SEO in a Facebook World

Earlier this month, Facebook surpassed Google as the most visited site online for the first time.  The slight edge that Facebook held for the week ending March 13 underscored the importance ofusing social media as marketing tools.  While some experts question whether it is worth optimizing for Facebook and other SNS, it is also to a business’s peril that it ignore these potential resources altogether.

How does a business optimize its Facebook profile?  And why should it?

The why is relatively easy to sum up: Facebook has more than 250 million users according to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.  Studies have shown that users tend to be very loyal to sources they are directed to via Facebook (specifically news sites); networking here, then, is a way to reach far more people, build brand, and spread your message.  In addition, Google and Bing are incorporating hits from social media sites into regular results pages – and people are paying attention. On to the how.

Keywords and URLs. People love being clever, and they especially love turning a witty phrase into the name of their business (Cycloanalysts, a bike shop, is our favorite example).  To get picked up by search engines, though, you’ll want a business name that gives searchers an idea of what they’re looking at.  Don’t overload on keywords, but do make sure the name you choose contains a popular – and related – keyword.  Again, you don’t want to keyword stuff or appear to be doing a hard sell on your page.  Your URL is a great chance to inject your business name or a keyword-rich and related substitute.  Facebook allows businesses with over 25 friends to have a vanity URL.  This will help potential traffic find you. Your URL is not a great place for an in-joke; you want to be direct and reachable for your potential visitors.

Include keyword-rich content whenever you can. You can do this naturally with the About and Info tabs.  These are designed to allow you to tell your visitors about your business, and they also offer an ideal opportunity for providing keyword-rich, relevant content.

Links.  Add as many friends as you can. Each time you do, you have another link that could potentially drive traffic to your page.  Also, don’t forget to plug yourself on your own sites and blogs.  Even better is to have other sites link to you as well, which increases your search engine profile.

Facebook appeals to and is used by a widerange of demographics; there is no reason why businesses should ignore thisresource.

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