In my previous post I was discussing whether Facebook Pages will replace official websites and it is largely matter of an opinion. But let’s face it: right now Facebook Pages are “in”. So, why not make most of it?
Facebook’s newsfeed, invitations, and messages are an useful channel to reach your existing fans and their friends, yet it is possible to even SEO optimise your Facebook Page to reach Facebook’s entire database and search engines. Probably because of the questionable ranking of Facebook Pages in search engines, the platform itself has recently concentrated on offering new opportunities for Page owners to improve their Pages SEO – while creating benefit for Facebook as well of course.
How to SEO optimise your Facebook Page?
To start with, select carefully the keywords you want to implement since all your strategy will be based on those. Read how to select the right keywords here.
1. Use business’s real name as your Facebook Page name – and do not change it
Using too many generic keywords as your Facebook Page name can actually harm your Page’s virality rate inside Facebook. If the title seems too long and suspiciously “spammy”, fans are likely to hide your updates from the newsfeed and not share it with their friends – and if they do, friends are not very likely to “like” you. Picking completely generic page name like “Car” or “Australia” is not a good idea either, because Facebook has lately been disabling updates for generically named Pages.
That is why it is recommended to chose company’s/brand’s real name as the name of the Facebook Page. It should however not be changed, because Facebook uses the Page name in the title, and since search engines ding pages when titles change, changing it can give you a lower ranking.
2. Select optimised, long term URL for your Facebook Page
Facebook offers a possibility to pick a specific URL for your Facebook Page, meaning your Page’s URL becomes www.facebook.com/YourUsernameHere. Once you pick a Facebook URL for your Page, it cannot be changed – so think a proper, long term name. URLs can be selected at www.facebook.com/username.
It is an opportunity to use more generic keywords than the Page name itself or combine the Page name with additional generic keywords, yet there is a black list of generic usernames that Facebook Pages (and users) are prevented from registering. The platform has taken privileges from Pages with generic titles in the past, so it is possible that it might punish too generic sites by for example removing their status publishing rights.
Please note: Your Page has to have at least 100 fans before it can select a username.
3. Use keywords in the “About” text box below your profile picture
The “About” text box is the highest place in the CSS structure of the page to add custom text, because of the limitations of the default Wall tab. To add keywords in your Page’s “About” box, click the “Write something about [YourPage]” in the box below your Page’s profile picture (max. 250 characters).
4. Implement keywords and important links into “Info” tab
Facebook “Info” tab is a possibility to add descriptive metadata about the Page. Completing these fields increases the content score in many types of searches.
- Local searches: Address, City, State, and Post code.
- Product searches: Company Overview, Mission, and Products.
Also, direct links to your own websites or other social media sites increase their traffic and search engine ranking.
5. Create additional “Static FBML” boxes and tabs to include more keyword-dense content on your Page
Adding static text on the default tab of the Facebook Page is quite limited, but there is an app to create additional boxes or tabs that can have any kind of static content such as text, images, and links to increase your ranking. FBML is a subset of HTML and means “Facebook Markup Language”.
How to create a “Static FBML”?
- Go to the “Static FBML” application on Facebook.
- Click “Add to my Page”, and pick the page you want to add additional box or tab to.
- Once done, close the dialog box, go to your Page, and click “Edit page” under your Page’s profile picture.
- Click the pencil icon on the right in the application called “FBML 1″, and choose “Edit.”
- Enter the title you want to call the box or tab in the “Box Title” field (max. 10 characters) and enter the HTML you’d like to use in the “FBML” field. Then click the Save Changes button.
- Once saved, click the “Edit” link at the top of your Page to return to your Page’s application settings. Click the pencil icon next to the name of the FBML application, and choose “Application Settings.”
- To add the FBML as a box, select “Add” next to the Box option and the FBML box will automatically appear on the Boxes tab. If you want to move it to the left side of your Wall tab, go to the Boxes tab, click the pencil icon on your FBML box, and choose “Move to Wall tab.”
- To add the FBML as a tab, choose “Add” next to the Tab option. The custom content will by default appear on its own tab on your Page.
Remember however that search engines classify each tab as a separate URL.
6. Post direct links to your website in your Wall
Google favours the pages that link to relevant sites and does not like pages linking to unrelated sites or adding too many links suddenly. Placing links to your status updates gets them closer to the top of your Page’s CSS structure giving you better results.
There are two ways to post links into your Page’s stream:
- Including the direct URL in the status update – anchor text cannot be controlled, but SEO results are better.
- Using the “attach link” feature in the Facebook wall – anchor text can be changed by clicking the page’s title before clicking “Share” in the Facebook publisher, increasing keyword density.
7. Add events with keyword-dense descriptions, photos with captions…and a discussion forum if possible
Use all available descriptive fields on all the shared content. When posting photos, implement keywords into descriptions. When posting events, use keywords in the event description field. Adding a discussion forum to your Page and posting interesting content your fans can comment, can increase your ranking considerably.
8. Increase amount of inbound links to your Facebook Page by posting links to your Page on your website
Inbound links from authoritative websites to your Facebook Page can improve its search engine ranking. It can be done with text links, a “Find Us On Facebook” badge or a Fan Box widget for Facebook Pages .
9. Increase intra-Facebook inbound links by getting more fans
The default version of users profile pages include links to the Pages they are fan of. These pages are visible for search engines, which means that more fans you have, more inbound links you get.
10. Encourage fans to comment and like your content
Every time fans comment or like content in your Facebook Page, their name is linked back to their Facebook profile page. When your Page is indexed, search engines see more two-sided links between your Page and your fans, which is then interpreted as stronger bond increasing your link weight.
These little Facebook SEO tricks can help you to reach beyond the people your fans are connected to and show your Facebook Page to Facebook’s entire database. They also can increase your exposure through the search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Msn. However, it is good to remember that these tips were created by Facebook to also promote their own platform and increase their platform ranking in search engines. Do not forget to SEO optimise your own site and include various links in Facebook Page directing users to your own official site. Otherwise Facebook can indeed absorb your official website traffic.