On January 15th, Facebook announced they will be starting their own personal search engine called Facebook Graph Search. That’s right, the little white bar at the top of your page now has an actual purpose. The search engine relies strongly on “likes” and other relevant Facebook information such as page popularity and location signals.
While this new change could lead to some interesting methods of finding businesses close to you (for example, Facebook claims you will be able to search things like “Italian restaurants that my friends have been to”), but it also has business owners and SEO experts wondering how to take advantage of Facebook’s search. As Matt McGee found out however, Facebook was already ahead of everyone.
They released tips for how to make sure your business gets found in the Graph Search. Releasing these tips helps them as much as it helps others use the search, because it will help business position themselves to appear in the search while simultaneously populating the search engine for Facebook.
The most important things to know are that Graph Search is only available for a few right now, but it will offer local search from the very start, and the search results are created by compiling information created and shared by businesses, especially through their pages.
That doesn’t mean you have to have a page for your business however. It will help enormously, but businesses also will show up so long as customers or visitors have tagged them as a “place”.
We will have to wait to see just how Facebook’s Graph Search works once it is unveiled for the wider public. It could become another gimmick type feature of Facebook that many don’t use, like the FourSquare like ability to check into locations is treated at the moment. But, it is possible Facebook’s new search engine could be a useful tool for finding local businesses.