What Facebook’s ‘Graph Search’ means for SEO

News | 17th Jan

Facebook launches its own search engine but after speculation amongst marketers, what does this mean for the digital industry?

Written by Kaye Neylon

Facebook launched itself into the search engine stratosphere yesterday as it announced its Graph Search, an alternative to Google and other similar search engines. The social network giant looks set to dominate more digital space now that they want users to stay glued to Facebook.com where they can satisfy all your search queries. Google who?

While Graph Search is still in the early stages of its Beta phase/waiting list there have been many reviews, one in particular by Steven Levy of Wired.com who explored the story behind Facebook’s bold, compelling and search engine of discovery.

The lack of physical exploration of the fancy new Facebook feature has not dampened the curiosity of marketers around the world. The closet many have been to understanding the algorithms of Facebook has been through third-party apps such as EdgeRank Algorithm which displays data that decides what appears in your newsfeed and comes from search marketing.

The next big question for marketers is just what will it do in terms of SEO value? Jungle explored further.

The sky is the limit with Affinity Algorithms

If you use EdgeRank to gauge how effective your Facebook page is for your business or brand you may have noticed a feature called Affinity. Enter a search query into Facebook and you will end up with a display of search results, the order in which they appear will depend on the affinity that you have to the person connected to that very same content.

Sounds complicated doesn’t it? Well allow us to explain…

The Affinity score index is based on the immediacy to how you are connected you are with a person. If you comment on a Facebook users pictures a lot more then you will begin to see them in your newsfeed more often, and this is the magic of Affinity at work!

The Affinity algorithm perceives this as a signal that you are close to a brand or person and will display the order of your search results in your newsfeed accordingly. Our prediction is that Affinity’s algorithm will play a part in the Graph Search feature.

Lead weight “non-competing” content

The EdgeRank Algorihtm is based on the idea that some content carries “weight” such as levels of interaction and this content is worthy of greater attention in the newsfeed. You may have noticed that a friend’s status which was posted several hours earlier but has a steady stream of likes since it was posted will appear top (or near the top) of your newsfeed, this is thanks to a similar system to Affinity Algorithms.

In terms of Graph Search, you will only be shown one type of content, i.e. videos, photos, restaurants, bars etc. There is no competing content such as that seen in your newsfeed, however don’t count out content weight playing a part in the selection process of your search results.

When you use Graph Search for to find pictures of a friend (let’s call her Emily) in Dubai in 2012, an algorithm will determine what will determine what results are shown to you and in what order. It may not be affinity working its magic because all of the displayed images will be of Emily, however, it would be logical to assume the search result content will carry some weight i.e. photos with lots of shares, likes and comments to appear above photos with less weight.

In the red corner – Google and in the blue corner – Facebook

We would have missed a trick if we wasn’t about to compare the most well known and popular search engine ever created, Google, with the new kid in town. Facebook pips Google to the post as it offers a multi-dimensional view of search.

This USP is very powerful as it gives structured data that Facebook has been collecting for years, data that no one else have access to! A very smart move from Facebook!

Not mobile friendly… just yet!

Currently Search Graph is not available on mobile devices but when it does become available it will be one of the most powerful search moderators, period.

We think Graph Search will be used as more of a super-heightened filter as opposed to a search engine. Google doesn’t have anything to worry about… just yet!

Would you use Facebook as a search engine or do you plan on sticking with Google?


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