Earlier this month (August 2013), Facebook announced that Graph Search is now turned on for all English speaking Facebook users. In light of the announcement, businesses will want to know how to make their Pages appear higher in search within Facebook and beyond.
While no one really knows yet what on-page optimization techniques will work with Graph Search (to learn more, click here), this is a good time to assess your Page and to make sure that your Facebook Page is set up in such a way that when your fans visit your Page, they find what they’re looking for.
Here are 5 tips to make your Facebook Page more searchable and visible. The first three steps outlined below are for entry-level Facebook Page admins. If you’re certain that you’re already implementing the most basic best practices, skip ahead to step four.
#1: Choose the Right Name. This sounds really obvious, but many businesses can’t help but cram lots of keywords in their name in the hopes of boosting searchability. This can backfire. If you were, say, “Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.: Baked Shrimp, Shrimp Creole, Shrimp Scampi, Fried Shrimp and More Shrimp” your name would look like spam. Just “Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.” says all anyone needs to know.
At the same time, you don’t want to be so generic, e.g. “Seafood Restaurant” you’ll get lost in the shuffle. Remember that the first word you include in your Page title is the one that Google will consider the most important. By the way, if there are other Pages out there that use your name, i.e. Pages that have been created by fans, make sure to add “Official” to your Page. You can also add the location of your business to the name.
For example, if you own a franchise, you would call your Page “McDonald’s Reno.”
#2: Add Important Information In Key Sections. It’s also important to include important details about your business in the “About,” “Mission” and “Company Description” sections. Does your About section include your web address and a description of what you do? Have you included important keywords that search engines will like? The Mission and Description sections offer more places to use keywords — appropriately, of course.
If you’re “the world’s largest online social media magazine,” say so in the About section. If your mission is “to empower users to succeed with social media,” say so in the Mission section. And in the Description section, elaborate on what your business does, e.g., “Our story began in 1971. Back then we were a roaster and retailer or whole bean and ground coffee…..” as Starbucks does. Finally, if your business depends on local traffic, include your physical address and phone number in the “Basic Info” section.
#3: Customize your Facebook URL. Facebook used to require that a Page have 25 Likes before it could have a “vanity” URL, but that is no longer the case. If you haven’t created a personalized URL yet, do it now. By default, Facebook will give you a URL that includes a number. It will look something like this: facebook.com/pages/yourbizname/123123123.
But you can — and definitely should — customize this URL to include the name of your business so that it looks like this: facebook.com/yourbizname.
To create your Facebook “vanity” URL, go to Facebook Username. If another business is already using the name you want, you have to come up with a variation (Facebook will suggest options). And if someone has claimed the name of a business you own, you can file a copyright infringement claim with Facebook.
#4: Encourage Sharing. Even when Graph Search is available to everyone, Facebook will still be a social experience more than it will be a traditional search experience. For Page admins, this means that your content — posts, photos, video, apps, etc. — must be content that people want to share with their friends. Imagine Graph Search as a sort of net. The net will capture likes, shares, check-ins, tags, etc. and so it makes sense that the more incoming relationships a Page has, the more easily it will be discovered.
Bottom line: The most popular and shared posts on Facebook tend to be the ones that are interactive, engaging and contain useful information. Finally, don’t forget that Facebook is about connecting with people. Don’t sacrifice the social aspect of your page for the sake of making it more searchable — with Graph Search or any other search engine.
#5: Get the Most Out of Timeline and Custom App Content. More of your Facebook Page is visible to search engines (and presumably will be visible to Graph Search) than you may realize. Status Updates have a limited shelf life because as you make more they naturally get pushed down the Timeline. On the other hand, apps that are pinned as a favorite next to your photos are there every time a user comes back. Consider adding content strategically for more visibility inside Facebook.
Add apps that contain valuable content — surveys, forms, menus, newsletters, ebooks, etc. — and that live for more than a few days. People will want to share them over an extended period and that will help your content live longer. One final note: don’t focus on SEO at the expense of developing a vibrant and engaged community on Facebook. The most popular pages on are the ones that are interactive and engaging and that — I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again — embrace the ideology of Facebook. If you cover all the basics, including the ones outlined at the beginning of this post, people will find you.
What strategies have you found make you more visible on Facebook?
[Note: A version of this post ran on Social Media Examiner.]