The battle for Internet domination has always been squarely focused on who controls information and, more specifically, search.

The philosophy is if you’re able to bring users to your site when they have a question and you’re able to provide the answer they need, then the doors of advertising open and you’re rolling in cash.

Acquire Internet domination…that is precisely what Facebook is attempting to do with their recently-unveiled Graph Search.

What Is Facebook Graph Search and What Does It Mean for Your Business

What Is Graph Search & How Do You Use It?

As we all know (and aren’t always entirely comfortable with), Facebook has collected an incredible amount of data about its users over the years — their system processes 500+ terabytes of data every day.

In the past, they’ve used this data primarily to target ads and provide you suggestions for friends or pages you might like.

But that game might be shifting immensely with the introduction of Graph Search.

Let’s Look at Graph Search This Way…

Assume you’re in the market for a new laptop, but you’re torn between Lenovo, HP, or Mac.

Maybe you’ll head over the LaptopMag.com and read about ways to decide on a laptop.

You’ll probably head to Amazon or a similar website and read customer reviews.

But what if you could hop on Facebook, search “Friends who Like [insert laptop brand]“, and then go ask them their personal experiences with their laptop.

These are, after all, your friends and family…likely the most influential people in your life and the people you trust the most.

Facebook Graph Search

That example alone shows the incredible potential Graph Search has on the information gathering and evaluation portions of consumer purchase decisions.

Help Me Find the Coffee!

As another example, let’s say you’re visiting or moved to a new city and you want to go have coffee at a local cafe.

The problem is you don’t know where the good local cafes are yet.

(Enter Graph Search)

coffee shops graph search

Of course, you could do this on Yelp or Google with just as much ease, but Graph Search potentially offers a different experience.

For example, if you had Facebook friends who lived in the city you were visiting, but you couldn’t get in touch with them at that moment, you could use Graph Search to find “Coffee shops my friends visited” or “Coffee shops my friends Like.”

Overall, Facebook is putting a unique twist on search by tying it directly into your personal life, arguably better than Google does (subject to change if Google+ continues its growth).

To emphasize, my Graph Search results should be different from your results based on the data I’ve provided Facebook — what pages I’ve Liked, what kinds of people I’m friends with, demographic information, what kind of status updates I make, and so on.

In theory, Facebook is using Graph Search to provide the most personalized search results on the net. Are they there yet? Probably not, but the potential is definitely there.

What Does All This Mean for Your Business?

Just like you optimize your website for search engines, you need to optimize your Facebook page for Graph Search (some might say “Graph Search Optimization – GSO).

  • Likes do carry some weight, because they signify how relevant your page is. While they’re likely not the only ranking factor in Facebook’s algorithm, they do have an impact.
  • Get people engaged with your page. It’s not enough simply to have fans; they need to be active fans. It’s unlikely Facebook is going to rank a mostly dead page very high over a page that gets lots of interaction.
  • Make sure your address, phone number, and other contact or location info are completed accurately.
  • Use relevant keywords in your page’s About sections and select relevant categories for your page to ensure Facebook knows what your business does.
  • Having a corporate page is great, but considering encouraging your local branches or outlets to create their own local pages. These will show up when people use the “near me” feature of Graph Search.
  • Graph Search opens the door for “Sponsored Results,” meaning your competitors could be paying Facebook for higher rankings in Graph Search down the road.

Get Access to Graph Search Today

Facebook has began rolling out Graph Search to most users, but if you haven’t gotten access yet, you can sign up using this link: Facebook Graph Search.