Facebook Splits Typeahead Search Results Into Categories

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By Josh Constine Comments

Facebook now splits the instant typeahead search results that appear in the drop-down beneath its ever-present search bar into profiles, Pages, apps, groups, Events, and Questions. This helps users find the most relevant results, regardless of category.

Category-sorted results could also help users discover new content they weren’t looking for but that relates to something they were, like a soccer game when they were searching for a soccer Page. Finally, the change has SEO implications, as appearing in the first few results within a specific tip is more important now, and Pages and apps can score incidental traffic by having titles similar to common names.

The different result categories are ordered according to the relevance of the matches, meaning users could see any category first. Since the categories aren’t weighted according to their popularity, the ordering can be a bit awkward at times. Users are more likely to be searching for profiles, Pages or apps than groups, Events, or Questions, yet the first result may still be a Question.

Though this unweighted ordering isn’t necessarily best for the user experience, it may expose people to some of Facebook’s lesser-known core apps.

Its now even more crucial for applications and Pages to attain one of the top spots for a given keyword. It also incentivizes them to name themselves after or something similar to popular names. For instance, an app called “Just For Fun” might receive traffic from people searching for someone named “Justin”.

Facebook has been gradually improving its internal search feature. It began surfacing Liked Open Graph-objects such as news articles in August. If it can continue to improve its internal search, users will be more likely to use it instead of web search engines like Google in order to find things on Facebook.