Can Facebook help you with your author profile and your overall web ‘presence’? Can you truly optimize your Facebook fan page for search engines? Yes you can!
Facebook allows authors to have a vanity page on their social networking site. It is a great place to create a hub to other information about your books or your classes or to create links to other sites that are related to you. It is different from a personal page as it should be representative of you professionally and your brand and not your personal life.
The first step to optimizing your Facebook page for search is to identify the best keywords you should use (have you heard this before). Keywords should be selected on the basis of how potential readers who have never heard of your name but who need or want your information. Keywords are tricky to pick out but with a little help from Google’s keyword tools you can uncover not only the right words and phrases but the search volume itself. Try and find good keywords and link them to your name as you choose your Vanity URL.
Make sure your Facebook Page URL represents the identity of you and your genre or niche. They frown on black hat behaviors so keep it above board and choose a username that represents you (Like: Shannon Evans Author Platforms)!
Once you have investigated and selected the best keywords and selected your vanity page URL it is time to concentrate on the actual search optimization of your Facebook page. Here are some general guidelines for on page optimization:
- Add keywords to your “about” box
- Place your professional website/blog link URL in your profile
- Add more than one URL, include your Twitter link, LinkedIn profile link, etc.
- Publish interesting content on a regular basis that is related to your niche audience that is not salesy
- Use keywords in everything you post if possible
- Be social, interact, evoke comments
- Add video from YouTube, add photos or book covers, your latest podcast or book trailer, etc.
- Find links related to your site content.
- Put your Facebook page URL on your email, newsletter, website, etc.
- Be personal, it’s not all business after all just don’t be too personal!
The “About” text is the place to pack your description with keywords as close to the top of the page as possible. You are limited by the amount of text you can place in here but it is still the best place to add custom text. There is a 250 character limit so use highly selective keywords in your text!
The “info” tab is a critical place to include more keywords/phrases as well as your links to your website and other social networks where you have a presence. This is essentially where the descriptive metadata for your fan page is pulled by the search engines and really boosts your content score.
Facebook has a high page rank with all the search engines therefore it is critical to have your website listed on your Facebook page to provide this valuable link. To have your website displayed on your main profile page access the information box on the left side of your profile page. Click on the yellow pencil and you will be able to edit the box. Check the box “website” for your site to be displayed. Now visitors can go directly to your website. Here are some things to add to this box:
- Local Search Information– City, state, and zip code if you work from home or only have PO Box.
- Company Data– Mission statement, classes you teach, services like workshop presentation, keynotes, etc
- URL– add links to your website, blog, and other social networking personal pages
Facebook lets you create “static FBML” (Facebook Markup Language) boxes and tabs for large volumes of content, images, or video. The more content you have on your page the greater your content density score with Google; however, keep in mind that each tab you create has a separate URL from the search engine perspective. To add a custom tab or box to your page:
- In the search box on the top right of your Facebook page type in “static fbml”
- You will go to a page of listings. Select the “Static FBML” application button.
- A new page will open and on the top left side are two options. Click the “add to my page” icon.
- Choose the page where you wish to add the custom content box or tab.
- Close the dialog box and go to your Fanpage. Just below your profile photo click “edit Page”
- A new page will open. In the application list is the application “FBML 1.” Click on the pencil beside it.
- Select “edit”
- A new page will open with 2 fields – “Box Title” and “FBML”. Name the box or tab with a Keyword related to the content you will place there. If this will be a Tab Title you will be limited to 10 characters.
- Click “save changes”
- To return to your application settings page click “edit” at the top of your page.
- Click the pencil next to the name you selected for the FBML application and then choose “application settings.”
- To add the FBML you just created as a box select “add” next to the “box” option.
- To add the FBML you just created as a tab select “add” next to the “tab” option.
Status updates are a great place to post direct links to your website; however, you want to do that judiciously. No one likes to be sold to or constantly pitched. Since Google really likes pages that link to relevant sites, posting relevant related links near the top of your page’s structure are legitimate Google boosters for your Facebook page.
Post the raw URL in the status update frame or use the “attach link” feature. Posting the raw URL Facebook automatically links the text to the URL. The resulting anchor text is what it is, you can’t change it; however, the URL is linked directly to the destination page and does not have Facebook.com as part of the menu bar on the destination page.
If you use the “attach link” feature Facebook pulls the title, body, and any images from your page and creates a suggested image and text to the side of your page’s link. This is great for increasing your keyword density too by changing the anchor text before “sharing” your link. This link will go through a share URL that places the destination URL in an iframe that has the Facebook menu bar at the top. It will also include a share feature as well as a place for comments.
Content is still king so what you post beyond URLs can influence your searchability. Highly optimized keyword rich content is useless if it is not interesting and varied. Photos are terrific but add keyword rich captions perhaps with a geo-targeted keyword for additional search opportunities. Post an event and include text and keywords as well. Create a discussion forum for those events and to discuss genre and book reviews, etc. All the content you share on your Facebook pages is indexable by search engines.
There are even some offsite things you can do for your Facebook page. One of these is getting inbound links from you website and vice versa. Reciprocal related linking from related and authoritative websites help your PageRank.
Put a Facebook badge or widget on your website to encourage your website followers to link back to your Facebook page. Links from other Facebook pages are also a form of inbound links to your page. The more fans you have the more links you have to your Facebook page thus adding to your overall search presence.
Encourage your followers to comment and discuss topics on your page. Get them to “like” content on your page as that links their name back to their profile page thus creating yet another back link. When fans comment back on your page from their Facebook account, Google sees their entry as a reciprocal link. This increases your ‘footprint’ on the web. Reciprocal linking is heavily weighted by some search engines.
SEO is important to all that you post on the Internet related to your author platform. Growing your social media connections on Facebook is greatly aided by simple search engine optimization tactics. You can do a lot to maximize your author platform exposure to search engines through your Facebook page.