Facebook the next Wikipedia?

Is this blog about Facebook.

No. It just so happens that Facebook is big (like Oscar Meyer big!) and I’ve been having a number of Facebok related conversations lately…

And this blog IS about the conversations.

So, Over on MarketingConversation.co I’ve been talking some more about Facebook opening up to Search engine traffic and what may or may not happen.  I find it an interesting topic and wanted to get into it a bit here.

First, if you haven’t seen what Facebook profiles will look like in Google, click here for the original post I made, or here for the image.

These are the comments in response to an article Jonathan wrote about the Search benefits of FaceBook opening up:

3 Responses to “SEO Shows It’s Strength”

  1. Michael Valiant Said:Agreed (that Facebook will enjoy positioning in the SERPS).

    But I doubt Facebook opened up their walls for the SEO benefit (although I’m sure they’ll consider it icing on the cake).

    Facebook is positioning itself as a platform for life & business and they understand the key concepts of the new eCommerce.

    To put it simply, in Facebook’s terms, Friend don’t buy from Friends

    Michael Valiant

  2. Jonathan Trenn, on October 1st, 2007 at 9:18 pm Said:True, indeed. But making it searchable makes in more likely that more people will join as they see profiles of people they know.
  3. Michael Valiant Said:It will be interesting to see how it plays out over the next year. I’ve already seen a few facebook profiles pop up in Google, but since I don’t know the people, it wouldn’t entice me to join facebook (assuming I wasn’t already there of course)

    There’s enough link power to possibly make facebook the next wikipedia, in so far as in 8 months you may see Facebook profile pages popping up for all sorts of searches; but I doubt it.

    Facebook profile pages aren’t interlinked with each other. And in Google’s eyes, they are going to be very similar from one to the next, so duplicate filtering may come into it.

    Also, outside the tech saavy 20% – Do people actually search for other people (friends and family) on Google? (the only time finding a facebook profile would actually be useful!)

    Michael Valiant

Of course I WAS wrong about the accounts not being interlinked.  For some reason I didn’t think that the ‘view friends’ link was included on these forward facing profiles, but I was wrong.

Given that I was wrong how does it change things?

On one hand the massive amounts of interlinking will allow Google to work their way through the Facebook database quickly and very likely everyones Facebook profile will appear withing the SERPs for their own names fairly quickly (I know mine is already on page one – but only 1 of 2 [Yes – I have 2 Facebook profiles! The reason why is a whole other story}).

And like wikipedia – which seems to be everywhere in the SERPS sometimes – Facebook profiles may soon start appearing more and more in regular searches.

But there are a few significant differences to consider.  First, unlike in Wikipedia, every Facebook profile page contains the same thing, but on a different URL.  The ONLY difference between my Facebook profile page and yours is the name, image and the link to the list of friends; I’m pretty sure some duplicate content filtering rules will kick in somewhere along the line for this problem.

Second, what’s the benefit?  I can see how it may help  Facebook with increased exposure… but what’s the benefit to the end users?  Not much.

Does it help me to have my profile page in Google?  Only to the extent that it gives me 1 more tool to pad out my branded SERP.  If people were looking for my name specifically anyway then it wouldn’t really matter if there were a facebook profile page or not – the would have found me anyway -

But really, I’d worry more about getting traffic to my blog and have them find my facebook from there.

 Does it help Web Surfers to have my profile page in Google?  Possibly IF they are specifically looking for me.  But again, I’d just assume they find my site instead.

IF the profile pages start showing up in random searches then NO, it’s going to be nothing more than SPAM in the search engines.  Imagine these scenarios if you will:

  • Man needs a fix-it-guy to work at his house and instead finds the well ranked Facebook profile of ‘John Carpenter’
  • Woman looks for a cake recipe for her sons upcoming birthday but instead finds the well ranked Facebook profile of ‘Cindy Baker’

Do those Facebook profiles help our searchers in an way?  No!!

Hopefully we won’t see Facebook clutter up the SERPs too much but only time will tell.

One thought on “Facebook the next Wikipedia?”

  1. The odd thing is that it seemed that the most important reason stated that Facebook should lower its walls was that creative work – blogs, videos, etc. could not be accessed from the ‘outside’.

    Simply seeing a person’s photo with links to poking them or asking to be their friend or seeing their list of friends is somewhat uselss.

    It shows that Facebook is in a dilemna here…they way they are set up still appeals the the college crowd, but those that are pushing for more openness are the business crown.

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