Facebook Graph Search | A Basic Guide

Posted on June 4, 2013 
Filed Under Facebook, General, Internet Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Networking, Social Networks

Right now, pretty much everyone who pays attention to social media news is talking about the upcoming Facebook search engine, Graph Search. So what’s the deal with Facebook Graph Search? How does it work and what are the business applications of this new Facebook pillar?

First thing first, what is Facebook Graph Search and how is it different from the existing Facebook search tool?

Facebook Graph Search is a semantic search engine conceptualized by Facebook in March 2013. It’s purpose is to allow Facebook users to search for more information than was previously possible. Once launched full-fledged, Graph Search will enable users to use simple phrases and keywords to search for places, things and people and explore the connections between these items.

Facebook graph search

For instance, say you are moving to a new city for a new job. With Facebook Graph Search you will be able to search for friends in the new city. These people could be the friends of your friends or people you have something in common with. With Graph Search, you can pair up keyword phrases like “Photos of” and “coworkers” and “current city” to make new discoveries and explore connections you would probably never have made before Graph Search.

Currently Graph Search is only available for limited preview to a restricted number of people using Facebook in English. It is still being rolled out and should be fully available later in 2013.

How does Facebook Graph Search Work?

Facebook Graph Search might still be rolling out but everyone is excited about this new Facebook pillar, and with good reasons: Graph Search is Facebook’s solution to personalized search results as provided by search engines like Google only that the results will be far more contextualized in line with specific data from your social circle.

Till date, how Graph Search really works is a mystery but generally, to understand how Facebook Graph Search works, it’s worth it to consider Facebook as an ecosystem with Facebook friends, posts, photos, pages and groups forming a large web. According to a schematic diagram released by Facebook’s engineers, within Graph Search, friends, posts, pages and groups are called ‘Nodes’. These nodes are related to each other via arrows called ‘Edges’. Edges include Facebook attributes like “Tagged,” “Like,” “Comment”.  Essentially, Facebook is mapping out a network based on our social nature.

Facebook Graph Search for Businesses

At this point, the vast majority of people don’t have Facebook Graph Search yet. It is therefore relatively early to tell how this new Facebook feature will benefit or hurt businesses. Graph Search is also currently available only for Facebook in English effectively alienating hundreds of thousands of Facebook users.

Nevertheless, as a business owner you can still attempt to figure out exactly how Graph Search will affect your business in the near future. At this point, most businesses are simply modeling their Graph Search strategy after their Google strategy because as is the case with Google, getting visibility on Facebook is going to depend on a certain secret algorithm.

Perhaps the question that most business owners are asking themselves when it comes to Facebook Graph Search is this: how to utilize this new Facebook tool to optimize their social reach and impact?

When it comes to Facebook Graph Search, in addition to the fact that it is an ingenious tool developed by Facebook to encourage businesses to spend more time and resources on the social site, it also offers certain interesting incentives:

  • Graph Search does not comb the entire Internet for information
  • Information on Graph Search comes from content people share on Facebook including likes and check-ins
  • Graph Search allows Facebook users to look up business pages, photos and people and in turn see how they are connected to these items.
  • Graph Search is essentially based on data users create rather than businesses and brands.

In Preparation for Facebook Graph Search:

  • Evaluate your company page on Facebook: This is good news for businesses who already have a thriving Facebook following and presence with glowing reviews, recommendations and check-ins.
  • Complete your page and fill in the missing pieces of information: For high rankings on Graph Search, you will need to duly fill in your business details including your opening hours, website, physical location and the categories and subcategories that best describe the nature of your business.
  • Be active: Facebook pages with the highest number of posts, likes and check-ins will come up higher in the Graph Search results.
  • Facebook likes are important: Prior to Graph Search, Facebook Likes didn’t mean that much when it came to social marketing but with Graph Search, “likes” and “check-ins” are going to matter a great deal more.
  • Optimize the content you share on Facebook: To gain better rankings with Graph Search, the content you share on Facebook needs to be optimized to promote engagement. The content also needs to be relevant and keyword-optimized.

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