For those of you who’ve been watching the evolving social media and SEO space, you know that there have been many conversations surrounding Facebook shares. The main issue revolves around whether Facebook shares help search engine optimization or not. We at SEO Inc. do SEO all day every day, so we’d like to jump in and comment on this, but first, little precursory information is necessary.
What Rand at MOZ Said
There’s a high correlation between Facebook Shares and ranking well on search engines.
Rand went on to say; there is merely a correlation. Not a cause and effect relationship. Furthermore, it is essential to make a distinction here. Facebook shares are seen as the act of someone taking a piece of content and sharing it on their profile, a page or a group. There are specific, manageable characteristics of Facebook pages vs. Facebook profiles. We will address this in a moment.
What Matt Cuts, Head of Web Spam at Google Said
Google doesn’t get Facebook shares. We’re blocked by that data. We can see fan pages, but we can’t see Facebook shares.
As we can see, Matt Cuts made an obvious point here. Google does not see Facebook shares because the data is blocked by Facebook, but they do see content on Facebook fan pages.
SEO Inc. Clears up the Issue
So we are going to spare you the entire conversation that they had at the SMX Advanced conference. There was a lot of back and forth, and in all honesty, it seemed unnecessary and blown out of proportion. So let’s simplify!
To clarify, using Facebook to build links is a very effective strategy for SEO. We see that links on Facebook are being picked up and counted in webmaster tools, so we know that these links support the growth of an online presence. While that is the case, there are certain things you should be aware of. Google can only crawl pages that are public on the Internet; this is a general rule of the system. If something is password or log-in protected it is scarce that Google can access it (you usually need to take specific measures to make this possible). So let’s take this concept and relate it to Facebook pages.
Due to permission settings, most Facebook personal profiles are not public; they are log-in protected and permission-based. If these personal pages were made public, in particular, the wall was made public, this would be a different story. But if it’s private Google cannot access this data.
What Google CAN access our Facebook pages — if they are made public of course, which they usually are. This is an excellent opportunity for link building. Imagine that you want your website to rank for diamond rings and you have a page that is specifically optimized for diamond rings. If you write a blog titled, “How to Choose Diamond Rings” and post it to a Facebook page that is public, that link will be crawled by Google. The link on Facebook will be the title of the post, “How to Choose Diamond Rings.” This will allow the link to point back at your site with the correct term. Next, you link internally on the blog to the page you would like to rank for diamond rings with the term “diamond rings.” By doing this, you will support the search engine optimization strategy of that page.
Overall, Facebook business pages offer an excellent opportunity for increasing your SEO. As your community and page rank grows, so does the power of the backlinks you post to Facebook. This is a clear and useful concept. Just keep in mind that if those profiles are password protected, they probably won’t be helping for much other than referral traffic, brand exposure and a gain in consumer mindshare.