would spend hours on doing but if you have a strong Facebook presence it might be worth it to get a few natural links to point back to the Facebook page. Notice I used the word natural. There is no reason to go out and try to get 5000 links pointing to a Facebook page. If you have a presence on other social networks politely mention you have a Facebook page and offer the link. It is as easy as that.
Why Getting More Facebook Likes Could Be Bad
I recently watch an amazing video on the problem with Facebook likes and Facebook promoted posts. I would suggest taking 10 minutes to watch it here:
To sum up the video, Facebook likes could make your business less visible on Facebook. Let us play a little game of math.
- Your Facebook business page has 500 likes
- Facebook will push out a news update/post to 10% (rough estimate) of your “fans” or those that have liked you
- Approximately 50 “fans” see your post and can engage
- If the post is engaging, more “fans” will see the post
- If the post receives few likes or comments Facebook will not push the post out to others
With 500 real Facebook likes business pages have the chance to reach a very broad audience if the post gets a few likes and comments initially. It is a timing based algorithm so the more engagement early the more people will see the post. Now, let’s say you worked hard to get another 1000 fans that might not necessarily be real fans. They might be from other states or even other countries. In fact, they may have just liked your page because they like everything they see on Facebook. Let us play the numbers game again.
- Your Facebook business page has 1500 likes
- Facebook will push out a news update/post to 10% of your “fans” or those that have liked you
- Approximately 150 “fans” see your post and can engage
Therein lies the big difference. With 500 likes and 50 of them seeing the post it is much more possible they were real fans in the local area. If you have 1500 “fans” that aren’t true fans what are the odds that the 150 that see the post are going to engage? I would say very low. In fact, those that have purchased likes just to increase the total number of likes are seeing almost zero engagement on Facebook. The reason for this is the “fans” that liked the page don’t really care about the business and they may not even be accessing Facebook at all. Some people create fake accounts just to get more likes which means engagement will plummet to zero.
If your news update or post is being pushed out to Facebook users that are not true fans or not even on the platform you are going to find it nearly impossible to grow your reach. This is why I would urge you to not buy Facebook likes. In reality, it is better to have less Facebook likes than more. If you only have 50 Facebook likes, but they are all real fans, the likelihood of them engaging on your posts will be much higher.
This is why Facebook is so easy for those that are just getting started. Only their friends, family and true fans have liked their page. This makes it much easier to receive a high reach percentage. As businesses start to get more random “fans” their reach declines tremendously. As stated, keep an eye on the number of likes you have. Unlike what you may think, more likes might be worse for your page.
Facebook Has Little SEO Value
I will never argue that Facebook does not have the potential for huge reach numbers. Just look at Buzzfeed. The Buzzfeed website would have never gotten off the ground if it weren’t for Facebook. That said, the businesses I work with tend to make their money by getting customers and clients that search for services. If you have a practice or business that gets customers through search it is best to sink your Internet marketing budget into other things such as content, copywriting and building a strong presence on social media websites that can be crawled by the Google robot or Googlebot.
If you want to increase your search rankings you must create amazing content that is shared around the web. As I have said many times, the Google algorithm is based off a college thesis. If your thesis (your website) has amazing content and is referenced (links pointing back) often you are going to rank very well in search. With this in mind, you will need great content and you will need to be shared for others to read. For more on improving your ranking in search please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org as I have several monthly packages. If those searching for services will increase your revenue it would be wise to focus on search and not Facebook. Remember that other social media websites like Flipboard and Pinterest can be crawled by Google and do help with SEO.