(Part 1 of 2)
Facebook Pages are increasingly becoming a “second home page” for businesses online. And while more and more Page owners are learning how to become expert Facebook marketers, Facebook has recently created many new opportunities for Pages to get more traffic through the tried and true methods of – you guessed it – search engine optimization (SEO). While Facebook’s “viral channels” – the News Feed, invitations, and messages – play a central role in the spread of content through Facebook, employing important SEO tactics within your Facebook Page can help your Page reach more and more Facebook fans.
While viral distribution can help you reach people your fans are directly connected to, search engine optimization exposes your Facebook Page to Facebook’s entire userbase. In fact, Facebook itself has taken major steps to improve its own SEO during recent weeks and months, creating opportunities for Page owners to benefit directly while creating value for Facebook at the same time. So, without further ado, here are 10 SEO strategies and tactics every Facebook Page owner should know:
1. Choose the best name for your Facebook Page – and don’t change it Choosing the right name for your Facebook Page is vital. Despite the temptation to stuff your Page title with high value generic keywords – like “Mike’s Travel Agency: Las Vegas, Hawaii, Cancun – Hotels, Flights, & More” – this approach will actually harm your Page’s viral growth rate inside Facebook more than it will help through better SEO. For example, if your page’s title appears too spammy, fans will be less likely to share it with their friends on their profile and more likely to hide your updates from their News Feed. Second, don’t give into the temptation to choose a fully generic page name like “Travel” or “Hawaii.” Because Facebook’s intention for Pages is that they authentically represent businesses, brands, or celebrities, Facebook has recently been disabling updates for generically named Pages – effectively neutering their ability to reach their Facebook fans. The bottom line: use your business’s real name as the name of your page. And once you pick your Page’s name, don’t change it. Facebook uses your Page name in the title of the Page, and since Google dings pages when their titles change, modifying your Facebook Page’s name will cost you SEO points.
2. Select the best URL (Facebook username) for your Facebook Page Facebook recently launched the ability to choose a vanity URL (Facebook calls it a “username”) for your Facebook Page, one of the most important SEO opportunities on Facebook to date. When you choose a Facebook username for your Page, your Page’s URL becomes http://www.facebook.com/YourUsernameHere. Usernames can be selected at http://www.facebook.com/username. Facebook usernames present a better opportunity for businesses to consider incorporating generic keywords for SEO purposes than the Page name itself. While Facebook has created a black list of generic usernames that Pages (and users) are prevented from registering, there are still opportunities for businesses to obtain relatively generic usernames, or usernames that combine their actual name with additional generic keywords. However, we do offer a word of caution when incorporating generic keywords in your Facebook Page URL: Facebook intends for Pages to authentically represent the identities of businesses, and brands and has revoked privileges from Pages with generic titles in the past, so it’s not unfathomable that Facebook might somehow punish Pages with generic usernames by similarly revoking status publishing rights (or at least the username itself) at some point in the future. The safest option – and wisest long term bet in our view – is to choose a username that authentically represents your business or brand. For example, we chose http://www.facebook.com/InsideFacebook. Once you pick a Facebook username/URL for your Page, it cannot be changed – ever. So pick a username you’re going to be comfortable with and confident in for the long term. One important note: in order to mitigate Facebook username squatting, Facebook requires that your Page have at least 100 fans before it becomes eligible to select a username. If your Page has less than 100 fans, you’ll need to recruit more fans before being able to take advantage of this important SEO strategy.
3. Use the “About” text box to place keyword-dense prose near the top of your Page One important SEO strategy that should be employed on your Facebook Page whenever feasible is placing keyword-dense prose as close to the top of the Page as possible. Because Facebook limits where Page owners can place large chunks of text on the default Wall tab of Facebook Pages, the “About” box actually represents the highest place in the CSS structure of the page to add custom text. In order to add text to your Page’s “About” box, click the “Write something about [YourPage]” in the box underneath your Page’s profile picture. You’ll then be able to enter custom text in the input box – there is a 250 character limit, so choose your words wisely.
4. Use the “Info” tab to include more important keywords, text, and high priority links on your Page Facebook creates an “Info” tab for every Facebook Page that has fields containing important descriptive metadata about the Page. It’s important to fill out these fields, because they provide the opportunity to include keywords, prose, and links that will increase the content score of your Facebook Page for many types of Google searches. For example: •Address, City, State, and Zip code are important fields for local searches •Company Overview, Mission, and Products are important fields for product searches •Websites is a valuable opportunity to add direct links to your own websites or other relevant sites in your space The specific fields present will vary according to the category you choose for your Page when you create it (business, brand, or public figure), so choose the category that best fits your needs.
(Part 2 to follow)