Unlocking the Power of Facebook Search

Confession time: In 2013, when Facebook introduced Graph Search, I felt somewhat let down. The path from Facebook Graph Search to my business page to my website was long and unlikely to be completed by many. I wasn’t the only one disappointed; Facebook Graph Search had its limitations. In 2014, Facebook addressed the mobile issue and introduced keyword functionality, bringing joy to marketers and investigators who used Facebook Graph Search extensively.

However, in 2019, amid privacy concerns, Facebook quietly removed many Graph Search features, focusing on improving keyword search. For consumers, this means only content they want to share publicly remains public. For marketers, improved keyword search makes all public content easily accessible, including Pages (which are always public), public groups, public profiles, and public posts. The great news is that mastering Facebook search can help optimize your content for better visibility among your ideal audience, a valuable Facebook marketing strategy. Let’s explore this further.

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How Facebook’s Graph Search Functions Continue with Keyword

Search Even though Facebook’s Graph Search is officially gone, it used to be great at finding old posts from friends and pages.

Marketers can still benefit because people can discover your content if it’s relevant.

Plus, you can search for people with the problems you solve.

How Facebook Search Works Now

Facebook’s latest update allows keyword searches for people, posts, photos, places, pages, groups, apps, and events.

For instance, you can search “Shirley wedding” for pictures from your cousin’s wedding. You’ll see people you know first and public results, including nearby ones.

Note: To find specific content, like Shirley’s wedding photos, you might need to try variations like “Shirley’s wedding pictures.”

Images often rank well on Facebook, so they might appear first.

As a marketer, you might not search for weddings. Let’s use someone’s blog page as an example. Type it in the search bar on desktop or mobile.

On the desktop, it’s at the top left.

Facebook Search

On mobile, tap the magnifying glass at the top right.

Facebook may return results grouped by relevance to you, but they may not be recent.

Facebook Search

You can filter results on the left by post types:

  • All.
  • Posts.
  • People.
  • Photos.
  • Videos.
  • Marketplace.
  • Pages.
  • Places.
  • Groups.
  • Events.

The mobile version has filters at the top but gives the same results.

Why does this matter for marketers? Understanding search helps you optimize content or find specific posts or phrases.

Using Facebook Search Filters

On Facebook’s desktop and mobile apps, selecting the posts filter reveals extra filters.

These let you dig deeper, refining the Facebook search for recent posts, posts you’ve viewed, or posts from a specific year or place. You can filter content by source:

  • Anyone.
  • Yourself.
  • Your friends.
  • Your groups and pages.
  • Public posts.

On mobile, you find these options at the top right.

Surprisingly, not many results show up for the Build My Plays blog. This is because most of our posts don’t include “Build My Plays blog” in the text.

Let’s try another search with “help with Build My Plays”. Now you might find people seeking Build My Plays assistance or experience.

Indeed, a Facebook search reveals a group for people seeking Build My Plays advice, in addition to the Build My Plays public group.

Who Can Use Facebook Search?

Facebook search is mainly for people logged into their accounts on the desktop or mobile apps. Although you might find some Facebook pages on search engines, using Facebook’s search to the fullest requires you to be logged in.

This makes sense because your search results depend on how you use Facebook and connect with people.

Who Can See Your Personal Page?

When Facebook Graph Search started, people could find almost anything, but that’s no longer the case, as we mentioned earlier.

With Facebook’s increased focus on privacy, if you set your page as private or for friends only, your posts should be visible only to that audience. While some older posts may have become public unintentionally, recent ones won’t.

Now is a good time to review your privacy settings to ensure only the content you want to be public is visible.

5 Ways to Use Facebook Search as a Marketer

Even though Facebook Graph Search is no longer available, you can still use Facebook’s search to reach your target audience. Here are five steps to make the most of it:

1. Understand Your Audience and Their Needs

Before you start using Facebook search, get to know your audience better. Learn where they spend time, what they’re looking for, and their questions. Here’s how:

  • Join groups your audience is in.
  • Pay attention to their questions.
  • Note the key phrases they use.
  • List the content you have that answers their questions.
  • Keep track of content ideas for future blogs or videos.
  • Engage with their posts and share your articles if allowed.

By engaging in groups your audience is part of, your content is more likely to show up when they use Facebook search. The algorithm will also favor your content.

Test this by sharing content between your personal and business pages, ensuring personal posts are public for easy discovery.

2. Strengthen Your Evergreen Content and Promotion

Old posts can still appear in today’s Facebook search if they remain relevant. To boost your Facebook click-through rate (CTR) over time, focus on creating and sharing evergreen blog posts and videos with links on Facebook.

Wondering what to create? Refer to the audience research we discussed earlier. By doing so, your posts will stay relevant when people use Facebook to search for evergreen topics in the future.

Additionally, this content is valuable for generating consistent traffic from Google, ensuring you cover all your organic traffic sources.

3. Improve Your Posts with Keywords, Titles, and Short Summaries

Recall our mention of Build My Plays’s blog earlier? Our posts often don’t contain the phrase “Build My Plays blog,” which can result in them not appearing in Facebook searches.

In today’s posts, the URL link is typically replaced by an auto-populated display photo with the page title. To include specific language, you should incorporate it within the post.

For example, in the image below, Shutterstock’s post on Facebook features link text absorbed into the URL preview. Alongside the link content, their post includes relevant keywords related to stock photos:

If you’re interested in Facebook post character count best practices, check out this article for guidance.

4. Boost Engagement with Diverse Content

On Facebook, the more interaction your posts receive, the more likely the algorithm will showcase them. Spice up your content with videos, reels, images, memes, and other engaging posts.

Your engaging content should target two distinct groups: your current followers and potential new followers. Each group requires slightly different approaches.

Engaging Your Current Followers

Facebook’s search is inclined to show results from pages, groups, and individuals you’ve previously engaged with. As a marketer, you may need to prioritize increasing Facebook engagement, even if it means fewer clicks.

How? Instead of inundating your feed with blog links, consider mixing in other types of posts or drop a post designed to spark responses, like the example below.

Remember, it’s not just about self-promotion; it’s about fostering interactions, delivering valuable content, and making people want to like and comment on your posts.

With this in mind, experiment with various post types that benefit your audience and encourage engagement. Engaging your current audience today increases the likelihood they’ll find you via Facebook search in the future, so give it a try and see the results.

Attracting New Followers

Boosting likes and comments on your posts isn’t just for nurturing your existing followers; it can also be a strategy for acquiring new ones through Facebook search.

Because Facebook search and the algorithm, in general, display content from your friends, including their liked or commented-on posts, it has the potential to help you reach their friends.

Once again, you’ll need to explore different methods for acquiring “friends of followers.” The approach will vary for each page and audience, but one idea is to create a blog post on a highly shareable and searchable topic.

The algorithm constantly evolves the best practices for engagement on Facebook posts. Therefore, Facebook search may become a crucial part of your marketing strategy.

My top advice? Start experimenting today.

5. Ensure Your Website Works Well on Mobile

This last tip applies not only to Facebook’s now mostly inactive Graph Search but also to the current Facebook search. Approximately 98.5% of Facebook’s users use the platform on mobile devices, so any links they open must be mobile-friendly.

And it’s not just Facebook users; as of October 2023, 56% of global web visits occurred on mobile devices. Therefore, your website should provide a similar experience on both mobile and desktop.

If your site isn’t mobile-friendly or responsive, your audience may quickly leave. It’s crucial to prevent this, as it can lead to a subpar user experience and an increase in your bounce rate, potentially harming your reputation with Google.

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