December 20, 2012

How to optimize your Facebook fan page SEO

7 key ways to push your Facebook page to the top of search engine results

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Facebook administrators. This article appeared at SEOmoz and is republished with permission.

By Nathan Latka
Co-founder, Heyo

There are a lot of rumors going around about the proper ways to optimize your Facebook fan page for the search engines (SEO). Some people suggest using keywords in the filenames of your uploads, and others say you need to have every URL you own linked to your fan page. If you’re anything like me, you don’t particularly have time to sit around and search for a tip here and a tip there, only to find out weeks later that it did you no good.

This post provides a few more tips on optimizing your Facebook page for SEO right now.

Choose the best name for your Facebook page

1This may sound like a no-brainer. However, it’s the most basic step when it comes to optimizing your brand on Facebook, and is also the most important.

There is always the temptation to stuff your fan page name with tons of keywords, like “Bob’s Bakery – Muffins, Bagels, Cookies, Breads – Catering & Events.” In actuality, having a name like this can hurt your viral growth rate inside Facebook. If you appear too spammy, your fans will be less likely to engage with your page, let alone share posts and updates with their friends. In fact, people can even hide your updates from their news feed – the horror!

Don’t be too generic, either. Facebook’s intent behind fan pages is that they represent real businesses, brands, personalities, etc. By choosing something too generic, like Travel, Sports, Fishing, etc., you run the risk of Facebook shutting down your ability to post updates and reach out to new fans.

Quick tip: The first word in your fan page title is given the most weight by Google.

Create a custom fan page vanity URL

Use a brief 140-character description for your fan page so your whole message displays in the search engine’s snippet

2After your fan page has 25 Likes, Facebook gives you the ability to create a unique URL (or usernames as Facebook calls them) for the page. Because URLs are heavily weighted by search engines, it is vital that your fan page URL reflects an aspect of your business.

If, by some misalignment in the stars, you find that another fan page has claimed your business’ name already, make sure to include what your business is about in the URL. You can check out some different username options Facebook offers before selecting your one for your fan page.

Use keywords in strategic locations on your fan page

3Just like traditional websites, keyword optimization is the most fundamental form of on-site SEO. The most important pieces to pay attention to are the About section, Mission, and Company Description, since these areas are actually pulled from your fan page as SEO elements.

Here is an example of how a search engine would index your page:

SEO Title = Your fan page name
Meta Description = Fan page name + the About section of your page
H1 = Your fan page name

To optimize your page for local searches, it is very important to include your address, city, state, and zip. For product-related searches, the Company Overview, Mission, and Products fields should be filled in with your appropriate information.

Quick tip: You may want to consider using a brief 140-character description for your fan page — perhaps similar to your website’s metadata — so your whole message displays in the search engine’s snippet.

Include your phone number and address

4As surprising as it sounds, there are a lot of businesses out there that don’t include this type of info on their fan page. As a majority of your sales may be from online traffic, it can appear to be not quite so important for you to include. But remember, indexing your brand for local search results is crucial to growing your Facebook page.

In addition, Google places higher importance on pages with specific information like your business’s phone number and address. So, pages that include this type of data can effectively increase your brand’s overall SEO.

Backlink to your fan page on existing channels

5The more inbound links to your page, the more authoritative your page is according to Google, and you will be ranked higher. That is why it is very important to bloggers when they have their content linked to from other websites, blogs, etc.

This same principle applies to your Facebook fan page. So, where it is appropriate, include a link to your fan page from your other digital channels, like your website, blog, and Twitter profile.

Optimize Facebook fan page status updates

6When posting updates to your Facebook wall, remember that the first 18 characters of a Facebook post serve as the meta description. So, take advantage of the option when Facebook prompts you to “Write something…” since that text will be considered the SEO title for that update. Including direct links to your small business website in your updates is also a good practice to follow.

Quick tip: Just like your fan page’s name, Google places a higher importance on the first word of your update, so you may want to consider making that a keyword.

SEO for Facebook Notes

7Facebook Notes is something that has been underutilized. When used appropriately, Facebook Notes can provide your fan page with an effective way at increasing your overall SEO. The SEO elements pulled in from Facebook Notes are:

SEO Title = the title of your note
Meta data = Your fan page name wrote a note titled, your note’s title

Facebook Notes gives your page the ability to create multiple “pages” underneath the main fan page. Notes are also a good way to expand on special offers or events that your business is hosting and have them indexed in search engines.

(A note about Notes: Facebook Notes were sort of put out to pasture in late 2001, early 2012 with the advent of Timeline and the new rule that status updates can run as long as 63,206 characters, or about 9,000 words. They’re still there; just follow this convention: https://www.facebook.com/jdlasica/notes)

Bottom line for Facebook fan page SEO

Don’t forget that the overarching objective of Facebook SEO is adding to the value of your overall brand. It is important to pay attention to the comparison between raw traffic and engagement level.

While using the methods above can help boost your search engine results page ranking, the most crucial part is that it coincides with an awesome product and incredible engagement to grow your following.

Nathan Latka is the CEO and co-founder of Heyo.com. SEOmoz is not affil­i­ated with Socialmedia.biz. SEO­moz pro­vides the Web’s best SEO tools and resources.
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