How Facebook Search Could Change the Internet

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facebook search1 How Facebook Search Could Change the Internet

Who cares what Facebook Search would look like? It could change everything…

I know, I know. The current Facebook Search sucks. I agree with you. But there is every reason to believe that if Facebook invests in an actual Search Engine (beyond a “Search of Facebook”), it could change everything we know about Search.

Facebook Search could change the Internet.

It wasn’t until I read an article by Glenn Gabe of Search Engine Journal (Facebook SEO and BeastRank: 12 Potential Ranking Factors for the Upcoming Facebook Search Engine) that I finally saw the light.

Before we go on, read it. I’m not going to recap everything he says. I agree with him on almost every point he makes. Read it…

This… would… be… HUGE.

Separate “Facebook Search” from “Internet Search”


You don’t have to convince me that the current Facebook Search is complete crap. Even that complete piece of crap gets one billion search queries per day. Google gets a little over three billion.

But we need to separate this piece of garbage from the Search product that Facebook has admitted to working on. This isn’t just about finding friends and places and brands.

This is about finding content.

In that way, it’s no different than Google. Facebook search isn’t used for this purpose now. But you know as well as I do that it has an insane amount of data to help determine which websites and pieces of content hold the most authority.

Insane Amounts of Data


Yes, there are one billion Facebook users and 140.3 Billion Facebook friend connections. But let’s think about what those users are doing.

They are sharing articles, videos and photos. Those pieces of content are generating likes, comments and more shares.

Have you ever seen a Facebook Insights Page or Post export? Insane amounts of data. And this is only the stuff Facebook freely lets us see.

Not only are the users telling Facebook which pieces of content hold the most authority, but their actions are telling Facebook which users and brand Pages hold the most authority.

And of course the actions, Pages, friends and interests of a Facebook user all generate a “profile” — both literally and figuratively. And Pages all have their own classifications based on industry and geography.

Facebook knows that I have an interest in Facebook marketing based on my actions. They also know that I respect Mari Smith. They also know that not only do 80,000 people Like her Page, but that countless people engage with her content every single day.

This is an example of how Facebook can therefore weight results based on authority. Not all Likes, comments and shares are created equally. It’s the fact that I and countless other Facebook marketers with “some” authority filter into Mari Smith that proves the authority of her content.

It’s the collection of all of this data that will allow Facebook to determine global authority for websites and web pages. But this search engine could also be heavily influenced by geography, checkins, friends, friends of friends and interests to provide a customized experience.

Not Just About Friends


Sure, Facebook could provide relevant data based on recommendations from friends and friends of friends. But I don’t want to get too hung up on that.

The average Facebook user has about 140 friends, and that just isn’t a large enough sample size to create search results that I’d trust. I don’t have enough friends to feel confident that the answer to every question I have will filter through them.

And I think this is where most people get hung up on the idea of Facebook Search. They think it has to be social or relevant to their immediate circles.

But Facebook could create a search engine that completely ignores my friendships and connections and still create an amazing experience. It doesn’t matter who my connections are when I type “How to make money on Facebook” into the search bar. Facebook has endless data of content that has been shared, liked and commented on to provide relevant results.

Facebook Search and the SEO Industry


Here is one of a few quotes from Glenn Gabe’s article about the impact of a Facebook search engine on SEO that caught my attention:

Depending on the path Facebook chooses to travel with its search algorithm, SEO’s might find themselves neck deep in social activity (or trying to get neck deep in that activity), while social media marketers might hit the ground running and leverage their already strong social skillset.

Hell yes!

If you’re a Facebook marketer, you need to get behind the idea of a Facebook Search Engine. It could set the course for a profitable future.

What Do You Think?


I know we’re programmed to think that Facebook can’t do it. That Google will always be king. And the recent struggles of the now public social juggernaut certainly color our expectations.

I think Facebook can pull off a game changer. How about you?

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About Jon Loomer

Jon Loomer is a digital marketing consultant with a unique perspective on social media. He was introduced to Facebook in 2007 while with the NBA (back before Pages) and has been using Facebook for business ever since. Stay in touch by liking his Facebook Page (Jon Loomer Digital).

  • http://www.facebook.com/giovanni.puglisi Giovanni Puglisi

    Klout index as a SEO lever of relevancy. This could be genius and the end of a multiple struggle for text-to-search recognition

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Yep. Now, I’m not a big Klout guy (at all). But there’s certainly something there. Likes in and of themselves mean nothing. Last thing we need is people inflating those numbers even more. But if established influential people all funnel into the same person time and time again, that means something. It should be easy for Facebook to sort the low-weight (worthless) likes, comments and shares from those that have meaning. I wish Klout would do a better job of that!

  • http://www.facebook.com/DenboTaylor Dennis Taylor

    Would love to see this happen, one of the greatest ways of increasing likes on a small clients page is to find those page owners and businesses local to them. Currently FB’s search function doesn’t quite do this but it would definitely help.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Very good point, Dennis! At minimum, Facebook’s gotta improve the current search functionality. It’s just common sense!

  • http://www.hmtweb.com/marketing-blog/ Glenn Gabe

    Hey, thanks for the mention Jon, and I’m glad you found my post valuable. When you start digging into the possible ranking factors, it’s easy to see how much rich information Facebook has to work with. I covered a number of possible ranking factors, but there are many more. And then Facebook can refine those factors over time to enhance the search results.

    And my quote about social media marketers hitting the ground running is an important one. Many of the traditional SEO factors might not play a role in BeastRank. If that’s the case, then social just became that much more important. Now, there are many SEO’s already heavily involved in social media marketing, but there are definitely some that haven’t taken the plunge yet (not full-force anyway). It could be an uncomfortable situation for those marketers.

    Needless to say, it’s an exciting time to be in digital marketing. :)

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Absolutely, Glenn! This is something that needs to excite any digital marketer. Not just because it could open doors and a whole new job market, but there is serious potential for making search more effective than ever. You know, as long as Facebook doesn’t screw it up.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Lenny

    Holy theories Batman! This discussion is awesome :)

    Def EdgeRank will be part of it but at what extend? How they’ll filter out all the crap pages that enjoy great engagement but lack quality content?

    Facebook has been successful (for now) coming up with all sorts of tricks to stay alive post IPO. Last thing I heard, they are on to Pinterest (http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/08/facebook-collections/)

    Even when they launch a search product it’ll take a long time to have it in shape as it has happened with all other products. Insights are not real time yet, promoted posts rarely hit their promised reach… businesses have not been that interested in adopting check ins, deals and offers above and beyond. This could be the war for the next decade like android and ios :)

    What do we know for now is that whoever pays bigger bucks will be at the top of the list.

    Def thrilled for whats next. Thanks Jon.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Good thoughts, Lenny. I guess it all depends on how long they’ve been working on this. Always possible it’s been a project for the past couple of years already. Only speculation for now. Can’t wait to find out!

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