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Add the Like Button, Get on the Social Graph

June 8th, 2011 | | Social Media & SEO, Uncategorized

I’m sure you’ve been on your Facebook feed in the recent past, only to see it dominated by one person liking everything from such intellectual topics such as existentialism, to the less intellectual Jersey Shore, and even such activities necessary to survival, such as breathing. And, like me, I’m sure you had a good laugh and blew it off. But I’m here to tell you that if you aren’t using the Facebook Like with your website, you are doing it wrong!

Get a Facebook Like or you're doing it wrong.

Integrating a “like” button into your website is integral to SEO success, since Facebook is now entering the search market with its Open Graph Protocol, and some are considering Facebook to be the only competitor to Google in terms of search marketing. So, in order to tap into this potential stream of traffic from Facebook, you need to integrate Open Graph Protocol into your site. In the following paragraphs, there will be a brief description of Open Graph Protocol, as well as a brief mention of potential strategies to employ in order to utilize your Facebook page.

To start, Facebook is moving in the direction of a social search engine. Suffice to say, without me throwing out glaring statistics at you, that Facebook is no fad. It is here to stay, and it is only going to get larger. And it is innovating, especially in the realm of search engines. Many sites now, such as the ones listed in the introduction (I don’t want you to click on Jersey Shore more than you have to), are listed on Facebook and have the ability to be “liked.” And it works the other way as well—websites frequently have “like” buttons attached to them, linking you to their Facebook profile. This is all old news, I know, but its necessary to know the stakes—Facebook is a new market for SEO marketers, and here is how to do it.

In order to optimize your page for Facebook, you have to enable Open Graph Protocol in your coding. The Open Graph Protocol then allows you to define four properties in your meta tags—title, type, image, and canonical URL. In addition, there are also other entries that aren’t required, but highly recommended, such as location, contact info, object types, and content descriptions. For instance, from here is what an entry for the movie “The Rock” would look like, via IMDB, in its meta tags:


As you can see, the movie has identified itself as “movie,” given a title, supplied an image to go with the title, and at the bottom has given the option content description. Additionally, you can add as many og: tagged properties as you want to tailor your Facebook page, which is recommended but may be more time consuming. All you need to start this process is access to your html code, or your clients coding, and voila, you have a Facebook page. In order to add the “Like” button to your website off of Facebook, it once again is simple after the meta tags have been changed like above. According to the Open Graph page, all you have to do is add a Like button with either an iframe, a JavaScript SDK fb:like XFBML tag, like so:

Now, moving on past the technical side, the major advantage of this “Like” button is that it is in some degree replacing the Link, in terms of SEO jargon. The more people that “like” your page on Facebook, the more relevant your Facebook page will be to particular searches in the Facebook platform. Basically, imagine Facebook as another search engine to optimize for, with its own strategies and tactics, since in many senses it is very different from the major search engines. So how do you get “Likes?” It isn’t easy, but with these strategies you can see results.

First, and most obvious, you have to offer something in exchange for a “Like.” For instance, a short time ago Chipotle offered a buy one get one free deal on a burrito for anyone who liked their fan page, linked to their external page. And consequently, many more people began to “Like” Chipotle on Facebook, thereby generating much more traffic to their external page. Find what you can offer via your page, whether it be a giveaway or a discount, more “Likes” means more Facebook interaction, and more interaction with your external site.

In addition to giveaways, keep supplying content. Keep your Facebook site fresh, with new ads, new commercials, and new content. Keep your fans interested in you, and give them something to tell their friends about. That’s one of the best things about Facebook—it is very easy for word-of-mouth advertising to take hold, as all one has to do to share a link with a friend is type in another friends name, or update their status. The effort barrier is much easier to get past. Also, depending on what you or your client does in terms of business, you can offer sneak peeks of upcoming products to fans who “Like” your page. I for one have been caught by this nifty bit of link bait (now “Like Bait”) by several movies and other products. If you have a cool new product about to be introduced and need a Facebook “Like” spark, use curiosity against your potential fans!

