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SEO Tips for Facebook Posted On: 04/06/2011 Last Updated: 04/07/2011

This guide will be discussing what you as a small business owner can be doing to increase your overall presence and visibility on Facebook. Traditional Search Engine Optimization (SEO) deals with being seen and found on the web via search engines. In this case, you can think of Facebook as sort of a "walled garden." Much of what happens on Facebook is kept solely between friends or networks via privacy settings. Search engines can and do find things like fan and application pages; however, the focus of this guide is how to increase your visibility and presence via Facebook's internal search.

Facebook's internal search can be found on the top right of every Facebook page. As this community grows, it is likely that this search function will be used more and more, so it's a good idea to be familiar with it.

When a user searches within Facebook, they are taken to a page where they can filter results. Here is a search I did for "Halloween costume," filtering the results to show everybody. Any page and any profile with unrestricted privacy settings has the potential to show up in this search, however, people in my network will have preferred placement (more on that later).

As you can see, ranking is very much based on the time of the posting. The first result when I did this search was an Etsy user's fan page promoting a "Retro Halloween Costume." As you can see from the image, this Facebook user shared a link to their item on their fan page 14 seconds before I performed the search.

To help you appear higher up in these searches, here are a few recommendations to increase your visibility:

1. Open yourself up! Change your privacy settings to allow "Everyone" to be able to see your profile, wall, updates, etc. If you are nervous about opening your profile up to the public, then consider making a separate profile on Facebook as an artist/crafter. This is allowed by Facebook's Terms of Service so long as you use your real name and that it is you opening the profile. Other than that there is (currently) nothing that says you can't have one profile for your personal life and one for your business/professional life. Use your "professional" profile to send out updates about your crafts, join relevant groups, accept every friend request, and market yourself. Use your personal profile to keep in touch with friends and family.

2. If you do make a business page, it still needs to be about you. While your privacy is a valid concern, you should not be afraid to have a picture of yourself as your profile picture. You should list the city your living in (networks are important on Facebook), and you should still talk to people as yourself. While you don't necessarily want your customers reading updates about your family, you still need to be personable and friendly. When we've conducted surveys about buying handmade online, one of the biggest factors for buyers is connecting with the person they're buying from. They want to feel like they are supporting a real person, don't miss an opportunity to connect with your customers.

3. Join a large, relevant network.This will likely be a college you are an alumnus of, the city you are living in, or possibly your workplace. This is the window that popped up when I set my"primary" network to Tucson, AZ:

The Tucson network has 168,670+ people in it. If I am part of a network, then anybody else who has that network set as their primary will find me first in relevant search results. You should also notice that "pages" was not listed as one of the preferred search results. Pages already return frequently in searches for exact matches,so you don't have to worry about them being part of a network. You do want to make sure that your profile page (or business profile page) is set the most beneficial network it can be set to.

1. On your fan page and profile/business profile, make the most of your updates, wall posts, links, notes, etc. Facebook search is really just a search through people's interactions and updates. When you change your status, post a link, make a wall post, or initiate any discussion/conversation try to think about a good keyword that you could used in the title or body of that update. As you saw in the search for Halloween Costume, the Facebook user posted a link on their page's wall using "Halloween costume" to describe that link. When I did a search and set the filter to "everyone," she was the first result. If she had called it a "Vintage Dress-up Outfit" I would have never seen her link.

2. Make use of the Tabs that you have available on your page:

If you have a blog that you already write posts for you can post the same information under the "notes" tab. The photos tab is a great place to share a few shots of your work place (we're always hearing from customers that they want to see the spaces used by crafters and artists to make their work). Share some information about your business in the Info tab. You could copy and paste any kudos you have into the"reviews tab," and of course there's the ArtFire Facebook Kiosk which pulls items right from your studio and lets you sell straight from Facebook.

3. Interact! Social networking is about interaction, building networks of friends and acquaintances. Fan other people's pages; take part in discussions on walls. Start an event for your local network. The best part about "marketing" on Facebook is that it shouldn't feel like work, it should be fun and engaging. If you use Facebook to its fullest potential you should be able to reach people who come back to your page because you are interesting, because you add to discussions, because you posted a great link or video. Facebook, just like twitter or blogs, doesn't tolerate constant promotion (spam) well. If you make an honest effort to make friends and get to know your customers you'll be doing more for your business than spam/non-stop promotion ever will.