Make Facebook Graph Search Work for Your Local Online Efforts

By now most have noticed that Facebook is all about the new Graph Search. The social networking giant has so much information about the interests of its users, so it was only a matter of time before they created some sort of search engine. However, what many weren’t expecting was just how much the Graph Search would benefit small businesses. With the new feature, users are able to find businesses that interest them much easier and faster than before. Results are more relevant, and from a business perspective, it’s going to be a huge factor when it comes to local online efforts. 


How the Facebook Graph Search Works

For those who are unfamiliar, the Facebook Graph search is a way for users to search a topic and find results based on information others have given to Facebook. Therefore, the type of search queries you type into Facebook are not going to be the same as those you type into Google. You’re not going to ask, “How do I setup a WordPress site” in the Graph Search because it isn’t that kind of search engine. It’s different than Google, but it has its strong suites.

Consider the following example: I might type into the search bar “places to eat in San Diego,” and I would get a list of results based upon a few different things, all of which are important for businesses to understand when optimizing their pages for this new type of local search. The results are based upon:

1. Friends Who Have Interacted With the Page. If a user types something in about restaurants in San Diego and he/she has a lot of friends who have either “liked” or “checked-in” to a particular restaurant in San Diego, that person is going to see that result first.

How to Take Advantage: The more people you can get to check-in to your business and “like” your business page on Facebook, the better. Try to increase your numbers by offering discounts to those who check-in and asking your current fans to recommend your page.

2. Number of People who have “Liked” the Page. Let’s say that the user isn’t from San Diego, so he/she doesn’t have a lot of friends who have been engaging with restaurants in that area. If this is the case, it all comes down to the number of people who have “liked” the page.

How to Take Advantage: One of the best ways to increase likes on your business Facebook page is to not only ask your existing fans every once an a while, but mostly just creating great content. Engage with those who post on your site and make sure you’re posting content that is interesting and warrants a read.

3. Number of Check-Ins the Page Has Seen. Check-ins are also incredibly important if you want to rank on the new Facebook Graph search engine. After likes, Facebook wants to see that people have checked-in to the restaurant (this is typically a good sign in terms of quality as well).

How to Take Advantage: Offering discounts to those who check-in to your restaurant is a great way to increase that check-in number. The check-in will show up on that person’s page, which might spark his/her 800 friends to notice your page and like it, creating a domino effect.

4. Where the Result is Located In Relation to the Searcher. No matter what kind of search query someone types into the graph search, the location of the results will come into play (after connections and likes). If something is located near the searcher, that result takes precedence over others.

How to Take Advantage: This is where filling out all of your information is incredibly important. Make sure to have your address on your business page, but don’t stop there. Phone number, hours of operation, and a description is still important, even if not for ranking purposes.

5. Extras: Ratings, Optimization, Engagement. These are other things that come into play when it comes time to rank results. The better ratings and the more engagement that the page has seen shows Facebook that the business is active on the network and has good reviews. If your business page is optimized using keywords, that will also help tip off Facebook that your page is result to certain search queries.

How to Take Advantage: Make sure to single out a keyword or keyword phrase and put it in your description and several of your posts if possible. As far as ratings go, it helps to always take what is said seriously and make changes to your business accordingly.

Facebook Graph Search and Local Online Efforts: The Takeaways

One important point to understand is that this is the typical ranking factors that go into every search a person does — not just restaurants. If someone wants to know about tourist attractions in Chicago, things to do near Central Park, or see photos of skydiving, the Graph Search makes that happen based on the same factors discussed above.

Although your Facebook business page may have been optimized before, the above five factors are now more important than ever. In the past, the number of “likes” wasn’t nearly as relevant as location or even optimization, but now it’s all about connections and engagement. In other words, you will want to continue with your current Facebook efforts, but be sure to change around your priorities.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.

Photo credit: TechWyse

Author: Amanda DiSilvestro

Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from algorithm updates. She writes for the professional SEO company HigherVisibility, a nationally recognized as one of the best local SEO companies.

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