Facebook Social Search Factors and Continued Integration with Bing

Article by: Matt Polsky

On Tuesday, Facebook announced the third pillar of its social network – search.

This internally-focused social search engine, known as Graph Search, uses people’s likes, connections, location, experiences and pretty much anything shared on Facebook to provide what looks to be an effective local search, or product/service recommendation engine.

Facebook’s User Intent

Once you sign up and are accepted in the beta, your search bar will be transformed into a bolder look and give you the ability to search for a wider variety of things, filtered by your personal connections.

This is no Google search – leveraging links, content quality and freshness – but utilizing the numerous amounts of personal data provided users and returning results based on the connection to the object you are searching.

For example, I’m looking for a new book and want to know what my friends have currently read or recommend, so I go on Graph Search and type in “books my friends like” or make it a bit more targeted and go with “books liked by people who like SEOmoz and follow Danny Sullivan.”

In addition to unique search queries, another particularly remarkable feature that caught my eye was the ability to search for photos. Surprisingly, this hasn’t been a feature in the past, but through this, you can search for photos by likes, comments, location, year or a mix of any of the previous.

Moving from books, media and consumer products, Graph Search has major potential for local search. With this platform, users can see recommendations on where to eat, shop or find services like dentists, plumbers or automotive repair – almost building a personalized mix of Yelp and Foursquare, producing a local recommendation engine from friends, check-ins and likes.

Increasing Visibility in Graph Search

By now, you are probably considering how to make sure your business is the one that is seen by searchers. Well, there’s a few things to consider when optimizing your pages.

If Facebook wants you to produce queries like “French restaurants in New York that my friends have been to and like” then it’s easily deduced that likes, check-ins and location information are put into their algorithm.

To break it down, if someone searches “French restaurants in New York” then local data from pages and connections will be pulled. Or, if the query is “French restaurants my friends have been to” then check-ins will be a primary factor. Lastly, if someone searches “French restaurants my friends like” then a like would be a main aspect.

For businesses, their Page is the most controllable and the easiest to optimize. Luckily, Facebook was kind enough to provide three specific tips for business owners, that include the following (directly from the post here):

  • The name, category, vanity URL, and information you share in the “About” section all help people find your business and should be shared on Facebook.
  • If you have a location or a local place Page, update your address to make sure you can appear as a result when someone is searching for a specific location.
  • Focus on attracting the right fans to your Page and on giving your fans a reason to interact with your content on an ongoing basis.

Beyond Facebook's recommendations, allocating an advertising budget to get likes, check-ins and engagement would be a wise idea. Likes and engagement are fairly easy to produce through advertising; however, you may want to consider more innovative ways of getting the check-ins.

Where Bing Fits In

According to a blog post from Derrik Connell, Corporate Vice President of Search at Bing, Facebook and Microsoft worked together to provide an integrated service between Graph Search and Bing – making sure that Facebookers could still have a great user experience, even if they don’t have enough connections to fill their search request.

With this being the case, users that do a web search on Facebook will see a two-column layout that shows Bing results on the left most column and Facebook pages and apps relevant to the search on the right.

Graph Search remains in its very early stages right now, but the types of searches this allows is simply mesmerizing, making this a true platform to keep up with and possibly helping Bing gain market share in a niche reigned predominately by Google.

What do you think about this new social search engine?

Copyright 2018 MattPolsky.com