Facebook Likes and How They Affect SEO

2019 Update: There is a case to be made that in late 2019 and early 2020, Google and Facebook have the best relationship they have ever had. Google accepted they do not know how to do social and Facebook accepted they do not know how to do search. While both have tried to dip their toe in the expertise of the other company, they have both bowed out with their tail between their legs.

You are likely seeing more and more Facebook posts, pages and information in Google Searches. Note that this is the exact same thing as a unique domain. You can build value to the Facebook page which in turn will increase the value of the link or links on the page. That said, do not expect to see a huge jump in the rankings for your LASIK Eye Doctor practice website by sharing a few posts on Facebook. You may find that you get some traffic from Facebook but it is not going to take you from #9 to #4 in Google Search. If you did jump in the rankings, it was likely because the Facebook post enticed a webmaster to link to your actual website from one of their domains.

In November 2015 Google has come to an agreement with Facebook to crawl, index and rank public Facebook profiles. This means that most public profiles that are highly active on Facebook will likely start showing up in Google search. To optimize or “SEO” a Facebook profile it will need natural links, a lot of activity and some quality content; just like an actual website.

When you think about a Facebook profile in terms of ranking in Google search, think of it exactly as you would the homepage of a website. You can get natural links that point to the domain and you can direct readers to this page from your other social media accounts or website. The only downside to an active Facebook account is the fact that individual posts or articles shared are not getting crawled and indexed in Google search. With this being the case, go create a WordPress website and get to writing your own content that will rank in Google search.

Original Article from July 2014:

I hear it time and again. “I need to get more Facebook likes.” When I hear this from small business owners I cringe. What most business owners do not realize is that getting more Facebook likes could actually be detrimental to their internet marketing campaign. The first thing I tell every potential client is that Facebook likes do not affect Google search in any way whatsoever. Let me repeat that. Facebook likes do not affect Google search rankings. As far as Bing and Yahoo!, that is another story, but the focus of most businesses, in terms of SEO, is Google Search.

Facebook Cannot Be Crawled By Google

What Facebook Links Do Help SEO?

Why Getting More Facebook Likes Could Be Bad

Facebook Has Little SEO Value

Facebook Cannot Be Crawled By Google

Facebook and Google have had a very bad relationship from hello. Facebook wants to wall in their network and keep the information to themselves. Google wants information to be open source for the world to see. No matter how you feel about this subject area it is important to understand that Facebook and Google have two completely different business models. Google wants to provide the best search result for someone actively seeking information. Facebook wants to push information in front of your face based on what you have liked or mentioned on your Facebook wall or newsfeed.

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Photo Credit

With Facebook and Google being so different it comes as no surprise that Facebook will not let Google robots crawl Facebook updates, newsfeeds and other information. Google can crawl public Facebook business and fan pages but the robot cannot crawl individual posts or updates. This means your Facebook business page may show up in Google search but you will likely never see a single Facebook post show up in search. Even if your Facebook update received 25,000 likes and 4,000 reshares you are not going to be able to find it through a Google search.

If Google is unable to crawl Facebook in its entirety it stands to reason that it will not strongly affect SEO. Each Facebook business page and profile page allows users to share as much content as they would like. Unfortunately, this content is limited to only the Facebook algorithm and not the Google algorithm. This means, even if your business page is public, only Facebook will be able to index the updates and posts. This is very unfortunate for businesses that are looking to increase exposure across the entire Internet. Although some may think so, Facebook is not the entire Internet.

What Facebook Links Do Help SEO?

There is one way in which Facebook can help SEO and that is a link on a business page. As I mentioned in the previous section, Facebook business pages can be crawled and indexed in search; if they are public. On a Facebook business page you are able to have one hypertext link and most businesses point this link back to their business website. If they don’t, they need to do it right now. For more on why this is important please feel free to reach out to me at jwojdylo@gmail.com.

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If a Facebook business page becomes popular and it has many links pointing back to it, the pagerank of the Facebook business page will increase. Please note that the links pointing back to the business page must be crawlable by the Google spiders. Businesses could build up the pagerank of their Facebook page by linking to it from blog posts, adding it to a Flipboard magazine, sharing it on Google Plus or using some of the other curation tools like Scoop.it or Paper.li. Think of a Facebook business page as a business card in which you have just one link. For more on Flipboard use this resource: How to Use Flipboard for SEO and Traffic.

The link to your website can become much more valuable as the Facebook business page increases in value. This is not something I would spend hours on doing but if you have a strong Facebook presence it might be worth it to get a few natural links to point back to the Facebook page. Notice I used the word natural. There is no reason to go out and try to get 5000 links pointing to a Facebook page. If you have a presence on other social networks politely mention you have a Facebook page and offer the link. It is as easy as that.

Why Getting More Facebook Likes Could Be Bad

I recently watch an amazing video on the problem with Facebook likes and Facebook promoted posts. I would suggest taking 10 minutes to watch it here:

To sum up the video, Facebook likes could make your business less visible on Facebook. Let us play a little game of math.

