With reports that Facebook sees more traffic than Google, it makes sense that many SMB owners are getting serious about setting up shop on the hip social networking site. Facebook pages are often being used in lieu of a real Web site (which I’d caution against) or as a business’ second home on the Web. With all the opportunities that Facebook provides for small business owners, it’s important that you take the proper steps to increase your SEO efforts on the site. After all, if no one can find them, then do they really even exist?
Give it a keyword-rich name
And by “keyword-rich”, I mean to use the name of your business. Your name will be the keyword your customers and potential fans will most often use when they’re trying to find you. So that’s what you want to show up for. Don’t try and get clever and stuff your name with too many keywords or appear for terms that you’re not really relevant for. Facebook is a personal social networking site. You’re going to turn users off by appearing overly spammy and salesy and you’re also likely to get yourself in trouble with Facebook. There are lots of areas where you can get a little looser with keyword use. Your page name is not one of those places. You want to reach your fans, not turn them off.
Be smart about your vanity URL
A few months ago Facebook opened up the opportunity for users to claim “vanity URLs” for their Facebook pages. For example, my Facebook vanity URL is facebook.com/lisabarone. These URLs make it easier for fans and customers to remember (or guess) where your page is located and it gives page owners a nice brand boost. Facebook has also opened up vanity URLs for Facebook Pages for those with more than 25 fans, which business owners would be smart to snatch up.
When you’re selecting your vanity URL, again keep in mind that the name you choose essentially becomes your URL. Again, I’d recommend using your business name, but there are opportunities to use keywords, as long as you do it sensibly. You want to pick something that adequately represents your brand and that will be easy for people to remember.
Use the Static FBML app to custom tab (landing page)
Many small business owners don’t realize that they can customize their Facebook profile to create a landing page of their very own creation. This is really important. The same way you use landing pages to speak and engage visitors on your Web site, you can do the very same thing from your Facebook profile using the static FBML app. By creating a specific page for people to land on, you help shape their experience and make sure the search engines are getting a keyword-rich page to spider.
To set this up, you’ll first have to add the Static FBML app to your page. Once you do, a pop-over will appear asking you to select the Page you want to add it to. You can select the Page you want to customize by clicking the “Add to Page” button. Once installed, you’ll be able to edit your page and get started creating your landing page. If you know a little bit of HTML, the process isn’t too complicated. Because it’s a little technical, I’ll direct you over to Jesse Stay’s post on Techipedia which will walk you through the process step-by-step. He does a far better job explaining it to SMB owners than I could. No need to confuse you. 😉
Utilize the About box & Info tab
You want to take advantage of every opportunity that you have to write descriptive text about your business and to link smartly. The About box and Info tab give SMB owners an example to do exactly that.
- About box: The About box is one of the few places on your page that is accessible to the search engines. This little box located on the upper left hand side of the page gives you a couple hundred characters to tell people what you’re about, using the terms most important to you. Will it give you a huge boost? No. But every little bit helps so take the opportunity for every SEO bump you can get.
- Info Tab: The Info tab is another opportunity for you to include keyword-rich content about your business. Completing these sections is super important because the more complete your profile, the more likely Facebook will be able to show your page for related searches. Facebook also allows small business owners to include links to relevant pages/profiles, so make sure you’re using this area to drive traffic to other areas, as well.
Build Links To It
There are two ways to build links to your Facebook page to help increase its SEO power. The first way to build links is to increase your number of fans. Each time someone becomes a fan of your page, that is another link going towards it. Keep building your fan numbers and those links will quickly add up and help you dominate your SERP.
The second way to build links to your Facebook page is to build links off-site. For example, it means linking to your Facebook profile from your Web site, from your blog, from your other social networking sites, and encouraging others to link to it as well. The more links you can build to your Facebook page, the more authority you’re going to give it and the better it will rank in the search results.
As Facebook becomes a bigger part of small business owners’ marketing efforts, it’s important that you’re taking the proper steps to give these accounts as much SEO power as you can. Often with a few little tweaks you can create a page that both the users and the engines will love.
More in: Facebook
Joseph Manna, Infusionsoft
Great article, Lisa. I would caution others from visualizing Facebook as a means to build SEO for their business. We’ve both seen how that played out on Digg and Twitter. To me, I see Facebook as a supplement to a sound SEO and community strategy.
For SEO, I’ve seen Google put emphasis on the vanity URL, title, recent interactions/posts and the tabs a page might have (FBML as an example). These get indexed well when using semantically-sound HTML header tags and such.
One of the most effective strategies to build a Facebook presence is to promote it actively to subscribers and on the homepage of the site. It’s not that everyone will necessarily join, but the ones who are comfortable with Facebook will join and that’s fine. The more people engage and interact with valuable content on a Facebook Page, the more relevant and useful it will be and it will rise in the search engines and traffic will increase.
Thanks for writing this up. It’s good stuff. 🙂
Great post! I’m trying to build utilize my Facebook page more and these tips will definitely help me.
