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Facebook Graph: What You Need to Know

Is Facebook Graph set to unseat Google as the king of search? Is Facebook Graph actually a search engine?

Affiliates and SEOs have been batting around these kinds of questions ever since Facebook announced the launch of their new social search engine earlier this year.

To help CAP readers understand what Facebook Graph is, and is not, we’ve put together a few Graph basics every affiliate should know.

Is Graph a Search Engine?

The biggest question most of us have about Graph is also the most basic; what is it? Facebook Graph is a search engine that’s seeking to redefine how search engines work. Results from a Graph search will be drawn from Facebook’s vast database of user likes and posts.

On the end user side, Graph allows for searches to be crafted with a unique social media edge. If you want to see, photos from Spring Break 1995, or friends from Ohio who like Popeye’s Fried Chicken, Graph can return those results.

What are the Limitations of Graph?
Graph is a very different animal than standard search engines because it’s drawing from Facebook, rather than the Web-at-large.

The problem with this model is that Facebook likes are hardly an authoritative source. Plenty of people hit the like button for product pages, but what does a like really mean? Is knowing that 15 of your friends like Nutella or the TV show Different Strokes going to be useful?

Facebook is also facing a problem with privacy, As Fast Company’s Guillame Decugis points in a blog post titled, The Big Problem With Facebook’s Graph Search: Privacy.

According to Decugis, as long as Graph’s search parameters are limited to social networks, it’s not going to be very useful. On the other hand, opening up Graph to the Internet-at-large creates some major privacy headaches for a company that’s already had plenty of them already.

Is SEO a Factor on Graph?

It’s still pretty early to tell how affiliates can optimize their Facebook pages for maximum exposure on Graph. It seems as though some optimization of posts is possible, but with a limited user base, it’s really tough to tell.

SEOs should note that Bing will provide backup results for Graph, so now could be a good time to beef up your Bing SEO efforts.

Is Graph a Google Killer?

Will Facebook Graph unseat Google in a Game of Thrones style search bloodbath? Not anytime soon. Changing end-user behavior is pretty tough (just ask Microsoft) and Google is very good at keeping its customers under the Google umbrella.

Facebook is rolling out Graph slowly and refining it as they go along. If they can get their billion users to buy in, Graph’s future could be pretty bright.

Is Facebook Graph a game-changer or a flash-in-the-pan? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.