Facebook and SEO: Like Bait the New Link Bait?

This is a very interesting article from All Facebook about speculating how Facebook could be starting to take on search. Sites that use the Facebook Open Graph (TripAdvisor, Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc.) are now starting to show up in Facebook search results.

Facebook Unleashes Open Graph Search Engine, Declares War On Google

While there was a lot of speculation about Facebook’s search strategy, the company has confirmed with us that “all Open Graph-enabled web pages will show up in search when a user likes them”. Earlier this week we published about the new Facebook SEO that’s possible via the Open Graph, but now it’s clear that this is the beginning of Facebook’s internet search strategy. The race is now on for publishers to optimize their sites for Facebook’s search engine.

Under this system “link baiting” will give rise to “like baiting”, which is how Facebook determines the relevance of information. This has become a full scale attack on Google on all fronts at this point as Facebook has officially entered the internet search market. While many of the details of the Open Graph were initially revealed at f8, it wasn’t clear what Facebook’s complete strategy would be and how big of a threat this would be to Google.

Facebook SEO link baiting vs. like baiting

A search in Facebook for “Vancouver hotel” yielded the following results. Notice the results from Yelp and TripAdvisor.

Vancouver Hotel Facebook SEO

Search for “Vancouver restaurant” and results from Yellowpages.ca show up:

Vancouver restaurant Facebook SEO

Should you start the like bait campaign to start liking all mentions of your business on sites that use the FB Open Graph? The simple answer is to encourage staff, friends, and fans to “Like” the your listings on Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Yellow Pages by giving them the links and instructions. But what if your Yelp business listing starts ranking higher than your actual Facebook page and you are sending visitor’s there instead? Should you be adding keywords to your Open Graph listings so they rank better for a broader range of terms?

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