The Facebook Like button may just seem like a great way to share your favorite web stories with friends, but there’s more to the puzzle than you may think. Facebook has announced Open Graph search, an option which allows the site to search the web based off semantic (user chosen) website information, then display that information in your Facebook search results (on a small basis at the moment).
The new system could allow Facebook to more quickly and accurately gather website information than Google, while providing content users want to read, while forcing websites to pair up with Facebook in order to serve their nearly half a billion strong user base.
Unlike Google which sends out “Google Bots” to “crawl” the web, Facebook makes websites come to them. Don’t want to use Facebook Share or Like buttons? That’s fine, you just won’t show up in Facebook search. As stated at FastCompany:
“It doesn’t need a massive and constantly updating infrastructure to index the Web, Web masters will do its work for it.”
Facebook’s Open Graph search also doesn’t rely on keyword-based links, instead allowing users to give webpages authority, while providing new data only based on what’s worth examining. Facebook could literally get rid of, or at least greatly cut back on the number of junk pages displayed by ensuring top user voted or “liked” data is chosen. Because Facebook branded items are used on sites willing to have their content shared, it also gives the company a one-up on traditional search engines which only receiving branding from specific companies they partner with.
Open Graph search also means ranking can be given in real time for websites, ensuring quality is managed by top sites so they can continue to dominate SERP. If there’s a hotel that offers an amazing stay, users will “like” them and they’ll end up at the top of Facebook search results (or so I would assume), while unshared crappy sites linger on the 50th page of results, never to be seen or heard from again.
There is a few issues with Facebook search strategy at this time. How does someone possibly like a story about a school shooting or the death of a child. Many sites simply won’t rank well due to the type of content, regardless of how good or socially relevant the content may be.
It should be noted that Facebook hasn’t come out and specifically said they will be jumping full force into the search market, instead providing more relevant searches at this time based on your own likes and the likes of people in your network, but if anyone can get semantic search right and change the course of how searches are conducted it’s a company with nearly half a billion active users.
What do you think about the idea of Open Graph Search as a replacement for Google? Would you be willing to add Facebook web searches as yet another reason you log onto Facebook all throughout the day?