  • Your Facebook business page has 500 likes
  • Facebook will push out a news update/post to 10% (rough estimate) of your “fans” or those that have liked you
  • Approximately 50 “fans” see your post and can engage
  • If the post is engaging, more “fans” will see the post
  • If the post receives few likes or comments Facebook will not push the post out to others

With 500 real Facebook likes business pages have the chance to reach a very broad audience if the post gets a few likes and comments initially. It is a timing based algorithm so the more engagement early the more people will see the post. Now, let’s say you worked hard to get another 1000 fans that might not necessarily be real fans. They might be from other states or even other countries. In fact, they may have just liked your page because they like everything they see on Facebook. Let us play the numbers game again.

  • Your Facebook business page has 1500 likes
  • Facebook will push out a news update/post to 10% of your “fans” or those that have liked you
  • Approximately 150 “fans” see your post and can engage

Therein lies the big difference. With 500 likes and 50 of them seeing the post it is much more possible they were real fans in the local area. If you have 1500 “fans” that aren’t true fans what are the odds that the 150 that see the post are going to engage? I would say very low. In fact, those that have purchased likes just to increase the total number of likes are seeing almost zero engagement on Facebook. The reason for this is the “fans” that liked the page don’t really care about the business and they may not even be accessing Facebook at all. Some people create fake accounts just to get more likes which means engagement will plummet to zero.

If your news update or post is being pushed out to Facebook users that are not true fans or not even on the platform you are going to find it nearly impossible to grow your reach. This is why I would urge you to not buy Facebook likes. In reality, it is better to have less Facebook likes than more. If you only have 50 Facebook likes, but they are all real fans, the likelihood of them engaging on your posts will be much higher.

This is why Facebook is so easy for those that are just getting started. Only their friends, family and true fans have liked their page. This makes it much easier to receive a high reach percentage. As businesses start to get more random “fans” their reach declines tremendously. As stated, keep an eye on the number of likes you have. Unlike what you may think, more likes might be worse for your page.

Facebook Has Little SEO Value

I will never argue that Facebook does not have the potential for huge reach numbers. Just look at Buzzfeed. The Buzzfeed website would have never gotten off the ground if it weren’t for Facebook. That said, the businesses I work with tend to make their money by getting customers and clients that search for services. If you have a practice or business that gets customers through search it is best to sink your Internet marketing budget into other things such as content, copywriting and building a strong presence on social media websites that can be crawled by the Google robot or Googlebot.

If you want to increase your search rankings you must create amazing content that is shared around the web. As I have said many times, the Google algorithm is based off a college thesis. If your thesis (your website) has amazing content and is referenced (links pointing back) often you are going to rank very well in search. With this in mind, you will need great content and you will need to be shared for others to read.

A Blast From the Past Article About Google+ vs Facebook and Twitter in terms of SEO

Note that this is all old information from 2014 and should be read simply to understand the overall layout of the SEO world five years ago. 

If you are looking to increase your ranking in Google search while also expanding a presence on Google Plus please reach out to me at jwojdylo@gmail.com as I have several packages available for businesses and websites.

Google Plus and SEO. There are hundreds of threads on social networks, every day, trying to dissect if Google is assigning a value to Google Plus activity. I am going to attempt to explain it in a much different way. Rather than drilling down into the nuts and bolts of search let’s look at it from a business and real world perspective. In the real world, not online, I receive phone calls every day asking me if a business should increase their activity on Google Plus as it compares to Facebook and Twitter. My answer is often a resounding “YES!” Not always, but most of the time. Here are some of the reasons why Google Plus makes sense for businesses looking for SEO help.

Google Plus is Owned by Google

I am shocked at how many people do not know that Google owns a social network. I live beside a college campus that is renowned for its journalism department. Over 90% of the journalism students do not know Google Plus exists or don’t care to use it. Journalists that are looking to get their name out there for their content are unwilling to use a social network owned by Google. I will just shake my head and create that article another time. Yes. Google owns Google Plus which is the social layer to all Google products.

It stands to reason that Google would digest the information submitted to Google Plus must more closely and easier than from other social networks. In fact, Google spiders struggle greatly when it comes to crawling and indexing Facebook posts and Twitter Tweets. Every now and then you will find a Tweet indexed in Google search but almost never will you find an individual Facebook post. Facebook walled off their content and they have no desire to allow Google to crawl all the status updates and Facebook Business Page posts.

Recently, Matt Cutts created a YouTube video that explained the Google algorithm assigns no value to Tweets and Facebook posts. There are many reasons for this but you can simply watch the video here. If Facebook and Twitter have little to no value in Google search why is it that businesses continue to feel they will help them get business through search? I honestly don’t know the answer to this. The only reason that makes any sense to me is a business sees their competition doing it so they simply assume they must be doing it as well.

In my personal opinion, I think most businesses would benefit from using Google products which, in turn, would help them rank in Google search. While a Facebook Business Page might have 100,000 fans it is nearly impossible to reach all of those fans with the Facbeook EdgeRank algorithm. Recent studies have shown that Facebook posts that are not promoted with money reach less than 10% of fans. That page that has 100,000 fans is really reaching less than 1,000 of them. Compare this to Google search. On any given day there are tens of thousands of Google searches for keywords related to almost all businesses. These searchers also want to purchase the product or service unlike browsing on Facebook or Twitter.

