Another type of farming on Facebook

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.

New Facebook tools for business (and personal use too)

Facebook an indispensable tool in today’s social media driven age of marketing – perhaps it’s due to a 500 million strong user-base, or maybe it’s the fact most people spend more time on social media sites than search engines. Whatever the lure, Facebook certainly holds plenty of promise, and it’s not about to stop. We already share and watch live videos on Facebook, through posts from our friends or brands we like. Now, Facebook and Livestream are creating a new app called Facebook Live – which is essentially Facebook’s version of an embeddable video platform.

While some claim it’s a public relations move to make Facebook even more personable, there’s no doubt the company would attract even huger audiences through live video. But what will it mean for other video providers like YouTube – which is currently the most popular place to stream live video? It means individuals and businesses will have another channel to stream their videos, which may enable them to harness completely new audiences. It also means good things for “video SEO“, especially with the speculation that social media and Facebook “likes” may some day usurp Google’s highly prized link-based algorithm.

There are also new tools coming out which make it easy to find out what’s trending on Facebook. One such tool is called Booshaka. Just like real-time Twitter search engines, Booshaka can be used to find any mention of a keyword made by anyone on Facebook. You can search for specific terms, or you can browse through categories. Booshaka will even tell you the total likes, and buzz percentiles – and the results can then be shared on Twitter on Facebook. Booshaka is one of the first services boasting instant access to the public status updates of random Facebook users, and will no doubt take off with marketers, business owners, and individuals alike who want to know how their important brands and topics are going in the social mill.

More specifically for businesses, is the new Parature for Facebook app. It’s a new customer service application which will help brands enhance the quality of customer service they provide through Facebook, by turning a Facebook Page into a full-featured customer support centre. We’ve seen many businesses benefit from clever and well-timed responses on Facebook and other social mediums, and now there’s no reason for even the smallest business to get involved. For strategic users, these new tools will certainly prove an asset – and Google had certainly be worried!