How to Increase Facebook Shares for SEO

According to SearchMetrics.com “Google Ranking Factors U.S. 2012” report, Facebook Shares now appear to have the strongest correlation between volume and Google SERP rank–FB Shares ranked higher than the number of backlinks.

Google Ranking Factors 2012

FB Shares rank higher than backlinks

As an SEO, this was a little alarming and made me feel uneasy. This report shows that “Social [as] the new SEO” may be becoming a truth (that we SEO’s don’t much like). I’ve been fighting it. But now would like to test it. Who’s with me?

First, let’s look at the best Facebook Shares resources to date to learn how to get more Facebook Shares.

Then, we’ll dissect a recent FB promotion to see what they did well and wherein they were lacking.

How to Get More Facebook Shares

Know about and work on mastering EdgeRank and Graph Rank

Facebook EdgeRank

Facebook EdgeRank Formula

  1. What is EdgeRank? – Good overview
  2. “Graph Rank and EdgeRank are what the social network uses to organize the massive amount of activity generated by people, pages and apps and to decide what stories to show whom.” EdgeRank and Graph Rank Defined – learn the basics of Edgerank
  3. 6 Tips to Increase Your Facebook EdgeRank and Exposure – SocialMediaExaminer.com
  4. Facebook’s EdgeRank: How to Make Sure You’re in The News Feed – whitepaper that includes 10 tips
  5. For engagement Edges we generally say Shares > Comments > Likes > Clicks. For content type Edges we’ve seen Videos > Photos > Status Updates > Links. [EdgeRank Checker Blog]

You can check your own EdgeRank at http://edgerankchecker.com.

Competitor Shares Analysis

You can learn a lot about what content to create and promote via Facebook by seeing what gets shared most on Facebook

  • SharedCount This tool shows Shares, Likes, Google Pluses, Tweets, Diggs, etc.
  • Graph.facebook.com [http://graph.facebook.com/facebookusername or http://graph.facebook.com/http://somedomain.com] – Straight from the Face. You can see the combined sum of how many times a URL was shared, commented on and/or liked
  • Opensite Explorer [http://www.opensiteexplorer.org] – Shows how many Shares a page or site receives

The Specifics

1. Use an eye-catching image

Social Network Flow Chart by BreakingCopy.com
2. Keep the narrative short

Puppy and Teddy Bear - Facebook Post
3. Keep first person to a minimum

Follow Your Heart - Steve Jobs quote shared on Facebook
4. Include a call to action (love this image BTW)

Sidewalk art - Facebook post
5. Write about timely topics with helpful tips and resources

7 Tips To Stay Safe on Facebook
6. Experiment with longer content
7. Share a great cause

Surf Dog Ricochet and Iams Pet Food - Facebook Post

Bonus tip: Share more videos

“And a bonus tip, from Ryan Cohn of What’s Next Marketing:

Among large audience clients (celebrities and brands), we typically see the most shares coming from unique/interesting videos. Usually these are behind-the-scenes peaks, though we’ve seen great shareability from loved-but-forgotten YouTube videos too.

P.S. Mari also points out that, “You may find that these tips are equally effective for increasing your number of shares on Google+ too”

Facebook Promotion Audit

The Who: NEFF Headwear
The What: NEFF Headwear Giveaway
The Why: This piece of content could have been much better optimized for SEO. And I’ll explain that. Also, the lead singer of my old band is now the main designer for NEFF. It was the first status update I saw on my FB timeline that I’d actually share.

The Case for NEFF

What is a Facebook Share

I would love to win a NEFF Swag Pack! Why not “like” this? They didn’t ask me to share, so I didn’t think about it Smile I did “Like” it though. But what if I did want to Share it cause I want my friends to win Swag Packs too? Hmm.

FB Share

Oh, look! I clicked on the little Share button and a new pop up inviting me to share the giveaway came up. I want to see if any of my friends Shared it too.

What is a Facebook share?

 

FB Shares Study Case

Well, these aren’t my friends, so they must be public Shares. That’s okay though.

The Good. The Bad. The Ugly. SEO-etically Speaking.

This was a great promotion for NEFF to get “Likes”, but as you can see, the “Shares” are considerably low. NEFF could have also called for “Shares”, or Shares alone as part of the contest.

Another thing I noticed lacking, NEFF did not include a link within the description and the image is not pulled from a website URL. This provides no benefit to the NEFF website. It may provide juice to their Facebook page from where the image was pulled–so better than nothing.

The Good

  • Promoted the giveaway via FB
  • Contest rules were clear
  • Call to action was strong

The Bad

  • Contest didn’t include Shares as a requirement
  • Didn’t add a URL to promote

This piece of content has a lot of untapped SEO power. The only real thing NEFF didn’t do well, from an SEO standpoint, they didn’t add a link to their website in the description or pull the image from a page on their site. They should have added a link to pass SEO juice.

Likes are still good to receive, so they didn’t mess up there. But, if SearchMetrics’ study proves true, asking for Shares would have been a great addition to the promotion.

So, in preparation for the “New SEO”, “Social SEO”, etc. spend some time testing the effect of accumulating FB Shares on your rankings.

Whether or not Social is the new SEO is still under debate. But as to whether or not social signals affect rankings, the most recent studies and reports show high correlation betwixt the two. So why not test. The worst that will happen is that you gain more social proof.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and/or experiences with Facebook Shares and their affect on your rankings. If you have other brilliant ideas on how to get more Facebook Shares, feel free to “Share” them here. Good luck, everybody!

Tyson

Tyson Stevens: Search Engine Awesomization aspirant. I am constantly learning and sharing all that I learn and know...Well, not all, cause I'm currently in-house Smile Enjoy!

2 Responses to “How to Increase Facebook Shares for SEO”

  1. Jed Wheeler
    October 2, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    Great article! The link at the top to the google report gave me the info I was looking for but I scrolled through the rest of it just because you did such a great job telling your story with pictures.

    One thing that caught my eye is that the Neff contest you cite actually violates Facebook’s ToS – it’s a violation of their contest guidelines to use any native Facebook functionality to enter a user into a contest. You can require a user to like your page in order to enter, but you can’t have the act of liking your page or post actually enter them into the contest. It’s also a violation to use the “Like” button as a voting mechanism in a contest.

    Both of these are very common violations and a first offense will usually just result in a warning, but FB has been cracking down on and penalties for repeat offenses can be severe – up to and including deletion of your entire Facebook page! I figured it’s worth mentioning because people new to Social Media won’t know the rules or where to find them and it’s easy to get in trouble.

    Otherwise, great article. Thanks for sharing!

    • Tyson
      Tyson
      October 4, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

      Thanks for that info, Jed. I haven’t looked into FB policies enough to have caught that. Good catch.

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