Is News Feed Optimization Making a Comeback?

Phil Edwards has brought back a conversation that started six-months ago. Back in July, Justin Smith of InsideFacebook announced that newsfeed optimization was in fact the new SEO. By the end of October, both Justin and myself had data that showed otherwise. Since then a lot has changed. Facebook has increased their campaign against spammy applications eventually resulting in the fall of forced invites and a significant reduction in notifications for many developers.

As this has taken place two things have increased in importance: news feed positioning and application directory listings. These two things are now one of the few keys that developers have to unlocking an application’s viral potential. The only problem is that news feed optimization has fewer controllable factors than search engine optimization. One could also debate for hours which optimization would be in a developer’s best interest.

One of the largest challenges of news feed optimization is that changes to news feed stories as well as timing and other factors cannot produce measurable results. Search engine optimization on the other hand can be produce visible results. Since we are prevented from seeing others’ newsfeeds, we have no way of knowing how successful our various newsfeed stories are. The only thing we can check is the click-thru rate from user newsfeeds and that is the only metric that we can possibly view.

Do you think news feed optimization is making a resurgence? Do you have any stories of successful news feed optimization?