Depending on your perspective, Facebook might be an annoying waste of time, an essential part of daily life or a tool to be used for influence and profit. All three are important, in their own ways. Consider those who deem Facebook to be a waste of time; they don’t use the platform much, so when they do, it’s an important action. The second group, who use Facebook constantly, form the primary audience a business caters to on the platform. The third group, of course, are the businesses using the platform to grow. Facebook, to that third group, is great to help appeal to the search engines. Google doesn’t directly pay attention to the minor social signals – Likes, in this case – but it does index your public pages. This is the start of a wide circle of influence provided by Facebook.
1. Your Facebook Page is an Indicator of Trust
Think about Internet use from the perspective of a user who frequently uses Facebook. If they are exposed to an interesting ad or are otherwise attracted by your content, they may be enticed to convert. One thing they may check before they decide to convert, however, is the trust of your business. Now, the standard consumer isn’t going to go to consumer reports or the Better Business Bureau unless they have no other alternative. No, they’re going to check the metrics that they find most useful. In this case, they’ll look for your Facebook page. On your Facebook page, they’ll check for your number of followers, how well it’s all laid out, how many positive comments you have and any negative reviews users have left. If they find anything that feels off or looks out of the ordinary, they’re going to look somewhere else. How does this tie into SEO? A more trustworthy page will gain a larger audience, which will increase traffic to your blog and user engagement. All of this, of course, grows your home site. Traffic and trust are SEO indicators, so improving them through Facebook will improve your general site ranking.
2. Your Facebook Page Attracts a Second Audience
For the most part, you are going to try to keep one consistent audience. The users who find your site through its blog will be encouraged to follow you on Facebook. Likewise, the people who find your business through Facebook will be encouraged to visit your main site. Still, though, there are those two different sources of traffic, and some users will fail to move from one to the other. You have two largely – but not entirely – overlapping audiences. Again, traffic plays a significant role in SEO. When you have more users, you have more visible utility as a site, and consequently more authority in your niche. Of course, a smaller audience can beat out a larger one if they’re more engaged and do more with your site. It’s up to you to encourage all of the engagement actions that keep your site visibly popular and useful.
3. Your Facebook Ads Follow Them Home
Have you heard of Facebook ad retargeting yet? If not, you should really investigate the concept. For a brief primer, and how it helps your SEO, consider this:
- A user is attracted to your site through an ad or a piece of content, either on your site or off-site. They visit, they look around and they see what your business is all about.
- The user likes your site and expresses interest in your products, generally by visiting certain product pages, though they may go so far as to add something to their cart before leaving.
- They leave, unfortunately, before they finish their purchase. Traditionally, you have no way of following them and bringing them back for a second look. With retargeting, however, you’ve put a tracker on them and can follow them home.
- Home, in this case, being Facebook. Your retargeting tracker tells you which users have expressed interest but failed to convert. Now you can serve targeted ads to these people, reminding them of the products they were about to buy, giving them another chance to convert. Chances are fairly good they’ll come back and do just that, increasing your conversions.
As users return to your site through your ads, they further increase your traffic and engagement numbers, which factor into SEO.
4. Your Facebook Page Increases Engagement and Discussion
A large part of SEO is building a valuable resource for users. Resources bring in people, and people bring with them passions and desires. These passions and desires spur discussion, both on your Facebook page and in your blog comments. This discussion can be guided and shaped by your content and comment moderation. Once again, with increased engagement comes higher SEO. Engaged customers also spur further trust in a visible way. Active comments and discussion helps newcomers feel like they’re part of an established group, not a new business scrounging for a few people to scam. Trust is power. People are SEO.
5. Your Facebook Apps are Endlessly Valuable
Ah yes, Facebook apps. You can do just about anything with a Facebook app. In fact, these days, you need a Facebook app to do just about anything. What does that mean? Well, in the past, you were free to run contests on your Facebook page. You could post a simple status and tell people to post pictures along a certain theme for a prize, or whatever other contest you had in mind. Now, you need to use a Facebook app to run any contest, as per Facebook’s page guidelines. Facebook apps are valuable for data harvesting and marketing as well. Run a simple contest with a Facebook app and you can ask all sorts of information from your users. The standard format is to ask for a Like and then harvest some data, such as contact information or basic demographics. You build an instant library of useful information, and your users have a chance to win a product or prize. Apps can do all sorts of other neat things, including forwarding users to content or conversion processes on your website itself. Once more, it all comes back to users; more users means more SEO metrics in all the right ways.
Bonus: Facebook and Black Hat SEO
Facebook disallows many of the techniques used by black hat SEOs. This isn’t all that important for a legitimate business, but it does have one benefit; you won’t accidentally do something that can earn you a penalty. It’s a simple bit of protection that lets you engage users safely and without worry.