Posted June 25, 2010 9:23 am by with 6 comments

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It seems to be clearer than ever that Facebook is really making a run at Google around search. The announcement that “all Open Graph enabled web pages will show up in search when a user likes them” this new area for search abuse optimization is now becoming a reality.

All Facebook reports

Earlier this week we published about the new Facebook SEO that’s possible via the Open Graph, but now it’s clear that this is the beginning of Facebook’s internet search strategy. The race is now on for publishers to optimize their sites for Facebook’s search engine.

I can’t decide if this is a good or bad thing. I just don’t see how Facebook and bing are going to be a formidable opponent to Google. The trouble lies in the fact that anything that is based on end users opinions is ripe for abuse and manipulation. In order for search to be truly helpful in a broad stroke manner I believe that there needs to be as much objectivity in the results set as possible. Objectivity opens up more options to searchers because it allows for a wider scope of results to be considered by the engines themselves, not just the musings of the general public that, quite honestly, is just trying to be cool rather than helpful.

All Facebook continues

Under this system “link baiting” will give rise to “like baiting”, which is how Facebook determines the relevance of information. This has become a full-scale attack on Google on all fronts at this point as Facebook has officially entered the internet search market. While many of the details of the Open Graph were initially revealed at f8, it wasn’t clear what Facebook’s complete strategy would be and how big of a threat this would be to Google.

While we suggested that the like had just replaced the link, it has now become abundantly clear what Facebook’s intentions are. Facebook wants to launch the social semantic search engine as we alluded to during f8. Now that the search results are officially showing up as Facebook search results, the war has begun.

I think that before full scale war is declared you will need to see just how serious a contender Facebook will be for search. A few questions I have include: Just how many of the 500 million users Facebook claims are actual users of the service? That is important because the actual number of people that involved in the “system” of the Open Graph (those who understand what a Like button is) may create a skewed view of the world from a search perspective. If the Like button is the major determining factor of a search result showing up, I feel that is a very weak criteria for basing rankings in search.

I am really looking for opposing views here to explain how this really is a challenge to Google. I personally would never value a Facebook search result page that is based on the OpenGraph and bing results, over a Google result set. It just seems like a mash-up of two inferior ways to tell people what is important or relevant. Also, the room for this to be abused is just too great. Lastly, if Facebook handles search like it handles privacy this could be a gigantic train wreck in waiting.

Would love to hear opinions on this one. Have a great weekend.

  • This is a very interesting take on the open graph. The full potential of like is outlined here in terms of search, but even with this in mind it does not have a complete model that will it allow it to overtake traditional search. The three main contexts people search in are to do Research, find Information or to Purchase something for the business types of B2C and B2B. I do not see how Facebook in it’s current state captures this very well.

  • I need to gestate more before I’m willing to opine on the usefulness of “like” based search, but I can’t stop wondering about whether or not Facebook has the infrastructure to pose a real threat to Google. I am under the impression that they don’t own or operate a single data center and search or more processor-intensive than sharing. Doesn’t that put FB at a distinct, practical disadvantage or is that a moot point?

  • I think the above would put Facebook at a disadvantage, but the amount of users even if only half are active and knowledgeable about the like button can have a big impact on the changing search landscape. It is hard for Google to deny a business that has that much clout as a competitor if they decide to try to and make a real push at the search space.

  • Opinions to become objective results ? This is not good … The like button should be and stay what it is … a personnal opinion from someone … or a devilish way of self promoting something.

    If social media becomes a platform for encyclopedia type results then the whole internet search will go heck …

  • Despite the fact that commentluv is a superb addon, I feel its nevertheless a debatable subject that nofollow links truly make a difference. Sometimes it nearly appears as if it depends upon the web site ; if its a nothing blog then the nofollowed link is nearly meaningless, but if its from a excessive authority website (comparable to hubpages or ezine articles for example), then it may be fairly sweet although to achieve any PR upsurge you’ll need dofollow links.

  • Cool post, Thanks for sharing! Will definitely be returning again for a read!