Your Business: Facebook SEO, continued

NickForWeb

In our March and April print issues, we brought you parts 1 and 2 of this great advice.  Read on to become a “Facebook SEO pro”!

By Nicholas Cappiello

6. Post direct links to your website (or other relevant sites) in your Page’s stream. Status updates offer a powerful way to place direct links near the top of your Page’s CSS structure. Google boosts pages that link to relevant sites and dings pages that link to unrelated sites or add too many links too suddenly. Posting links in status updates can be a powerful and authentic way to boost your Facebook Page’s link score.

There are two ways to post links into your Page’s stream:
1.) Including the raw URL in the text of the status update itself
2.) Using the “attach link” feature in the Facebook publisher
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each approach from an SEO perspective:

a. Raw URL
When you include the raw URL in the text of the status update itself, Facebook auto-links the text directly to the URL. While you can’t control the anchor text of the link (it is always just the URL itself), the link does go directly to the destination page – and not through a Facebook.com URL that adds the Facebook menu bar at the top when you click through to the destination page.

b. Attach Link
When you use the “attach link” feature of the Facebook publisher, Facebook pulls in the title, body, and images from your Page, and suggests a thumbnail image and text snippet which it places adjacent to your Page’s link. The automatic inclusion of this text further boosts the keyword density of the CSS region near the link, and the thumbnail also links to the destination URL – both nice perks of using the “attach link” feature.
Power tip: You can also change the anchor text while clicking the page’s title before clicking “Share” in the Facebook publisher.
However, the link itself does not go directly to the destination URL, rather  it goes through a Facebook.com share URL that includes the destination URL as an iframe on the resulting page, with the Facebook menu bar at the top which includes commenting and sharing features. There is still some debate in the SEO community as to the impact of the specific implementation details of such toolbars. The lack of a direct link when using Facebook’s “attach link” feature does mitigate the SEO benefits of posting links on Facebook Pages.

7. Add photos with captions, events with descriptions, and a discussion forum.
It almost goes without saying, but it is important to always share interesting content on your Facebook Page, and use all available descriptive fields on each type of content shared. When posting photos, use verbose and keyword-dense descriptions. When posting events, take the extra minute to include text and keywords in the description field. Add a discussion forum to your Page.

Facebook makes all of the content shared on Facebook Pages index-able by search engines. Use the tools Facebook provides to your full advantage.

8. Get more inbound links to your Facebook Page from the web by posting links to your Page on all your websites
Just as a variety of inbound links from authoritative websites help boost PageRank for traditional websites, getting more inbound links to your Facebook Page will boost its Page Rank as well. You can do this with text links, but Facebook has also created a “Find Us On Facebook” badge which it encourages Page owners to use. The new Fan Box widget for Facebook Pages also includes links back to your Facebook Page.

Facebook has created promotional guidelines for promoting your Facebook Page that are worth a read. Basically, Facebook doesn’t want Page owners to claim you have officially partnered with Facebook by virtue of having a Facebook Page. However, Facebook does want as many links as possible pointing to Facebook.com.

9. Get more intra-Facebook inbound links by getting more Facebook fans
Because Facebook places links to Facebook Pages on the default version of Facebook users’ profile pages which are visible to search engines, the more fans you get, the more links you’ll have to your Page within Facebook. For Pages with thousands (or even millions) of fans, the number of links can really add up.

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