October 30, 2015 | Social Media

Facebook Expands Search, What Does This Mean For Your SEO?

We have quoted Greek philosopher Heraclitus before, and will again: "The only thing that is constant is change." Facebook must have this quote plastered on their walls because they’re at it again.

The social media powerhouse recently announced that they have indexed over 2 trillion posts and are taking steps to refine their search capabilities. They even have a new blog, Search FYI dedicated to this topic.

Competition between Facebook, Google, Apple etc. is healthy. It moves things forward, it sparks innovation, it creates great opportunities for people to comment and speculate about the future. If you are wondering, “Will Facebook take over search from Google?” The answer is probably not. Not anytime soon at least.

However, Facebook made a great point in their announcement: "When something happens in the world, people often turn to Facebook to see how their friends and family are reacting." When news happens, people turn to social media to comment. Now Facebook is offering, in their own words:

  • Better search suggestions: When you tap into the search box and start typing, we’ll now offer timely, personalized search suggestions. As you type, we’ll highlight things that are happening right now so you can follow popular stories as they unfold.

  • Search results with public posts and posts from friends: When you search, you’ll now see the most recent, relevant public posts along with posts from your friends. Search results are organized to help you cut through the noise and quickly understand what the world is saying about a topic in the moment. You also can pull-to-refresh and see the latest public posts.

  • Find public conversations with search: When a link gets shared widely on Facebook, it often anchors an interesting public conversation. Now there’s a new way to quickly dive into that discussion. With one tap, you can find public posts about a link, see popular quotes and phrases mentioned in these posts, and check out an aggregate overview of sentiment. This feature is a first step—we look forward to people using it and giving us feedback so we can make it even better.

It’s All About One Thing: The Experience

User experience -- or UX -- isn’t just one of those cool marketing buzzwords. UX is the driving force across the web. This is another one you can credit (or hate) Google for. Google believes the better the experience, the more users you’ll have. This is why they OWN the paid search game. They know how many eyeballs they have on their site and they can charge advertisers accordingly for those searches. The best example? Google "how to boil an egg".
boil egg

Even though there are 13 million search results, the first result is directions on how to boil an egg. See, you don’t have to leave Google.com to get the info you wanted. They want to keep you right here. We have no idea how much that first position ad costs but it wasn’t cheap.

Facebook Wants Their Piece Of The Pie

Facebook wants in. They want to keep as many eyes on their site as they can. Why? Well ad revenues of course (see above). The more eyes on your site, the easier it is to attract brands to advertise, and the more you can charge for said ads.

When the experience is good for the user the more they use your product/site. Google learned this long ago, and the rest of the web (and Facebook to a certain extent) is just learning this. In this case, the saying “better late than never” is the most appropriate.

What Does This Mean For Your SEO Efforts?

If you have a marketing company doing SEO for your business you are probably well positioned for this next iteration of search. Are you? If your SEO consultant is still trying to tell you that you can “get on the first page of Google for XYZ keyword”, chances are, you’re probably in trouble.

Ryan Stewart wrote this blog post recently: Why I Stopped Selling SEO Services, And You Should, Too. It is worth the read from start to finish. He employs what we call Modern Digital Marketing techniques instead of SEO. FYI: SEO is one of the terms we hope the web retires in 2016, but more on that in a future blog post.

As Mr. Stewart said: "It's SEO (Search Engine Optimization), not GO (Google Optimization)." We tend to use the alternate definition of SEO (Search Experience Optimization) but the sentiment is the same. The web is more than Google. Facebook reminded us of that in a big way.

What’s Next?

It is time to start thinking about SEO as part of an integrated digital marketing strategy. Not as something that is done in a vacuum independent of every other marketing activity. Your digital footprint needs to be wide, and varied; remember it’s SEO not GO!

If all of this is mind boggling and confusing we empathize. But more than anything, we can help. If you don’t feel well positioned, now is the time to start thinking about 2016! Drop us a note, tweet us a tweet, or a give us a call. We would be more than happy to sit down and come up with a solid digital marketing strategy that will have your company rockin’ right out of the gate in 2016.

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