In a move that will increase the amount of Page Rank and traffic Google gives to Facebook Pages, Facebook launched a new feature over the weekend that essentially added hundreds of millions of new internal links to Facebook’s brand Pages in users’ public search listings.
Public search listings are Facebook’s way of exposing user information to Google. Before today, the default public search listings included users’ name, profile picture, network, and a few friends’ photos. Now, Facebook has added Pages that users are a fan of to users’ default public search listings.
This means that if a user is a fan of The Gap, U2, or Barack Obama, that information is now listed in that user’s public search listing. In addition, each of those items listed point back to Facebook Pages – such as The Gap’s Facebook Page, U2’s Facebook Page, and Barack Obama’s Facebook Page.
The net result? 112,000 links to The Gap’s Facebook Page just appeared this weekend. 188,000 links to U2’s Facebook Page just appeared, and 3,100,000 links to Obama’s Facebook Page just appeared.
Considering that Facebook turned on links to Pages from about 120 million profile page public search listings, the number of new internal links to Pages on the facebook.com domain this weekend likely increased by several hundred million.
The SEO experts in the crowd will be able to gauge how impactful this change will be in light of the thousands of complex factors Google looks at when deciding who to give SERP real estate to.
Facebook describes the update to users as a way to make it easier for friends to find you in search results, and that is surely the case:
But ultimately for marketers, this step by Facebook increases the weight Google will give to brand Pages. Brand and marketing managers should not be surprised to see their Facebook Pages rising in Google search results in the months ahead.