Facebook Search – Open Graph

This is my first post on SEOWizz and you may have heard Tim mention me before as the guy who jazzed up the blog. My name is David my primary job is managing a small new media business and Tim has kindly invited me to share some information on something that has become a bit of a forte for me and my business which is social media.

Just over a month ago Mark Zuckerberg & co also known as Facebook dropped a bit of a game changer at their annual F8 conference. The announcement of Open Graph has created a whole new layer to Facebook’s existence and functionality as it moves another step closer to becoming the first true semantic search engine. Before I get into that let me break down the contents of Open Graph.

Open Graph API

The API is a piece of web-based software that allows the interaction and communication between websites, their pages (objects), and the Facebook database (Open Graph). It’s both an attempt to allow webmasters to better inform Facebook of their content and allow them to build an even more content-rich social network. Let’s say you went to watch Strictly Come Dancing on BBC iPlayer or something on 4OD and by doing so automatically allowed the API to access your information on Facebook, it could then recommend alternative shows to watch based on your favorite film and television listings on your public profile and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Social Tools

Facebook has made the API and basic tools so that developers can very easily and cost-efficiently take full benefit from the new system. Within hours plugins were popping up left right and center for all of the popular content management systems. The most employed thus far is the vast array of different “Like” buttons you can install on every page and/or post on your website. This tool allows people to “Like” content for the first time outside of the confinements of Facebook and with the action “Like” feeling far less of a commitment than to subscribe or become a fan the result is far higher conversions while an even greater commitment is now made as the item or object in question now appears on said users Facebook Wall and in their friends News Feeds.

One of the benefits of Open Graph is its simplification of the communication and linking relationship between Facebook and websites by eliminating the need to log in on-site to like it. The only time you will be required to log in is to share additional information and really interact which currently only some of the larger sites are making use of. See the Social Tools.

Open Graph Protocol

Another feature that has been developed into a zero-maintenance plugin is the Open Graph Protocol. It appears using the new FB metadata is a way for both Facebook to drill down the web content types better and give webmasters the ability to better categorize their business or service, allowing you to give every page on your website aka “object” a specific type. A full list of the object types can be seen in Open Graph Protocol and include types such as song, tv show, website, blog, and even as niche as a person, city, restaurant, album, school, band, and activity.

The example below is a screenshot from one of our sites and as you can see the fb meta is published in the image below. This can be synchronized with the page on my website where pretty much anything from a user profile to a group will display some basic object meta. It’s funny how one minute no one cares about meta and then all of a sudden Facebook, the second largest website is reinventing it, and if that wasn’t enough even the peer-to-peer sharing service previously known as Azureus is using meta for its cross-search engine media search.

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