Facebook's Graph Search, 5 Oughta Knows

The world's largest social network made waves on the 'Net yesterday with the launch of a new tool called Graph Search.

The tool essentially allows people to discover information based on data that Facebook has collected from its users over time. For example, someone could use Graph Search to discover information such as "restaurants in Chicago that my friends like" or "photos of me that I liked."

While Graph Search is currently in a limited beta release, the tool seems to improve the social network's lackluster search bar, which previously only allowed users to search for people or pages on the social network. Moreover, Graph Search has the potential to impact businesses on Facebook. Discover five things you should know about Graph Search below:

1. Likes Matter

Facebook Likes are now more important than ever, especially for businesses. According to a Facebook blog post, Graph Search can make it easier for people to discover and learn more about businesses on Facebook. This is because the search results are based on Facebook's robust database, which includes information that has been shared by businesses and individuals alike. That being said, businesses with a large fan base will be more likely to turn up in searches for phrases like "restaurants in Chicago that my friends like."

2. Engagement is Key

Aside from obtaining likes, businesses should focus on maintaining an engaging Page that includes quality interactions with fans. Since the search results are based on information that has been shared by businesses and individuals, interactions between a business and their fans can help the business score higher in the search results. Furthermore, Graph Search also makes interactions like check-ins even more important, because users could potentially search for phrases like "Places in Los Angeles that my friends have been to."

3. Invest in your Page

Facebook's blog post states that the best thing businesses can do for their Page is to continue to invest in it and make sure that it is complete and up-to-date. Items like the name, category, vanity URL and information within the "About" section of a business Page can help make it easier for people to find the business on Facebook. Additionally, Page owners should make sure that their business's address is correct because this information could help someone discover a local business when they are searching for places in a specific location.

4. There are No Graph Search Ad Formats...Yet

As Graph Search becomes more widely available, so will the speculation of a new ad format from Facebook. However, the social network confirmed in their blog post that there are currently no new ad formats available for Graph Search. However, it is important to note that Pages and apps can still use the Sponsored Results ad format to show up in the search results for all Facebook users, whether they have Graph Search or not.

5. Sign Up to Try It

Graph Search is currently in a limited beta release, which means that you must sign up for a waitlist to gain access to this tool. According to Facebook, the rollout of Graph Search will be gradual, starting with a very small number of users. This means that the company is still working out some of the bugs in order to provide the best search results possible to its users before the tool is available to everyone.