After largely ignoring the search function at the top of the Facebook interface for years, the social media giant is finally implementing improvements to its search function. On January 15, Facebook unveiled Graph Search.
Facebook Graph Search is a significant improvement over their old "search bar", that gave results that were uninteresting or unrelated to what you actually searched for. With Graph Search, users will be able to use short phrases like "restaurants my friends liked" or "beautiful photos my friends took". The image below shows some of the sample phrases Facebook showcased. It now looks more organic and real compared to the older search box.
The new Graph Search feature takes into account your Likes and the Likes of people in your friends list. Think of this as your friend referring you to a service or how they might vouch for something. So anyway, the search results are more accurate and more interesting because of how it matches your search with you and your friends.
Because Graph Search uses your past activity and your friends lists' activity, each search result will be different and unique. Likes, Check-ins and your privacy settings are all taken into account when searches are performed.
How will the new search benefit business?
Graph Search takes into account the information you share in the "About" section of your Facebook Page. Ensuring your information is up-to-date is critical to how you will rank in search results.
Also, make sure that you maintain your connections on Facebook by regularly interacting with your contacts and followers. Posting regularly and encouraging on-going conversations with your connections will drive up ranking results of your business once Facebook Graph Search officially launches.
Here's another screenshot of Graph Search provided by Facebook:
From the image above, search results are narrowed down according to your Likes and the Likes of your friends. Your friends list will really play a large role in determining what shows up in your searches. For example, shops they may have Liked on Facebook or restaurants they may have Checked-in at will have a better chance of ranking higher.
From a business standpoint, Graph Search can potentially increase exposure on social media through the new features. It also makes connecting and finding common interests with people who may have Liked your Facebook page much easier.
One thing to take note of, is that Graph Search is not a search engine;
its a social search engine. All your results will come from within
Facebook, meaning that most of the results will be based on information provided by other Facebook pages.
Why We Like It
Graph Search opens up a new world for businesses and online interaction. It takes the value of your past activities (Likes, Check-ins & Photos) and uses that information to provide actual answers to your "questions" or search queries on Graph Search. It opens up channels for all types of marketing opportunities and social discovery.
Here's what it looks like when I searched for cafes in Vancouver. It gave me an entire page filled with local cafes in Vancouver! From the results, it was more geared towards actual brick-and-mortar cafes and not just big brand names.
Overall, Graph Search will devalue the marketing reach of a centralized, highly consolidated marketing plan; instead, it will emphasize personal networks and small businesses. Brick-and-Mortar businesses will benefit greatly when Graph Search finally arrives because they will show up more often on search results thanks to Facebook's new search algorithms.
For large businesses, it will not be enough to have a single corporate Facebook page. The centralized marketing strategy will not help in increasing search result ranking on Facebook. Instead, it is highly recommended that big brands create new pages that operate on the business-level, not on a corporate-level.
For more information, visit Facebook's Graph Search website.