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Showing Up in Google Search Engine Results

You want your Facebook page to show up in Google for searches for your brand name – if for no other reason, then to make sure you control the top ten results for that search. But getting there, if you’re not already, means understanding a little bit about search engine optimization (SEO).

What Parts of Facebook Does Google Index?

A number of articles, as well as interviews with Google’s former CEO Eric Schmidt and well-known Google spam engineer Matt Cutts, have explained that Google does not index personal walls. That means that even if a person likes or shares something publicly, Google does not use that information. Also, Facebook’s Terms of Service for its API (programmatic access) forbid Google from using share count information. That means that your Facebook page can show up in Google results, and so can web pages you’ve shared, but these are probably not influenced by how many people share them.

Placement in Google Search Results

Two things can place well in Google search results that are related to Facebook:

  • Facebook pages
  • Web pages that people share on Facebook

What helps a Facebook page show up in Google’s search results? Many of the same things that help any web page do well in Google results:

  • Use a keyword in your Facebook page name. This may be difficult for existing pages or pages with very specific branding. But you could create a new topic page for some aspect of your brand using a keyword. For example, The Home Depot could create a page or group called “Home Improvement Tips – The Home Depot” in order to try to rank for the home improvement tips keyword.
  • Get links to your Facebook page on other websites, especially with the keywords you want to rank for in the anchor text of the link. These can come from bloggers, other websites, and press releases. Links are the number one differentiator in the competition for high search engine rankings.

Can You SEO Other Web Pages via Facebook?

The question is, can you do anything on Facebook that will directly increase a web page’s rankings in Google? No, but you can do so indirectly:

  • Create awesome content. Pictures, videos, blog posts, and other web content will attract more links from blogs and other websites. Be interesting. Connect with people emotionally. Focus on what they want, not what you want. Make it obvious that your content is helpful to an impressive degree, and more people will share it.
  • Get your content shared. When you share awesome content, you are more likely to reach people who will link to it, and this increases its search rankings and, thus, the traffic you’ll get. You need a lot of fans (this could be at least 1,000 or 10,000 or 100,000 depending on your business size and desired impact) or some other way to reach a lot of people, and then if the content is good, they’ll pass it on.
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