Many in the tech world are conjecturing the demise of Google’s highly acclaimed link-based algorithm, thanks to the growing prominence of Facebook’s universal “like” button. However, now that Facebook “liking” is taking starting to take over traditional links in many cases, Facebook has a new issue on its hands – one which Google is all too familiar with: paid likes and like farms.
The problem is already apparent with the spamming of random quotes and phrases, such as those on likey.net and likeitpage.com; and it will probably escalate unless Facebook puts a stop to it. A blog post by Dennis Yu, Chief Executive Officer of BlitzLocal.com, outlines the potential pros and cons of Facebook like farms can have on search results, and on businesses which use Facebook as a marketing tool. Dennis calls it Facebook SEO – and there’s no better time to capitalise on likes than the present, as Facebook still hasn’t implemented any restrictions. It’s very possible to rank your pages in top spot for Facebook search results, because Facebook uses exact matching on keywords.
While nobody’s really searching for “plumbing sydney” in Facebook, we never know how user behaviour and search habits may change as people start realising the capabilities. It’s already very clear how to reap the benefits of a successful Facebook page for your business, and much of this has to do with reputation building and fast responses – and it’s true that users consider pages with the highest fan count to be the genuine page over the unofficial ones. According to Dennis, more fans also equals more SEO power, in the sense that “more fans is more links to pass juice”.
Businesses should be aiming to get as many fans as possible, however as with link building in Google, it should always be quality over quantity. And, businesses should be wary of quick schemes to get more fans. The mass buying of likes and like farms has the potential to hurt the Facebook user experience, especially if Facebook were to start penalising specific pages.