It is no secret that Facebook has been looking to expand from a simple social media platform for many years, from its introduction of Facebook Marketplace, to Facebook Local only a couple of years ago. In fact, as highlighted by Search Engine Watch, Facebook currently has 600 million users who visit business pages and approximately 1.5 billion searches are conducted on Facebook per day. It is clear that Facebook’s reach and search capabilities can have a real impact on businesses SEO performance, as well as becoming a search engine within its own right.
Just like Google, Facebook has looked to implement their own algorithm to allow individuals to easily find specific companies or pages on Facebook. Even today searching the term “Bakeries Near Me” presented the following results on Facebook.
As can be seen from the search results, not only are the bakeries shown in terms of their location, but as shown with two of the results, their average ratings are also provided.
Looking at Facebook Local (below) local businesses are presented on a map to the user. When these businesses are clicked on the user is presented with not only the average reviews of the business, but other information concerning whether any of their friends have ‘checked in’ there previously. Which, as the team at Marketo noted, Facebook Local allows for those who search for specific services/products to be shown to the best results as recommended and utilized by friends, rather than strangers.
As these examples highlight, Facebook is wasting no time in moving into the search engine market. Therefore it is important for organisations to look at how to optimise their own Facebook pages, including management of reviews (responding to negative & positive reviews), consistent relevant posting (encouraging more interaction and customer conversions), optimisation of business description (as this is usually the meta description used when it appears in SERP), as well as making sure all business information is up to date (eg, opening times, location address etc).
According to Statista, the number of social media users is expected to rise to 3.09 billion by 2021 meaning that social media is expected to be used by over 1/3 of the global population. This high reach has provided new opportunities for businesses to interact with potential customers and market their products/services across a range of different channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. In the past much of this marketing has focused on content creation and ads to get a user to complete a specific CTA, which was usually linked to a specific link on a website. For example, Converse shows off a new pair of shoes on their Instagram page with the link in the bio to the product page. However, today customers want their purchase journey to be more streamlined which has led to developments in the area of social media e-commerce or “social commerce”.
Facebook’s Relationship with Search Engines
Like all social media, Facebook aids SEO performance of websites by pushing more customer traffic to them. However, many businesses will have noticed that in some cases Google will even index social media pages of businesses, which is why the optimisation previously discussed is becoming increasingly important. On top of this search engines, such as Bing have openly stated they include social media factors in their overall ranking. While Bing is smaller than Google, it still holds a substantial size of the search market, making it worthwhile for businesses to focus on optimising their social media channels. Finally, although Google has never explicitly stated this to be true, many marketing institutions including marketing guru Neil Patel have noted through their own research that links from social media pages can play a positive role in SEO performance.
Social media offers both paid and organic traffic to websites, but to achieve an effective return in both these areas businesses need to make sure that their social media pages, such as their Facebook page, are effectively managed. For instance, if a business is posting on their page once per month then it is more than likely there will be a low interaction rate with customers, which will make many of them less likely to undertake certain actions such as convert, leave a review or share content from the business. Whereas if a business is consistently posting, replying to customer comments and sharing relevant information then they are more likely to have higher engagement rate. This tactic generally leads to greater traffic to a business’s website, as well as more people potentially sharing posts and articles posted by the business (growing external links).
Paid marketing through a platform such as Facebook allows for a business to reach audiences outside those who have “liked” their Facebook page to those who have similar likes or buyer behaviours to their target market. This increased traffic to a specific landing page in turn aids overall SEO performance of the website (increasing credibility) and can also help to turn cold sales leads into loyal customers which can help an organisation’s long-term SEO performance. Therefore it is crucial to make sure all paid marketing campaigns are setup as highly specific and targeted to a particular audience.
SEO and its relationship with social media are complicated. However, it is clear that there are a host of benefits for businesses through the optimisation and effective management of Facebook pages. To find out more about Facebook and it’s link to your website’s SEO performance, contact Redline Digital today.