About 70% of brands fail to optimize Facebook pages and show up in the top 20 results of searches for their branded keyword terms. That's according to internal research by BrightEdge, which supports enterprise search engine optimization services.
The percentage coincides with eMarketer's research that finds the majority of top brands don't optimize their Facebook pages for search.
Supporting the need for better visibility, BrightEdge will release a service allowing companies to improve organic search rankings for Facebook pages. The service rolls out Tuesday with a white paper detailing the strategy.
The socialization of the Web continues to change SEO and the ability to rank in organic search results. Jim Yu, BrightEdge CEO, said marketers fail to recognize even the simplest strategies that would boost Facebook pages in search engine rankings because until now, the two technologies have remained separate. "We've developed 'Facebook approved' best practices for SEO," he said. "We worked with Facebook to develop and publish the practices."
The best practices guide on social SEO describes how marketers can optimize Facebook Fan pages to rank better on search engines. The results allow marketers to better monitor and manage brand reputation, increase revenue and visibility and drive social engagement. Yu suggests using Facebook "Shares" and "Likes" to help search engines recognize authority, which helps to increase organic rankings in search results.
Integrating best practices into BrightEdge's recommendation engine, the BrightEdge suite allows clients to plug in their Facebook page to generate ideas on how to best leverage the two channels -- social and search. It also integrates into the company's dashboard and reporting tools to identify trends. Some of the recommendations might include interlinking directory pages with parallel Facebook pages, or a Web site with Facebook Social Plugins with Facebook Connect.
Marketers will begin to see SEO experts publish books and white papers on Facebook ad optimization. For example, the publisher Wiley/Sybex will soon release Killer Facebook Ads: Master Cutting-Edge Facebook Advertising Techniques in paperback written by Marty Weintraub, founder of SEO services firm aimClear. The book will debut in August at Search Engine Strategies, San Francisco.
Last week executives at Bing, Google and Yahoo said they would collaborate on specifications and guidelines in an effort to help Web site publishers improve search results for users.
Both Facebook Open Graph and Schema.org provide guidelines for Web publishers to provide richer context about information on their Web sites, according to Yu. The Open Graph guidelines make "socially aware" Web page content on sites an "engaging experience" for users on Facebook.
For example, when Web pages serve up in Facebook feeds, Open Graph allows marketers to control and optimize the icons and descriptions. One of the big differences Schema.org points out is the details their format provides," Yu said, noting the ability to share metadata about every component on the Web page. He said the real questions center on why not just work with Facebook to enhance Open Graph. In the long run, will Web publishers use one standard to expose metadata or will they need to mark up their pages with multiple formats?