One thing that has separated Facebook from Twitter (besides the sensible character limits) has been the degree post from strangers were searchable. On Twitter, searching for public posts has always been a key feature. And with Twitter and Google teaming up to provide live Tweets in search results, it’s clear that SEO and social media are becoming more intertwined. Facebook too has announced some changes to make the social network more search friendly for the users.
“With over 1.5 billion searches per day and over 2 trillion posts in our index, search is an important, long-term effort at Facebook,” wrote Facebook’s Tom Stocky in a recent blog post. “The team’s goal with Search FYI is to share our progress more frequently. When something happens in the world, people often turn to Facebook to see how their friends and family are reacting. Today, we’re updating Facebook Search so that in addition to friends and family, you can find out what the world is saying about topics that matter to you.”
The new plan centers on three major updates to Facebook’s search capabilities. First, it will provide better search suggestions for people using the search box. Besides leading people to their intended search topic, it will also showcase how the search has been improved. When users tap into the search box and start typing, they’ll get timely, personalized search suggestions (presumably based on their interest, clicks and like activity). As they type in the box, Facebook highlights things that are happening right now so people can stay abreast of popular stories as they unfold.
Second, the search results have been expanded with public posts and posts from the user’s friends: When someone searches on Facebook, they’ll now see the most recent, relevant public posts along with posts from their friends. Facebook hopes this will make it easier for people to still keep up with their friends while at the same time expanding the reach of content from other profile and pages.
Facebook says the “search results are organized to help you cut through the noise and quickly understand what the world is saying about a topic in the moment. You also can pull-to-refresh and see the latest public posts.”
One of the biggest changes is the ability to search public conversations with search. Searchers can now look at the public conversations that start when people a link gets shared widely on Facebook.
With one tap, the user can find public posts about a link, see popular quotes and phrases mentioned in these posts, and check out an aggregate overview of sentiment. Facebook says this feature is a first step on a road to more search capabilities.
These changes are important for content producers and business owners that use Facebook to increase the reach of their content or marketing. It increases the value of talking about things that are popular on Facebook because it will increase the chances of people seeing the publically published link or content.
Also, it increases the value of using SEO research (e.g. best keywords) when creating Facebook content since it can now be searched similar to content on Facebook. It’s unclear if this move will be enough to pivot Facebook against the team up of Google and Twitter, but it’s clear that business owners and marketers will benefit as these giants battle.
For more recent news about Facebook, read this article on growth in the display ad market for Facebook and Google.