Social media and SEO: Keys to optimizing Facebook

It’s about more than just keywords…

As search and social media move closer together, it’s important that you know how to optimize your social media activity, whether it’s on your own site or within a social media platform. Search is one of the main ways people will discover your content, along with word of mouth and organic growth through social technologies.

To help you get the most out of your activity, here is a guide focused on Facebook to help you make the most of the free tools, tips and tricks available.

Keywords in updates

This is something that may be obvious, but it is one of the most important things to remember when creating content on your Facebook page. Whether you’re updating permanent content, such as the copy you write on your info tab or page description, or writing fresh content through wall posts, focus on consistently using keywords that you want to be found for, both within Facebook’s internal search and in external search engines. Try to focus your keywords instead of just chucking in random words ad hoc. For the permanent copy, focus on a few keywords that are important to you and structure these within the copy without keyword stuffing.

When it comes to updates on your page, think about keywords that are more current or topical, as this is particularly important for showing up within Facebook’s internal search. You want people to find your posts after making topical searches within the site, because it brings in a potential new audience. Don’t be afraid to be explicit here. If you have something to say about a particular news story, include the keywords that you would expect people to search for. This is the same logic that journalists apply when writing news stories for the Web. Keywords need to be in headlines to help search engine optimization (SEO), and the same goes for your Facebook updates.

Edit links to include keywords

When you post a link on a profile or a page, you have the option to edit the text that is automatically pulled in. Do this by clicking on the text before you post the update, which you can do for both the article’s headline and description:

This gives you another chance to add keywords to your post, and it helps in internal Facebook searches. When you run a search on Facebook, the results pull in link headers and descriptions, so it’s important to include links here to give yourself every chance of being found.

Add links on the Info page

The info section of your page provides a great opportunity to send out links to your website, or even to your own Facebook page if you decide to link to tabs off the page. Linking in this way is obviously more about SEO than user experience, but it’s a good way to generate links to your page. You can do this within the website section of the info tab. Add as many links as you can to subsections such as products, contact info, and offers.

Focus on the ‘About’ box

Though you are limited to the copy you can write on the main tab within your Facebook page, there is a handy “About” box that enables you to include both copy and links. Many say this box is the most important part of your page’s CSS structure. You can edit the text by simply clicking on the pencil icon next to it when you’re on the wall page:

Choose a description that contains the keywords you want to be found for, as well as a link, ideally one that includes a keyword, as this is an important SEO factor for your page.

Keywords in your page name

Again, this may seem obvious, but it’s important to understand why you need to include links in your Facebook page name and vanity URL. Every time someone “likes” your page, Google will see a link to your page from that person’s profile. If the link includes keywords that you want to rank for, this will help you rank for that keyword. Think about the pages that have hundreds of thousands of fans, and the importance of including a keyword within your page URL or name is clear.

Descriptions on all pieces of content

If you’re uploading large photo albums to the page or regularly posting videos, it’s tempting just to post the images and leave it at that. But every image that you post creates a new sub page off your Facebook page and another chance to include relevant keywords. Make sure you write a description for each photo that follows a standardized format, such as, “The latest from the Hilton Hotel in London: The best hotel food around.” Following this structure will force you to focus on a few keywords that are mentioned regularly, rather than a selection of keywords that stand on their own.

Add a link to photos

In addition to including keywords in your photo descriptions, you can also add links. This is an incredibly useful way to generate more-relevant links from your Facebook page to your website, or to the Facebook page itself. Creating inbound links within the page will help the Google ranking. To do this, simply write your website URL in the photo’s description. Facebook will hyperlink it for you. Unfortunately you can’t use anchor text here:

Tag pages in posts

When you’re posting an update to your page, think about whether it’s worth linking to another page. This could be beneficial for two reasons. First, it adds another link on your page or update, and we know that Google likes links. But it also adds your post onto that other page’s wall, which creates an inbound link to your page. You may think that this is a bad practice as it potentially takes people away from your page, but it also increases the chances of someone’s finding your page through another group.

Follow best practice in posts

If you have an active fan page, your page will show up higher in a user’s newsfeed. If Facebook’s algorithm can recognize that people are responding well to your page—such as leaving comments and liking posts—it will see it as genuine content that’s worth promoting. Just as running a good Facebook page is important for the overall user experience, it’s important for search as well. Little things like posting questions that invite discussion will naturally encourage more people to take part and leave a comment, which will boost your Edgerank.

Point ads to your Facebook page

If you’re running an ad campaign on Facebook, direct these ads to your page rather than to an external website. This will help your SEO efforts. While this provides a valuable user experience—people are more likely to stay engaged with your brand if they stay within Facebook—it also generates two further opportunities to create links to your page. If the ad is successful and someone ends up “liking” your page, you have created additional inbound links through the initial wall post (Lauren Fisher likes xyz page) as well as a permanent link within that user’s profile. The SEO value here is significant enough to consider switching your ad strategy if your ads are not currently taking people to your page.

Be consistent with links

Building up external links that point to your Facebook page is important for your search engine ranking. But rather than haphazardly putting links wherever you can, try to be strategic about it. For all the assets you can control or influence—linking to your page from your website, email signature, company LinkedIn pages/profiles, etc.—make sure the links are consistent through the anchor text. Make sure that you use the same anchor text that includes keywords you want to rank for, such as “Simply Zesty—social media agency.” This will ensure that you will begin to rank for the keywords and that Google will recognize the relevance of the anchor text to the name/content of your page.

Always link to the main page

If you’re running a promotion on Facebook, it’s likely that you’re going to link to this from a lot of different places, and include a link to the promotion in emails to bloggers or in press releases. The best practice for this is to make the link your standard page—such as facebook.com/simplyzesty—and choose the landing tab as your promotional or campaign tab. Once the promotion is over, you will probably remove the tab and the links won’t be of any use, neither to users that might stumble across them, nor to search engines.

Lauren Fisher is one of the founders of Simply Zesty, where a version of this article originally ran.

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