Why Facebook’s (Secret) Update is kind of Big Deal

Social media and SEO (search engine optimization) have always had a pretty complicated relationship, but now their relationship is starting to become, literally, Facebook official. Facebook has been quietly testing a new addition to its platform: Professional Services (very sneaky, Facebook). The new feature is a business directory that allows users to find businesses in their area based on a single keyword or category search. Facebook populates the results with some basic details about each company, along with their description, address, phone number, and some reviews and ratings. The update comes with a friendly reminder that social media is a pretty crucial part of your search engine optimization strategy.

Social media accounts are already showing up in Google’s search results, and consumers are using their accounts just like any other search engine, but now Facebook is offering a specific search engine to answer a consumer need — to find businesses in their area with particular products or services.

Facebook’s Professional Services page could very well be a big tipping point for social search, so how you prepare and optimize all of your accounts for the social search engine revolution?

Updating your social profiles for social search engine optimization

  1. Customize your URL — If you’re able to pick out a custom URL for your social media accounts — do it! A major function of search engines spiders is to crawl through and index millions of URLs. They identify whether the URL includes a keyword and indexes that URL to populate it when a user searches for that term. Customizing your URL gives you some brownie points with search engines and could boost your rank on the search engine results page. Almost all social channels allow you to customize your URL, but many only let you change it once. We recommend optimizing your URL with your company name.
  2. Use branded profile images — You want your users to have a consistent brand experience no matter where they interact with your business. Using branded cover photos and background images on your profiles ensures that each consumer has a unified understanding of who you are and what you do. The pictures on your social accounts are one of the first things a visitor will see, and you want to give them the best impression of your brand.
  3. Do keyword research — Keywords play an enormous role in every SEO strategy. Do a some research and identify what particular keywords consumers are using to find you and which keywords best describe your products and services. Make a list of the terms you’ve found and incorporate them into your posts, descriptions, hashtags, introduction, biography — wherever they flow (just like you do in your website content).
  4. Enter Your Business Details — Keeping all your business information updated on your social accounts is crucial. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to reach out to a company about their products/services and having the wrong contact information. That information is a big trust factor for consumers and search engines so make sure you plug in your hours of operation, address, phone number and your website address in all of your social accounts. Many of the social platforms have specific locations set aside for all your information, so fill in every field and make sure any consumer can contact you quickly.
  5. Link back to your pages — Google uses the number and quality of your inbound links as a way to rank your site. Linking your social media accounts to your website creates a credible inbound link for your site and even your social media accounts. Spend some time locating where the best place on your site is to share the links to all your social accounts.
  6. Encourage Review & Ratings — Facebook and Google+ allow your customers to give you reviews and ratings right on your social profiles. Encourage your current customers to let the public know what they thought about your products and services. The reviews and ratings boost your trust factor, not only with the channel itself but with consumers reading the reviews as well.

Social media and SEO have always had a connection, but Facebook has created a sense of urgency. Now the connection is growing as each social media channel become more optimized to deliver search results for a user’s keywords. Updating your profiles gets you one step closer to your customers and possibly one spot higher on the results pages.

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