Facebook SEO Part 3: (New) Pages

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Admittedly, this post is less “Search Engine Optimization” and more “New Page Structure.” But if your SEO tools and tricks are rusty, go back and read SEO for Facebook Groups or SEO for Facebook Events to get a better handle on using keywords to improve not only your Facebook search rankings, but your organic results as well.

Facebook SEO in a nutshell: include keywords, post content frequently and think synonyms.

Navigating the New Facebook Pages

Facebook Pages recently underwent a major overhaul, bringing them more inline with personal profiles and breaking a lot of the barriers formerly encountered by business pages. Ostensibly, these changes are meant to help users connect better with their favorite brands and streamline the Facebook experience, but they also benefit the brands and businesses on Facebook—especially from a marketer’s perspective.

However, as with all Facebook changes, there is an adjustment period where people are confused or annoyed by the shift and people stop using the changed portions of the site. Many will peek at the new Pages, cringe, and come back in a few weeks after playing with the album app for awhile.

Believe it or not, this is good news if you don’t have a Facebook Page yet, or have a kind of “eh” one right now. This is the perfect time to blow the competition away with a better-than-ever-before-possible Facebook Page that makes use of all the new features and functionality, instead of just trying to retrofit your old page to the new system.

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Facebook Pages have been and will continue to be indexed by search engines; this means that unlike Facebook Groups and
Facebook Events, your Page will be visible in Google search results and can be viewed by people who do not have a Facebook account. So, make sure you’re applying your SEO knowledge and including keywords in your content, both for Facebook and overall organic search.

In other words, even if you don’t think that Facebook is a perfect fit for your company, it can’t hurt to set up a Page and put in a little effort. If nothing else, think of it as part of your overall SEO strategy.

The Original Facebook Pages

If you’re new to Pages, this will get you up to speed: Facebook Pages were created as a response to Facebook’s belief that personal profiles were for individual people and business accounts should be kept separate. Originally, Facebook Groups housed big brands, but they did not provide enough interactivity for users and were (still are) easy to set up, spam and scam.

So, Facebook created Pages, the supported and favored method for creating a brand presence on Facebook. As such, they have been adopted by both major and minor players and continue to be revamped and improved, as evidenced by the recent switch to a more profile-like look. Groups have not seen any significant changes or improvements since their inception. If there’s any doubt in your mind that you want a Page and not a Group, read this post on Pages vs. Groups before continuing.

If you created a Page before the switch, or are familiar with Facebook in any capacity, you probably know what the old Pages looked like. The “old” Pages were markedly different than profiles and more closely resembled a very basic one-page website. All the elements were front and center, causing your eye to dart around the Page and often miss the main message while a multitude of boxes jockeyed for attention.

The New Facebook Pages

There really are too many options, applications and means of promoting and using a page to take a simple step-by-step approach to explaining how to setup a new Page; the best way is to go in, experiment and see what makes sense from a user’s perspective.

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But, there are a few things to consider and remember, so make sure to take note and utilize these cool new (and old) features.

Multi-Page Tabs

Facebook Pages now use Tabs, just like Profiles. This creates an excellent hierarchy of information and allows Fans to absorb information more effectively by browsing through different “pages” of the Page, almost like a website.

Why are Tabs so exciting? First off, it gives users more to look at and allows less room for confusion or information overload; if they click the Photos Tab, that’s all they’re looking at, whereas before, Photos was just another box in a jumbled one page spread.

Each Tab also has its own unique URL, a carryover from Profiles that you may or may not have noticed; it’s much less important to be able to direct people to your favorite movies than to current promotions. You can also choose where Fans and non-Fans get sent when they click on your Page name; this helps you provide relevant information to existing Fans while also persuading potential new ones.

Moveable Boxes

The wonderfulness of moveable boxes and Page elements has not been fully explored by a lot of people, but there is great picture-5potential here if you don’t mind a little daily maintenance. With the addition of Tabs and the switch to a Profile-based layout, Pages now allow you to add and move application boxes at will (for the most part). Some don’t fit in the narrow column or cannot be made their own Tab, but for the most part, you have free reign to design the layout of the elements of your Page.

The other great thing about being able to move elements around is that you can position different things based on timeliness or importance. You can feature a contest one day, sale the next and new photos another. This keeps the page refreshing for Fans, with minimal effort from you. Now, less important details can be relegated to the bottom of the Page, allowing you (and your Fans) to focus on the good stuff.

Applications

People are familiar with Facebook Apps by now, and not too much has changed; there are a lot of options and now, with the ability to add Tabs and move stuff around, there’s even more reason to try a few new ones.

Remember, this isn’t MySpace, but you can get creative with some HTML Apps. Other ones to add: Notes, Links and Blog RSS Reader. Use both Notes and Blog RSS to pull your posts into Facebook; Notes will automatically update your feed for you. Links can be used to publish other content on your site, and Blog RSS Reader is a nice visual addition because it looks like a mini-version of your blog.

Prominent News Feed

The Enhanced Wall more closely aligns a Page with a Profile and encourages a lot more user interactivity. In the old Page layout, the Wall took a backseat to various promotional elements and usually required a lot of scrolling to find. Now it is front and center and the landing page for Fans (and non-Fans, if you so choose).

Along with a more visible presence, the Wall also acts more like a Profile Wall now as well and will update Fans feeds when you post something new. In return, when a Fan posts to the Page’s Wall, their Friends will be notified.

You also have the option to set up a Stream Tab that will contain only the Page’s own posts, while keeping Fan posts and comments on the Wall.

Lots to take in, I know, but remember, everyone is adjusting and playing around with the new layout and functionality. So, if you master it before your competitors, you could be the cool kid on Facebook. At least until the next round of updates.

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