So, is Facebook SEO a real thing? Or just a waste of time?
Google now consumes Twitter content and displays it in search results when appropriate.
So, it fits that Google might treat Facebook the same way, right?
Seriously, not at all. Facebook is useless for SEO.
Not only is there no real evidence that Google is indexing or using Facebook for search results, Google has outright said they aren’t doing it.
Plus, it doesn’t really even make sense for Google to try.
Facebook is Not About Quality Content
Facebook is awesome. In particular, it’s awesome at hosting one-sided debates between friends and family about all kinds of meaningless crap. (Maybe I spend too much time on Facebook).
We share feline GIFs, stay up to date on weddings, breakups, sex and political content (all fun) — but we don’t go to Facebook for answers. At least not unbiased answers.
Really we go to Facebook to be with friends and to get social support and fulfillment. We don’t use Google for that.
So, why would Google want to index anything from Facebook? Google is most interested in quality content.
There have been a few theories:
Facebook Likes Might Indicate Good Content?
Well, not really. Facebook pretty much limits content to you and your existing connections. It’s really likely that your friends on Facebook will like what you like.
That’s not a great unbiased indicator of content quality.
Facebook isn’t like Twitter. Twitter is out in the open; it’s a broadcast medium.
Facebook is a hushed conversation just between you and other members of your clique.
Company Pages & Groups
Many companies are using Facebook pages to keep in contact with group members and customers. Your company wall is a great way to stay in touch with your customer base after all.
Again though, there’s little to indicate to a search engine that the content on this page would be either interesting or applicable to the outside world. Just to your fans.
If I were a search engine I’d skip this too.
Side note: In general, Facebook pages are a waste of time for inbound marketing teams, but an excellent communication channel for service teams and customer retention.
Facebook Ads on the other hand — those are a great marketing opportunity if you can make it work. But, that’s not something Google is going to index either (for reasons below).
Ah, well… okay. You have me here. Offers and events might *actually* be useful to the outside world.
Assuming the content was in a digestible and easy to access format for Google to index and rely on.
In general, Facebook content might be interesting to you and me as fans of a company, or to communicate with our friends, but it generally isn’t great content or metadata for a search engine.
There are some other problems too:
Facebook and Google are Competitive
Both Facebook and Google want ad clicks. That’s how both sites make money. So they are, in fact, competing.
I’m not talking about Google Plus (no one is); Google Search itself is just an advertising platform.
Unless there is a compelling reason for Google to index Facebook in terms of valuable content that might bring in more ad revenue they aren’t going to do it.
When all else fails, follow the money. There’s no financial or competitive reason for Google to index Facebook.
Base Facebook SEO is a Mess
In terms of interface, I have to give the Facebook team credit. It’s super friendly and easy to use. For people.
But in terms of HTML and content being organized in a way for search engines to crawl and index… ICK.
For kicks and giggles, I decided to turn the WriteAnalytics Webcrawler at the SurveyGizmo Facebook page and see what happens. The result was… messy. Our indexer might need therapy to fully recover.
Our crawler was able to index the content, but the site didn’t give many clues about which content was most relevant, important or to whom. It was useless. All of it.
In terms of on-page SEO, Facebook sucks – and they give you no control over it. Actually, it’s the poster child for “don’t do it this way” in terms of SEO.
Use Facebook For Advertising, Not SEO
In short, Facebook doesn’t seem to care that Google (or any other engine) can’t crawl its content well.
On the other side, Google doesn’t seem to care (or have a reason to care) about the content on Facebook (even on your company page).
So, please, don’t waste another minute thinking about “Facebook SEO.” It’s not a thing.
Instead, use Facebook appropriately for what it does best: advertising.
Facebook is amazing for B2C (and a few B2B) companies to get in front of consumers with advertising. It’s got detailed (freaky detailed) metadata on everyone you can use for targeting.
Focus your inbound marketing efforts on that. At least you’ll have a chance at a positive ROI.