Social media and SEO part 1: optimising Facebook
As search and social media move closer together, it’s important that you know how to optimise your social media activity – whether it’s on your own site or within a social media platform. Being found via search is still going to be one of the main drivers for people discovering your content, bolstered by word of mouth and organic growth through social technologies. To help you get the most out of your activity, over the next week we’ll be releasing a series of guides focused on different social platforms to help you make the most of the free tools, tips and tricks available.
Keywords in updates
Starting with something that may be obvious, but is one of the most important things to remember when creating content on your Facebook page. Whether this is the permanent content such as the copy you write on your info tab, or page description, or whether it’s the fresh content that you create through wall posts. Focus on consistent use of keywords across your copy that you want to be found for, both within Facebook’s internal search as well as external search engines. Try and make this focused instead of just chucking in random keywords on an ad hoc basis. For the permanent copy, focus on a few keywords that are important to you and structure these within the copy without keyword stuffing.
When it comes to updates on your page, think about keywords that might be more current or topical, as this is particularly important for being found within Facebook’s internal search. You want your posts to be found for topical searches that people will make within the site, potentially bringing in a new audience. Don’t be afraid to be explicit here. If you have something to say about a particular news story, include the keywords clearly that you would expect people to be searching for. It’s the same logic that journalists need to apply now when writing news stories for online. Keywords need to be included in headlines to help SEO and the same goes for your Facebook updates.
Edit links to include keywords
When you post a link on a profile or page, you have the option to edit the text that’s automatically pulled in. You do this by simply clicking on the text before you post the update, which can be done both for the article headline and description:
This gives you another chance to add keywords onto your post and it will also help for internal Facebook search too. As shown below, when you run a search on Facebook, the results pull in link headers and descriptions, so it’s important to include your links here to give yourself every chance of being found:
Add links in Info
In the info section of your page, you have a great opportunity to send links out to your website, or indeed even your own Facebook page, if you decide to link to tabs off the page. Linking in this way is obviously more about SEO than user experience, but it is a good way to generate links to your own page, which is an important factor for a Facebook page just as it is with any other website. You can do this within the ‘website’ section of the info tab. Think about adding in as many links as you can, to sub-sections such as products, contact info, offers etc..
Focus on the ‘about’ box
While you are limited to the copy you can write on the main tab within your Facebook page, you are provided with a handy ‘about’ box that allows you to write both copy and links. According to many, this box is the most important section within the CSS structure of your page, so you should make use of it. You can edit the text by simply clicking on the pencil icon next to it when you’re on the wall page:
Keywords in your page name
Again this may seem obvious, but it’s important to understand why you need to include links in your Facebook page name and vanity URL. Every time someone Likes your page, Google will see a link to your page from their profile. If the link includes keywords that you want to rank for, this will help you rank for that keyword. Think about pages that have tens or hundreds of thousands of fans and the importance of including a keyword within your page URL or name is clear.
Descriptions on all pieces of content
If you’re uploading large photo albums to the page or regularly posting videos, it’s tempting to just post the images and leave it at that. But every image that you create, is creating a new sub-page off your Facebook page and another chance to include relevant keywords. Make sure you give a description to each photo that follows a standardised format where possible such as “The latest from the Hilton Hotel in London: the best hotel food around”. Following this structure will force you to focus on a few keywords that are mentioned regularly, as opposed to a selection of keywords that on their own won’t contribute too much.
Add a link to photos
As well as including keywords in your photo descriptions, you can also add links, which is an incredibly useful way of generating either more relevant links from your Facebook page to your website, or this link could even be the Facebook page itself, to create more inbound links to the page which will impact the ranking in Google. Do this simply by writing your website URL in the description and Facebook will hyperlink this for you. Unfortunately you can’t use anchor text here:
Tag Pages in posts
When you’re posting an update to your page, think about whether it’s worth linking to another page as it’s beneficial for two reasons. Firstly, it adds another link on your page or update and we know that Google likes links. But it also adds your post onto that page’s wall, which in turn creates an inbound link to your page. You may think that this is bad practice as it potentially takes people away from your page, but it also increases the chances of someone else finding your page through another group, which will benefit you in turn.
Follow best practice in posts
If you have an active fanpage, your Page will show up higher in the Top newsfeed of a user’s profile. If Facebook’s algorithm can recognise that people are responding well to your page, leaving comments and Liking posts, then they’ll see it as genuine content that’s worth promoting. So as much as running a good Facebook page is important for the overall user experience, it’s important for search as well. Little things like posting questions that invite discussions will naturally attract more people to take part and leave a comment, which in turn will boost your Edgerank.
Point ads to your Facebook Page
If you’re running an ad campaign on Facebook, direct these ads to your page as opposed to an external website, to help your SEO efforts. While this provides a valuable user experience for one – people are more likely to stay engaged with your brand if they stay within Facebook – it also generates two further opportunities to create links to your page. Firstly, this will come from the ad itself, but if the ad is successful and someone ends up Liking your page, you have created additional inbound links through the initial wall post (Lauren Fisher likes xyz page) as well as a permanent link within that user’s profile. The SEO value here is significant enough to consider switching your ad strategy if you’re not currently taking people through to your page when running ads.
Be consistent with links
Building up external links that point to your Facebook page is important for your search engine ranking. But rather than haphazardly putting in links everywhere you can, try and be a bit more strategic about it. For all the assets you can control or influence: linking to your page from your website, email signature, company LinkedIn pages/profiles, etc., make sure the links are consistent, through the anchor text that you use. So make sure that you/your employees are using the same anchor text that includes keywords you want to rank for, such as ‘Simply Zesty – social media agency’ as the anchor text that links through to your Page. This will help ensure you begin to rank for the keywords and Google recognises the relevance of the anchor text to the name/content of your page.
Always link to the main page
If you’re running a promotion on Facebook, it’s likely that you’re going to link to this from a lot of places, as well as including links on promotion such as emails to bloggers or press releases. The best practice for this is to make the link your standard page, i.e. facebook.com/simplyzesty and choose the landing tab as your promotional or campaign tab. Once the promotion is over the tab is likely to be removed and these links aren’t really any use, both to users that might stumble across them, or to search engines.