Publishers Can See What Graph Search Queries Led To Their Pages

By Justin Lafferty 

It seems that Facebook is tracking Graph Search queries, allowing publishers to see what words typed into the search bar led to their websites. Sister site Inside Facebook reported Monday that publishers can drill down to see what Facebook users searched for using Graph Search in order to access their websites.

It’s well-known that Facebook and Bing are partners, and Bing is a part of Graph Search. Whenever users look up something that’s not a page, person, or location on the social network, they are referred to Bing results.

Glenn Gabe of G-Squared Interactive discovered that he could find out what Facebook search queries led users to his website.

Originally, much to Gabe’s chagrin, Facebook did not identify the keyword in the referrer:

During my testing, I quickly checked the referrer when clicking from the fallback results to websites and noticed that Facebook was not passing the keyword in the referrer. It was basically Facebook’s version of “not provided.” When you checked Google Analytics, the visit looked like a typical referring source (a “social” visit from Facebook). You couldn’t see the keyword that triggered the visit. Needless to say, I thought Facebook was making a big mistake. If Facebook passed the keywords along, business owners, advertisers, search-engine-optimization companies, etc. would love them for doing so … We could all start to track the impact of Graph Search (at least any searches that fall back to Bing).  I guess we were out of luck … or were we?

But Gabe did some more research for a presentation last week to find that Facebook had reversed course and was now allowing publishers to see referring keywords.

Gabe went on to explain in the rest of his thorough blog post how he was able to track this and figure out how many of his website’s visitors were coming from Facebook.

Readers: If you manage a business, are you excited for Graph Search?