This is a guest article contributed by Richard Larson.
Facebook represents a fantastic marketing opportunity for any business via shares & referrals, however, just like WordPress and other platform based user sites, it’s critical to incorporate SEO strategies into your Facebook pages in order to get exposure out of them. Here are 7 Facebook SEO strategies to make sure your Face is getting the amount of Book it deserves!
Whether you are setting Facebook up for yourself or for a client it’s important to keep SEO strategies in mind. According to Google, they aren’t actually looking at Facebook “shares” as a separate part of their ranking algorithm, but traffic is traffic.
The number one thing to remember with Facebook shares: Their marketing value resides in the fact that they are coming from a reputable source; from someone known to, and respected by, the person on the other end. This invests the shares with clout and makes them very valuable. Make no mistake, Facebook is a marketing tool but nothing a business puts on their Facebook Wall should ever break that kind of trust. Period.
For businesses, Facebook is a delicate dance between, “be my friend” and “pay me money.” Always difficult, in the Facebook world it is critical to fall on the side of plushy slushy soft sell. This is why SEO strategies for Facebook are important. SEO by its nature lies behind the scenes and therefore customers can’t possibly interpret it as marketing.
1. Choose a Great Facebook Page Name
Back up; choose a great business name. Not too spammy, not too generic. Something descriptive and easy to remember. If it’s too generic Facebook might blacklist the name. Once you have a name, don’t change your page name. Once established, keep it and brand it. Renaming isn’t ever a good idea from an SEO perspective.
2. Facebook URL Names Are Also Important
Facebook now allows vanity names so make sure to add one if you can. The URL won’t exactly be yours but www.facebook.com/justcreativedesign is a lot better than www.facebook.com/11586454. DavesGarden is interesting, theirs is: http://www.facebook.com/davesgardencom. As long as the user name incorporates one of the terms related to your business you now have a URL that is searchable. It’s important to know that Facebook requires 100 fans before you can pick a username, of which you can then do by going to http://facebook.com/username
3. Use Keyword Rich Text to fill out the “About” and “Info” Sections of Your Facebook Page
This will place searchable terms near the top of the Facebook page in the CSS. These are small areas so refine the elevator speech! In addition, make sure to include address information so that the page will pop up on local searches- a favorite of Google’s. In the info section also add links to your website.
4. Make Facebook Picture Descriptions Count
Facebook is a visual medium. Facebook will change titles on photos but descriptions live on. Use keywords as often as possible. Read each description from two angles- once for your customers and once from a computer’s angle. “Jack and Jamie enjoying the Keys on their 40th” could as easily be: “Luxury Florida Keys Bash by Private Jets Charter for Jack and Jamie’s 40th.” Both descriptions are better than “Jack and Jamie at their 40th Party.”
As a side note, give your clients an extra reason to stick with you as a designer by showing them how they can get lots of free advertising if they structure online promotional campaigns properly. For example, Private Jets Charter could offer a Groupon for birthday parties/events, get the event for the couple, encourage them to advertise the party through Private Jets Charter’s website and Facebook page (where everyone can easily get directions to the plane) and then provide/post pics of the party (with permission) afterwards using keyword descriptions. These photos will be strongly shared and each time they are, the words in the photo description, “Private Jets Charter, luxury, Florida Keys” are racking up ranking points.
Moreover, as the designer, you will likely get extra design work out of the process. Great designers always need to show ways in which their creativity in invaluable to their clients. With better and better templates and platforms around it’s critical that designers venture not only into SEO but also into marketing. These are two things that a customer can’t buy ready made or download for free.
Above is an example of descriptive text and URL slipped into Facebook code.
5. Use Keywords in Your Facebook Status Updates
Updates provide a great place to include your keywords and increase visibility. This is also the place to drive traffic to your own website. Never forget that one of your primary objectives for having a Facebook page is to drive traffic back to your website where you and not Facebook can take advantage of the traffic.
When you “attach link” FB gives you the opportunity to edit the text by clicking on the box. Include keyword-enriched text as early as possible. (Be aware that FB will channel this link through their own menu bar so this isn’t going to get you a direct link.) Next, include the URL of your website. Third, don’t put everything on Facebook. Instead provide an interesting enticing bit that will make people want to read more and make it clear that they can do this on your website.
6. Use Notes and Discussion Boards On Facebook
The content on both of these is indexable. Notes and the Discussion Boards are indexable and therefore they can make for great SEO. In addition, some people just use Facebook and do almost nothing else online. Using a discussion board gives you a way to reach this group of people. It’s important to note that automatic pull in of blog posts are now being phased out of Facebook.
7. Include Shares & Likes on your websites
Although not directly SEO, you should include Facepage shares and likes into all of your websites. Also, take some time to stay on top of the Facebook Developers news. The developers page is also a great place to come up with new ideas about how to monetize the platform and get the most out of Facebook.
In summary, use Facebook as effectively as you can by paying attention to SEO. Take the time to use the above suggestions and then compare and track the changes in your FB code (Available to anyone for any page by viewing “source code” in your browser). Over time, graph long term changes in your traffic to see if the extra time and energy is really paying off.
More SEO related articles:
- 10 SEO Rules for Designers
- 9 SEO Tips You’ve Probably Forgot About
- How to Get Free Advertising on Google
- Designing Websites with SEO & Conversions In Mind
*Author: Richard Larson is Brand Manager for Go Promotional the leading promotional items supplier online.