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Basic SEO for Facebook Fan Pages

Kristi Hines
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Many have tried, and failed, to write a good post about how to SEO a Facebook fan page.

For example, optimizing the filename of your profile picture is one popular piece of advice that doesn’t really matter, considering Facebook just renames the file something like 198135_10150109366....jpg. Another popular tip: you should link to your main website from your Facebook page. Yes, you should for visitors. But this doesn’t optimize your fan page because Facebook just nofollows, redirects, and clusters your URL in a mess of code anyway.

So let's take a different approach to Facebook SEO today.

I want you to imagine that your Facebook fan page is your website – or another website for your brand at least. While it may not ever rank first for a keyword, you still want it to be optimized.

If you want to keyword optimize your Facebook fan page, these are the areas that actually pull SEO elements from your page's content for additional optimization.

Your Facebook Fan Page SEO

  • SEO title: The name of your page plus | Facebook.
  • Meta description: The name of your page plus the About description of your page, followed by | Facebook.
  • H1: The name of your page.

This is like the search optimization of the homepage of your fan page / website. If you didn't consider keyword optimization when you created it, and you have less than 100 fans, you're in luck. You can still change your page's name.

Two things to keep in mind aside from search optimization includes:

  • Branding: It may be more important to have your page as a recognizable brand than a specific keyword phrase.
  • Appearance: Whenever you comment as your page, or people tag your page, your entire name will come up, so if you're page is Your Brand - Keyword, Keyword, and Keywords it might look a bit excessive (and lead to less tagging).

Your title can be as long as you choose, but keep in mind the standard length of SEO titles (70 characters) before getting too crazy. Also, since your page name is also a part of your meta description, you might not want it to make it too long and overshadow that.

To edit your About information to make a great meta description, go to your page and Edit Page > Basic Information, and fill in the About field with a 140 character description like you would with any website meta description.

Facebook Fan Page Updates

  • SEO Title: The first 18 characters of your update.

If you’re posting a standard status update, the SEO title will be pulled from the first 18 characters (approximately 18 characters, sometimes a bit less). The following update by Search Engine Watch's fan page has a title of Yahoo Search, which is pretty good.

sew-facebook-update

If you're posting a link to your fan page wall, you'll have an option to "Say something about this link..." – the first 18 characters of what you enter in this field are going to be the SEO title for the individual page of that status update.

If you don't post something there, the SEO title for your update will just be Facebook. Plus it won't take up as much real estate in someone's news feed, which means it will be less noticeable. So I would suggest that, regardless of whether you care about the SEO, you fill this part out when adding a link to your wall.

facebook-update-seo

If you’re concerned about optimizing your updates while considering them as individual pages for your overall fan page / website (click on the timestamp for any update to see it on its own page), then you might want to consider sticking some keywords right at the beginning of your comment.

Using the above example, I could simply put the post category / main keyword as start the update such as Google Analytics and then write the rest of my comment. If I continued this trend with my updates, my fan page would have lots of "pages" underneath it optimized for my main keywords.

The best part is, unlike Twitter status updates that don’t go that far back, you can see your Facebook fan page updates at least two years – mine go all the way back to when I created my fan page, which was in February 2009.

Facebook Fan Page Notes

  • SEO Title: The title of your note plus | Facebook.
  • Meta Description: Your page name wrote a note titled the title of your note plus | Facebook.

Facebook notes – they don't get a lot of love anymore, but they do have a more controllable SEO title when you create them and, of course, they add to the additional "pages" underneath your fan page / website. Notes allow you to add lengthier updates to your fan page without having to take your fans offsite to get more of your content.

Some people use them to syndicate their blog posts on their fan page, but I find this feature is a little inconsistent. Unique notes, on the other hand, could add more value to your page.

Facebook Fan Page Discussion Topics

  • SEO Title: The title of your discussion's topic | Facebook.

Ever wanted a little forum / discussion board, but don't want to invest in forum software? Facebook has an often-overlooked discussion board, with each topic giving you a little SEO title credit.

facebook-discussion-board

It might be a nice place for you to have discussions with your fans that they don't necessarily want on your wall. If you don't have one on your profile already, you can get it by going to the Discussion Board and using the Add to My Pagelink to add it to your pages.

Your Facebook Fan Page SEO Tips

Those are the parts of the Facebook fan page that I’ve found specifically have controllable SEO titles, descriptions, and so forth. What other parts of the Facebook fan page have you tried optimizing for SEO, and what results have you seen?

Editor's note: This column originally was published on September 20, 2011, and comes in at No. 6 on our countdown of the 10 most popular Search Engine Watch columns of 2011. Over the final two weeks of 2011, we're celebrating the Best of 2011 by revisiting our most popular columns, as determined by our readers. Enjoy and keep checking back!


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