Thank you for sharing this with the community, Lisa. The sheer size of Facebook seems to be the challenge as it pertains to SEO.
These tips will certainly help!
The Franchise King
You’re actually very wrong about the vanity url and page naming if you’re advising small companies with a goal of improved SEO and to come up within searches in Facebook.
By only using your company name, you can only attract users who already know you. It’s the right strategy for known brands like Coke but it doesn’t drive new customers for small, unknown companies or products.
Rather, use key words or terms that people would use to search for your product and services. In the vanity url, you can separate these by periods so that the search engines can recognize these as individual keywords. Keyword-rich urls are very important.
so instead of facebook.com/lizbarone create:
I used this for promoting the fan pages for my facebook apps and it helped quite a bit.
With so many people already IN Facebook and most likely searching with the internal search, how does all of this influence how you will rank in Facebook’s search results?
Great post. Thanks for the useful and quick tips for Facebook.
I agree that ‘If someone cannot find you on facebook it means you don’t exist’. Thanks
How could you measure traffic stats on your Facebook page?
Great tips, thanks for sharing. Will have to implement a few of your suggestions and see what kind of impact it has on my traffic.
Picking the right Facebook URL reminds me of the headache of picking a business name in general! Do you want something quirky and unique that the only reason people are searching for it are to find you and no one else will be there? Or do you want a name with your industry in it so when people search for the industry they find you? I’ve concluded that there’s no right answer-you just need to make a choice.
Well if you look at the ALEXA ratings for page views one might assume that Facebook gets more traffic but this is simply not the case. If you click the tabs on the top of page for Google and Facebook on ALEXA’S site you will see that Google is far ahead and
will always remain that way.
People go to Google for information or buy or advertise.
Facebook on the other hand is where people go to socialize play games chat post with friends and family meet new people.
There are advertising opportunities on Facebook but if you think that it is or will be the POT OF GOLD at the end of the Rainbow
then I’m afraid you will be mistaken!
There is no doubt that Google is King…now and probably forever.
Al Garretson http://twittermanagerpro.com
Thanks for the tips. This will help as I expand my Facebook presence.
Thanks Lisa, it’s tips like this that really help small businesses compete with the big boys on SEO, much appreciated!
Great Article Lisa Mam…..
I Used Static FBML application for our Face book pages and i add custom tab using fbml for most of the facebook pages
Just discovered this blog post. Nice accessible summary of why folks should be spending more effort on Facebook.
My company — Hy.ly — is focused on creating *simple social apps* for small business to acquire customers on Facebook. Currently, we have two apps that a small business can use to improve their Facebook presence.
The first is a “Welcome Tab” introduces your brand to new prospects and nudges potential customer to Like you: http://bit.ly/h5j5jy . Here is an independent review of the Welcome Tab app: http://bit.ly/ao2LYA
The second is an “Offer Tab” is especially useful to offer deals to your prospects and engage them in with your service and product: http://bit.ly/gefw3O. The facts say it all: The #1 reason that any person Likes a page is because they want promotions and deals.
Great contribution Lisa, i have a doubt how to track the statistics of the traffic that come from exclusively facebook. can you elaborate in depth.
“Many small business owners don’t realize that they can customize their Facebook profile to create a landing page of their very own creation”
Thats good point. Sadly many people dont use FP pages, they use personal profile for buissnes – thants sad.
People should use FP Pages feature and NOT profiles !
Last week a profile with name “little stone house” wants to be friend with me …. i dont wanna be a friend to concrete 🙂
Thanks for the tips. We are working on building our business, and appreciate the good ideas!
Thanks a lot for the information! Very helpful!
I think facebook and twitter don’t have more SEO benefits but, yes, you can drive huge traffic to your site. So if you have good traffic on your site naturally, Google will give you more weight in SREP. Try to drive visitors with these two most dominated social sites instead of looking for SEO benefits. Popular or more highly trafficked sites automatically give more weightage by search engines.
I think that Facebook can never get as much traffic as Google get. Still it is a good place to get huge traffic by doing proper optimization of Facebook fan pages.
Though FB, Twitter etc gets you social attention due to their popularity, they are still third party, and no way supplement the website that you own.
Do you want something quirky and unique that the only reason people are searching for it are to find you and no one else will be there?I’ve concluded that there’s no right answer-you just need to make a choice.
Nicole M Frierdich
I’m a complete newbie when considering social media but I have done a lot of seo and would like to increase my traffic sources. This looks like an excellent guide to be able to do that and i¡¯ll definitely follow your course.
Nice write up filled with insight and interesting elements !! Thanks for sharing..
Those tips will be very helpful indeed thank you Lisa
Mary J. Richardson
I have been using Facebook personally for some time and now will probably set up Facebook for my business account venture.Thank you for your many ideas on how to do this.
I have been producing key rich like pages and post in facebook all year and I have notice that I am getting some inquires about websites but very few are closing. It appears the customer base is different and I am working to come up with the appropriate selling pitch.