Google Cannot Crawl Facebook Posts

This was briefly mentioned earlier, but it is important to understand why Facebook and Google do not get along. Facebook is in the business of making money. I know Mark Zuckerburg says he wants to connect the world but when the Facebook company IPO’d on the NASDAQ it went from a fun and exciting social network to a money generating machine. He now has shareholders to please so he cannot simply “play” around with his social network that claims to add over one million users daily.

When Facebook started to grow quickly in 2006 and 2007 Mark Zuckerburg realized he had a cash cow on his hands. He also realized that keeping all the uploaded data to himself would make the business much more valuable. He now has the ability to either sell this data or charge a premium to advertisers. We have heard all the rumblings of the NSA getting Facebook data but that is an article for another time. The way Facebook makes the majority of their money is through advertising.

Facebook charges businesses based on impressions or clicks. Every time you log into your Facebook account and there are advertisements someone is paying for that real estate. Even if you don’t notice them or they are never clicked there are still companies that are shelling out hard earned cash for Facebook ads. With Facebook being the only company seeing this information they are able to set the price per impression or per click. Bing has a relationship with Facebook as it pertains to search but Bing (Microsoft) does not see all the advertising data.

The Google/Facebook relationship is so poor that Google decided to make their own social network in 2011. In June of that year Google launched Google Plus in hopes of better understanding how people share data online. Even though many major media outlets still claim Google Plus is a ghost town it is doing exactly what Google wants. Anyone that has signed up for a GMail, YouTube or Android account now has Google Plus. Whether they know it or not they are using Google products which helps the Google company improve search results.

Google Plus Improves Search Results For Users

One of the most important reasons Google created Google Plus was to improve search. By improving and personalizing search for each and every Google user the company has the ability to charge more for advertising. Focused ads on the front page of Google search are worth much more than ads that are only somewhat relevant. Any time a user goes to YouTube and looks for a specific type of video they are telling Google the types of content they like to consume. When users search on Google they are telling the company what is important in their lives. If they update a Google Plus post they illustrate things that are fun and entertaining.

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All of these actions help Google as it allows them to provide search results that are tailored to a specific user. All privacy issues aside, this is something every major Internet company is trying to do. Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Twitter and Yelp all encourage users to log in so they can better understand what the user is looking for on that specific web entity.

We are seeing more and more websites incorporated the Login with Google button on their website to accompany Facebook and Twitter logins. As far as SEO, I do not suggest any of these types of buttons for comments because it makes an iFrame on your website. This iFrame cannot be crawled by Google spiders therefore all those valuable comments are not part of the text of the page. There are plenty of great WordPress commenting clients including the one that comes with any WordPress theme. If you own a website that gets a ton of comments it is “SEO smart” to use a commenting client that can be crawled by Google spiders.

The flip side of this is the personalization of Google search when individuals sign in with the Google button. When signed in they will see search results that are altered by those they are following or have circled. If you are a publisher that is in thousands or tens of thousands of circles you may want to consider an option to leave a comment with a Google Plus profile. This will allow you to build your following while also getting more searches from Google organic search.

Should Your Business Be Proactive on Google Plus?

If your business is looking to add customers or clients then it should be active on Google Plus. Businesses and companies that offer services to the public can greatly benefit but the SEO value of Google Plus and all of its products. There are some businesses that would benefit more from being on Facebook and Twitter but most of those business are selling impulse items that people do not need in the moment. Think of the “As Seen on TV” items or something to help them make life a little easier. If you are looking to increase activity on Google Plus and you would like some assistance reach out to me at jwojdylo@gmail.com.

Facebook and Twitter do not work all that well for services people must have in the moment. Users that have been in a car accident are not going to jump on Twitter or Facebook to look for a car garage or a personal injury lawyer. If your sink is clogged and water is running all over the floor you are not going to scour Facebook for a plumber. You are going to go to Google and search “plumber with 24 hour service”. The plumber that has been active and engaging on Google Plus may be the first one that shows up due to the fact that you are signed in and you followed a few plumbers the last time you had an issue with your sink.

As we continue to progress in the social media era of the Internet I firmly believe Google Plus is the place for businesses to sink time, effort and money. In my opinion, Facebook is the white pages and Google Plus is the Yellow Pages.

Google Plus Communities and Their SEO Value

A major part of Google Plus that many new users do not know about is communities. Google Plus Communities allow users that have similar interests to congregate in one area and discuss their desired topics. There are Google Plus communities for specific Android smartphones, video games, TV shows, professions and even websites. I have seen a number of Google Plus communities get some momentum and grow quickly. I currently own two communities with over 10,000 active community members.

The great thing about communities is any member has the ability to submit new content. From an SEO standpoint this is enormous. Think about owning a website in which there are 10,000 authors that have the ability to submit content at any time. I think anyone that has been on the Internet for more than 10 minutes can agree that this much content is extremely valuable.