And finally, keep interacting with your fans. The better the connection that people feel with the product, the more likely they will keep “Liking” your page.  And the more likely they will tell their friends, leading to more traffic and conversions to both your Facebook page and your external page.

So, if you haven’t both created a Facebook page and incorporated a “Like” button onto your external page, you are missing out on a lot of potential traffic and conversions. To utilize both features is fairly simple, and you can see an immediate increase in traffic.  So don’t skip on optimizing for SEO for Facebook, because Facebook will only get bigger—don’t miss out!

Bryan is an Assistant Account Executive at Hanapin Marketing, a search engine marketing firm focused on generating results through PPC and SEO.

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  • http://www.esparkinfo.com/ Anand Mistry

    Facebook like button is too much popular. But, Google wants to recover that market with +1 button. I am thinking that, Google wants to make internet surfing to social surfing. End of the day, users will get benefits that’s for sure!!

  • http://halte.ro/ ioana

    Not everyone benefits from being on Facebook. There are businesses for which this is actually a waste of time and resources. Saying point blank everyone should be on Facebook is an exaggeration.  
    Also, “optimizing for SEO for Facebook”, are you serious? There is no such thing yet! When you say “imagine Facebook as another search engine to optimize for”, the keyword is “imagine”. Facebook is not a search engine just because it has (a really bad) search function. 

    • Bryan Watson

      Ioana,
      This is definitely true-there are some businesses (for instance B2B companies) that an intensive Facebook campaign may be a waste of time. However, there are still benefits to be had with creating a Facebook page. For instance, this is a low cost way to create a mailing list for newsletters or pertinent announcements. Not in the way of getting contact info from your followers, but from posting these things on your company profile. Or, if you have partnerships with other companies with Facebook profiles, you can gain a following from their following (from “Liking” their page). Their are many other ways in which simply creating a Facebook page for your company can be beneficial with little to no cost, but for the sake of brevity, I will move on to your next point.
      Yes, I picked the word “imagine” for that exact reason. Facebook isn’t a search engine, yet. That is why I chose the word, and saying SEO for Facebook pertains to creating a Facebook page with the appropriate meta data. The search function is rapidly improving, however, and given the amount of expansion that Facebook has had in the previous year, I would expect improve even more. So, to clarify, this post isn’t necessarily crowning Facebook as one of the new search engine giants–simply to identify another market where SEO tactics may prove conducive to improving traffic numbers. A good Facebook page with a large following, when utilized correctly, can really lead to a traffic spike to your external site. Thank you for the comment, and please continue to read our posts!

    • Bryan Watson

      Ioana,

      This is definitely true-there are some businesses (for instance B2B
      companies) that an intensive Facebook campaign may be a
      waste of time. However, there are still benefits to be had with
      creating a Facebook page. For instance, this is a low cost way to create
      a mailing list for newsletters or pertinent announcements. Not in the
      way of getting contact info from your followers, but from posting these
      things on your company profile. Or, if you have partnerships with other
      companies with Facebook profiles, you can gain a following from their
      following (from “Liking” their page). Their are many other ways in which
      simply creating a Facebook page for your company can be beneficial with
      little to no cost, but for the sake of brevity, I will move on to your
      next point.

      Yes, I picked the word “imagine” for that exact reason. Facebook isn’t a
      search engine, yet. That is why I chose the word, and saying SEO for
      Facebook pertains to creating a Facebook page with the appropriate meta
      data. The search function is rapidly improving, however, and given the
      amount of expansion that Facebook has had in the previous year, I would
      expect improve even more. So, to clarify, this post isn’t necessarily
      crowning Facebook as one of the new search engine giants–simply to
      identify another market where SEO tactics may prove conducive to
      improving traffic numbers. A good Facebook page with a large following,
      when utilized correctly, can really lead to a traffic spike to your
      external site. Thank you for the comment, and please continue to read
      our posts!

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