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Facebook's new Graph Search helps people discover your business

Weeks ago, Facebook enhanced Privacy Settings and users were encouraged to fill out their (now, publicly searchable) profiles more completely. These privacy settings essentially made it easier for people to show up in Facebook search.

The change was minor, but led to a much larger question: What secret plan did Facebook engineers have tucked up their sleeves? The big secret was revealed last week and is still in a limited beta: A new and improved search experience, Graph Search.

The idea of Graph Search is to offer each individual user unique search results based on their interests, information and content that has been shared with them. i.e. If the majority of your friends live near you and are 'foodies' then you trust that when you generate a search (in the search bar) for a food recommendation, you will get valuable results.

What are these improvements and how do they affect privacy?

The improvements to search are based on relevance to a specific user. These new search results pages include things like social context, category, location and address, likes, ratings, active users, similar Pages, or even a description about a specific business or organization. Consider Graph Search a new and improved 'social search.'

People fear invasion of privacy and over-exposure to the public, but the notion is null because when signing up for a social account, users are warned that the moment they press 'send,' their information is no longer private. More importantly, if a user's privacy settings are set up so that only friends can see their page, then they will only show up in a Social Graph that was searched by their friends.

What does this mean for individuals and businesses?

If you're a Facebook user: Make sure your Privacy Settings are set up to your liking. Know that all of your profile information, down to the Pages you like, is now publicly available to other users (based on your privacy settings).

If you're a business with a Facebook Page: Make sure the layout of your Page is up to date and complete. Be sure you're branding your business properly in your name, category, URL, cover photo, profile photo and description. Graph Search results are displaying higher photo resolution than before, so you want to make sure your Facebook presence is visually appealing.

Update your address so that a search on your specific location can be in your favor. Share as much engaging content as possible on your Page so that you appear more often in relevant searches. Strengthen the connections you already have and get to know your fans rather then putting your focus on gaining more fans. Remember: Results are based on a user's existing likes and interests.

Views: 258

Tags: Facebook, Graph, Graph Search, Media, Search, Social

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Comment by Alexander Lau on January 22, 2013 at 7:48am

Yes, and they've been partnering with Microsoft / Bing for some time on a number of applications. It wouldn't surprise me if their former and current search application is a partial component of what Bing uses. Of course, Facebook engineers and Zuckerberg are going to say just it shouldn't be compared to web results and I suppose on a certain level, they're right at least internal to Facebook.

Yes, from Day One, 'Likes' were being calculated and used to market and re-market ads to the user. It should surprise no one that it's going to be used for search results as well. Their current system clearly lacks the business intelligence companies truly need. Custom Audience advertising is definitely a step in the right direction.

Although they've got a giant step above any competition, by the time they master things, something new will come along and knock them off the block. That's what they truly are terrified of in reality.

Comment by Darrah Raneri on January 22, 2013 at 7:39am

I definitely agree. Many are already concluding that Graph Search is a result of Bing based on the more refined search results. However, it is important to note that Facebook and the engineers behind Graph Search have said that the service shouldn't be compared with powerful web results (very different). 

In my opinion, the idea that Facebook users have to keep up with their current connections and continue engaging with the pages that they already 'like' poses some potential problems (too much pressure on users, maybe). I do hope that Graph Search really will strengthen connections and make networking simpler. 

Comment by Alexander Lau on January 22, 2013 at 7:24am

This is obviously improving and I've signed up as a beta-tester, but they are so far behind Google's powerful algorithmic search capability, it's silly. They know that, but still want to become the go to for everything portal. Privacy is a big issue with this stuff, as you've mentioned. I can only imagine the litigious law hawks lined up, ready to pounce.

Actually, it reminds me a bit of Bing, which essentially steals Google's search results and displays them on their own site: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/microsofts-bing-uses-google-..., but will never admit to it. Makes me wonder if Facebook is taking a page out of their book, attempting to implement it via their results.

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