Facebook has co-authored a white paper on search engine optimization for Facebook Pages and Facebook integrated websites, together with enterprise SEO platform BrightEdge. According to a BrightEdge study, 70% of the top 200 brands in the Fortune 500 don’t have their Facebook Pages in the top 20 search engine results for their brand. By improving understanding of SEO for Facebook Pages through the white paper, Facebook can increase its own traffic while helping the brands it hosts, and BrightEdge can draw in more clients.
Here we’ll analyze and extrapolate on the best practices outlined in the white paper.
Securing a high search engine rank for their Facebook Pages is an easy way for brands to push down websites that don’t help their business, such as those of competitors or that criticize their brand. Facebook Pages naturally have a relatively credible standing among search engines, so with some strategy it can be easy to get them into the top results for a query of the brand’s name. According to the white paper, being a top result helps brands manage their reputation, increase their visibility, and drive engagement to their Facebook Page.
BrightEdge offers services to assist with SEO including automated recommendations, competitive analysis, and a metrics dashboard. However, there’s much that brands can do on their own to enhance SEO.
The “Facebook for Social SEO” whitepaper offers five core strategies for brands looking to improve the SEO of their Facebook Page:
- Set your vanity URL to exactly match your brand name – You can set your vanity URL through the “Username” section of the Basic Information tab in the Edit Page admin interface
- Link to your Facebook Page from your website – Link to the vanity URL of your Page with the anchor text “brand name] on Facebook” on your home page, or preferably as many webpages as possible through a footer or standard template
- Mention your brand name in updates published by your page – these updates are crawled and improve the Page’s rank
- Attain Likes – Links generated from the profiles of users who Like your Page are indexed by search engines. Draw more Likes by adding the Like Box social plugin to your website and running Page Like Sponsored Stories ads on Facebook
- Create sub-Pages for high value keywords – If your website has distinct sections or categories, consider creating additional Pages specifically for these sections, and linking to them from the website sections. For instance, Amazon has sub-Pages for its Amazon MP3 and Amazon Student stores, which it displays on the main Amazon Facebook Page using the Featured Likes option in the Edit Page admin interface
Additionally, the white paper explains that traditional websites can significantly improve their SEO by attaining Facebook Likes and Shares using Facebook’s social plugins.
Facebook is beginning to realize that the social ecosystem it has created is not so simple for businesses to maneuver. Educational efforts like this increase the confidence of businesses, leading them to focus and spend more on Facebook marketing and advertising. The measurable benefits of the building a Facebook presence are starting to emerge. Now brands just need more guidance on what steps to take to maximize returns from their social investment.