We’ve been talking about the eventual power of social search for quite some time now without knowing what it would look like. Now, we have a visual when using Facebook’s Graph Search. It’s a little scary how much information one website can aggregate about an individual from the shares, likes, comments, messages, games, movies, etc. you have on your profile. Some have left Facebook for this reason. It can be alarming to be presented with advertisements tailored to private conversations with your friends. But, we have to remember that every free website exists to earn money in some way; the gathering of information to resell to companies being a very profitable one. Google has been tracking your behavior online, but you may not be as aware because the evidence isn’t presented the same way.
Will People Prefer Facebook’s Search?
Millions of people are already on Facebook every day, but will they switch over from Google as their browser to perform every search on Facebook? The latest Facebook commercials are now showing Facebook home for mobile phones.
Graph Search is impressive: the sheer number of subcategories that allow you to narrow down your search is something Google hasn’t done. It’s a great way to divvy up the room at the top of the listings, rather than show irrelevant content and worry about algorithm updates to correct the problem.
The power of social will likely be driven by a business decision on Google’s part. Currently, Google Plus is years behind Facebook in regular users but they are finding new ways to drive people to it. Webmasters have long been waiting for a search engine to stand up to Google’s traffic sending potential, but up until now, we haven’t been able to measure Facebook fan conversions the same way we do clicks from the SERPs.
Is Social Better?
Yes and no.
Yes, because it’s a true measure of natural like or dislike of website content. The links don’t contain keywords and the traffic to your website is from people who are generally interested or are taking the advice of someone they know or trust.
No, because there are still plenty of authorative businesses out there playing catch up with the well-established businesses on Facebook. They might even have better quality content on their websites, but are not as popular because they got a late start. As more and more businesses set up their Facebook profiles as soon as they set up their businesses, we should see an improvement, at least on a local level.
And, no, because if a person with a lot of fans likes something but is not any type of authority in the niche he is liking or sharing, his vote should not count more than someone who is an established authority in that field. I would trust a like or share of financial website shared by an accountant more than one shared by a cook.
But, perhaps social will get there. Facebook has already helped make anonymity online a passing fad. Now, it just needs to take accountability and authority to the next level.
And we’ll have to see if Google can top Graph Search. Leave it to the internet king to think of something to secure their throne.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Theresa Happe works with BuyDomains.com where businesses can buy domains in any niche for national and local website creation.