Facebook is gradually becoming the standard, go-to destination for consumers that are interested in learning about a brand. In fact, according to an infographic from the marketing research company Lab42, 50 percent of consumers say a brand’s Facebook page is more useful than its website.
On top of that, 75 percent said they feel more connected to brands with Facebook, while 35 percent said they feel like brands listen to them more on the social network. Overall, a whopping 82 percent of respondents said Facebook is a “good place” to engage with brands.
This growing preference for interacting with brands through Facebook means that companies need to start putting as much (if not more) effort into optimizing their Facebook Pages for higher search engine rankings as they do for their websites, because it appears that consumers are going to head there first to check out their brands.
Here’s some SEO you can do to catapult your Facebook page to the top of the SERPs:
Claim Your Name
Obviously, the best place to start with your SEO is with your Facebook Page name and vanity URL; you know, all of that branding stuff. Your Facebook Page name will appear to search engines with the prominence of an <h1> headline, so you should name it after your business or brand and stay away from trying to stuff the title with keywords, which could hurt your viral growth on the social network because the Page will seem like spam to users. Putting your company’s name in the title ensures that consumers will be able to find you with little-to-no confusion, especially when they’re looking on search engines. However, once you select a name, don’t change it unless you absolutely have to, as Google (and presumably others) penalizes pages that change their titles.
And it doesn’t just stop there, because you also have to find the best possible vanity URL for your Facebook Page (although this option is only available for Pages that have at least 100 fans). You can select your username at Facebook.com/username, but keep in mind that the site won’t just let you pick generic keywords for your URL. While there may be some leeway that allows you to use keywords in conjunction with the name of your brand, you will probably be better off just using your brand name (or the closest unused variant you can come up with). Mostly, just make sure that your URL, like your Page name, contains the name of your brand and is carefully crafted to help you stand out on the SERPs.
Make Your Text Count
We’ve all heard about the importance of writing up original content that provides value to users while also taking advantage of the most important keywords in your industry or niche to help you appear higher for related searches. Well, that practice is just as important, although far more limited, on Facebook.
On the social network, you should incorporate as much SEO-friendly text (i.e. heavy on keywords) in your “About” section. This area on a Facebook Page is the only one the site gives you to include a lot of text, and they present useful opportunities to improve your chances of being noticed by searches for some of your brand’s most important keywords, because in addition to the regular About section (which can include a company overview, general description, etc.), there is also space for basic information, contact information and more.
Don’t Forget Multimedia Content
These days, so much of what is posted and shared on Facebook is multimedia content in the form of images or videos. It’s no secret that search engines have a difficult time crawling this content because it isn’t text-based, but luckily it still can be optimized for the search engines.
This is most easily be accomplished by simply appropriately naming any images, logos or videos that you post on Facebook with a filename that is descriptive and, if applicable, uses keywords. Since the titles of videos hare more heavily weighted, it is the easiest type of multimedia content to optimize. Once you’ve got SEO-worthy names, you can add more content to your photos and videos, such as captions or comments, that will also attract search engine bots.
It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that Facebook is a social media platform, and that your first task on the site is to be social with your fans. Conveniently, this sort of interaction can actually be beneficial to your SEO efforts, as well. By fostering discussions with other users on your posts, photos and videos, you’re allowing them to generate a wealth of additional content on your page. So, as long as your discussions remain on-topic, all of those user-generated comments could conceivably help improve your rankings for certain keywords. Unfortunately, it’s not known for sure how much weight search engines give to Facebook comments, but we do know that Google at least indexes them.
It’s (Still) All About Links
Links are incredibly valuable for SEO, a fact that remains true even on Facebook. And, as with traditional website optimization, the more links you can accrue, the better. If search engines see your Page getting linked to in numerous places (both on and off the social network), especially from respected or authoritative sources, it will be weighted much more heavily and likely rank higher.
You can start by linking to your Facebook Page on all of your other available Web properties (i.e. your website, Twitter page, YouTube channel, etc.), but you certainly shouldn’t stop there. If you’re going about acquiring links, you could also ask that they link to your Facebook Page in addition to, or in place of, your regular website.
However, the easiest way to get a bunch of links is simply to get more people to Like your Page. Since the site automatically puts links to the Pages that a user Likes right on their profiles, each new fan you get results in one intra-Facebook inbound link to your Page. Then once you foster more discussions and get fans to comment on and Like content on your Page, search engines will see even more reciprocal links in your content stream between you and your fans, since each user’s name on a comment or Like links back to his/her profile.