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Okay, now that I have your attention, let’s first discuss Facebook graph search. As I am sure you would have read by now with the numerous articles from the past week that graph search is not web search. Facebook does not index the web and show you relevant results based on the search query. Instead, graph search is based on the search query that you type and it will show you the results that are based on what your friends have shared on Facebook. It is a lot of data, it's around 240 billion photos, one billion people and one trillion connections which is constantly changing.
But what if you don’t want to be shown up in Facebook search results? Or what if you don’t want people to know where you get your teeth whitened or where your favourite Indian restaurant in Sydney is? Well, the answer to that is simple, and that is to make sure that you configure your private settings carefully and only share things with people that you are okay with showing up in search results.
So why is graph search a New Year's gift to local businesses? At this stage, the product is in beta and therefore only opened to a selected few. Eventually however, graph search will be available to everyone and it will allow people to search for things that my friends like or recommend or photos posted by pages I like.
If you own a local business there's great potential of acquiring new customers through Facebook graph search. Here are a few tips to make sure your business shows up in search results when the product eventually goes live for everyone:
1. Set up a Facebook Business Page – If you haven’t already, now is the best time to set up a Facebook page for your business.
2. Optimise your Business Page – Once your page is set up, you need to optimise it and you start that by making sure you pick the right categories. You should also choose your vanity URL so that it’s easy for your customers to remember, and Facebook business pages are crawled and indexed by Google. Finally, if your local business has a location then make sure you it's completely up to date with your full address so that if someone searches for your suburb or post code then your Facebook page appears in the search results.
3. Engage with your customers – If your customers are ‘liking’ your page and engaging with your awesome content on an ongoing basis, then that may push up your business in graph search results which equals traffic to your Facebook business page.
It's exciting times ahead for local businesses. I have already signed up to be a beta user for Facebook graph search so if you are interested, you too can join the waiting list.