One of the biggest downfalls of Facebook applications has always been inaccessibility to search engines. Instead, Facebook application developers have been forced to invest substantial amounts into advertising if they hope to get any traction. A few lucky applications have been able to experience viral growth, since the platform opened up 5 months ago, growing virally has become significantly challenging.
Today, Facebook has announced that they are enabling search engines to index the application directory and application about pages. On the application about pages, individuals not logged into Facebook will be able to view the application information, discussion boards and the wall. While this new feature does not enable full search engine optimization, it definitely helps.
Facebook is eventually going to be forced to enable applications full search engine optimization. This is becuase SEO will be the primary differentiating factor between the upcoming Google platform and the Facebook platform. I always tell people that if I had launched this blog as an application, there is no way it would be as popular. As long as that’s the case, the Facebook platform will remain to be one of a handful of distribution channels that application developers choose to leverage.
This is a great first step by Facebook. I only hope that they give search engines complete access to applications in the near future.