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As a content producer or a business owner, Facebook can be extremely valuable because it gives you access to a massive active audience at a single entry point; Open Graph Protocol can help you take advantage of that.
Broadly speaking Facebook’s value is in its network effect (how many people use it):
- 900 Million+ monthly active users
- 526 Million users log in every day
- 125 Billion friend connections
- 3.2 Billion Likes and Comments per day
(Source: Facebook Newsroom, as of March 2012)
Where else can you quickly reach this many people?
How Businesses Currently Use Facebook
With Open Graph protocol best practices web developers are letting out a sigh of relief in that they no longer have to reinvent a business for Facebook. Instead, they can merge the boundaries between their website and Facebook.
Until recently businesses and other content producers focused on connecting with Facebook’s huge audience through “Pages” which have narrow functionality.
To many businesses and other entities such as books, albums and products, re-creating a near copy of your website’s promotional materials and tools just to be present on Facebook seemed redundant.
Doesn’t it seem that connecting with fans to collect “likes” requires a lot of added effort that could be better spent on your website? Regardless, most businesses create their own Facebook Pages just for the sake of reaching out to customers on Facebook.
What is Open Graph Protocol?
Open Graph will help to bridge the gap between a business’ website and Facebook Page, changing the way most businesses use Facebook for the better.
Rather than doubling up efforts on both your website and your Facebook profile (sending messages, posting updates and generating feedback etc.) Open Graph adds your website’s content into Facebook’s social graph in the form of rich objects.
With Open Graph integration your web pages take on a new social function just like other common Facebook features such as profile links and stream updates.
How Does Open Graph Work?
Open Graph protocol is based on the concept of actions and objects:
Actions are the bigger picture “verbs” users do on your site. Traditionally users could only “like” your post, comment, product or link. With Open Graph you can define custom actions (verbs) that users can perform.
Objects are the items users act upon.
These two types of building blocks are then assembled to describe how users interact with your site, for example:
Cook a Recipe: Cook Artichoke & Spinach Dip
Listen to a Song: Listen to Beautiful Day
Read a Book: Read Gone With the Wind
Once you decide the actions and objects you want to establish you can use Facebook’s App Dashboard to add <meta> tags in the <head> sections of your web pages.
These are predetermined tags that describe the object, name of object and other key information. This makes it easy for Facebook to pull the information from your site and make it social.
Will Open Graph Change the Face of Search?
To answer the question of whether you need open graph we should consider the implications Open Graph protocol may have on the web as a whole and how people will search in the future.
Currently Google attracts more traffic than any other website with Facebook coming in second.
However as Open Graph improves search functionality on Facebook we may see Facebook soon rival Google. The search feature within Facebook already drives more traffic to sites for some types of searches despite being an inferior internal search engine to Google. This is particularly true for social searches.
By linking Facebook with the rest of the web, Open Graph is creating Facebook’s own extensive and highly interactive version of a search engine.
What if I Still Want SEO for Facebook?
While the potential for Open Graph protocol SEO is huge the most common way for businesses to connect with users on Facebook are still Pages. This means that it is still important to have a well developed and interactive Facebook Page.
In terms of SEO, here are some basic “best practices” that any Facebook page owner should follow to make their Facebook interactions “more SEO friendly”.
- Create a Vanity URL once you have 100+ fans.
- Make your fan page public so that everyone can find your page when searching
- Include all relevant About information as the description shown in the SERPs is pulled from content in this section.
- Complete your Info section with keyword-rich content so that Facebook can show your page for related searchers performed in its Search menu; also add all your contact information including a link to your website and your business number so that you can drive as much traffic as possible to your website.
- Be mindful of your targeted keyword phrases and try to integrate these into your posts, picture descriptions, status updates and so on.
Remember that links on Facebook are “nofollow” so you won’t be able to build out your own link popularity solely through Facebook.
However, if you share a link to your website on Facebook others can see it and choose to click on it, repost for their friends to see or even add the link to your site on their blog (which can get you a highly coveted natural backlink).
Easy Tips for Promoting and Using Your Facebook Page
There is nothing worse than visiting a company’s Facebook Page to find a post from last Christmas. Nobody likes an abandoned, non social Facebook page!
In conjunction with Open Graph protocol, here are some simple ideas to keep your Facebook page updated and fresh that take as little as 30 minutes a week to keep up.
- Attract new likes by running a promotion giving new fans 10% off their next order or entering them to win a prize.
- Promote every blog article you write plus other articles you find interesting and relevant.
- Find other related groups to connect with Facebook users with similar interests to your business.
- Endorse new or featured products and provide a piece of unique information.
- Encourage followers to ask questions and solicit your expertise.
- Give advice and answer FAQ’s, encouraging followers to give their input as well.
- Post business updates (holiday hours, new suppliers, new services, upcoming sales).
- Share outside resources and videos so you are not just self promoting your business.
- Respond to all comments and posts from your fans.
- Add your Facebook URL to all outgoing email signatures and to your Newsletter campaigns.
What’s Next With Facebook?
There’s no guessing what Mark Zuckerberg has planned for Facebook’s future or how users will adapt their search behaviour with developments of Open Graph protocol.
The best thing is to stay on top of SEOI best practices and be ready for change.
So why not print this article and turn our Facebook SEO Best Practices and Tips for Using Facebook for Business into checklists to work through, and let us help with the Open Graph component?
For help implementing a well-established Open Graph protocol for your website or to learn more about how to grow your business through Facebook, please feel free to contact us:
Call us Toll Free: 1-888-262-6687
Email Us: Open Graph Protocol Consultants
Complete our Form: Request Open Graph Information