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Facebook Looks To Improve News Feed Content Quality

facebook-icon 1In an announcement at the end of last week, Facebook tells us that they continue to work to upgrade the quality of content that shows up in the News Feed of users.

The intro to the post lays out the matter at hand pretty succinctly:

Our goal is to show the right content to the right people at the right time so they don’t miss the stories that are important to them. As part of that we want to make sure that the best quality content is being produced, surfaced and shared. Our latest update to the News Feed ranking algorithm helps ensure that the organic content people see from Pages they are connected to is the most interesting to them.

That is certainly a best case scenario. In order to find out more about what goes into making a news item one that is worthy of News Feed placement, Facebook asked a lot of questions of thousands of users. These questions included

- Is this timely and relevant content?
- Is this content from a source you would trust?
- Would you share it with friends or recommend it to others?
- Is the content genuinely interesting to you or is it trying to game News Feed distribution? (e.g., asking for people to like the content)
- Would you call this a low quality post or meme?
- Would you complain about seeing this content in your News Feed?

It’s the next paragraph that is most interest because it gives the usual ‘out’ which all companies have to have since they are promoting something as ‘new and improved’ but that never means that it is doing all it can do at the time. In other words, while the changes are being trumpeted as a better News Feed there is still work to be done. Note the last sentence off the following excerpt (our emphasis added).

We used the results of this survey to build a new machine learning system to detect content defined as high quality. The system uses over a thousand different factors, such as how frequently content from a certain Page is reported as low quality (e.g., hiding a Page post), how complete the Page profile is, and whether the fan base for a particular Page overlaps with the fan base of other known high quality Pages. Coming up with an algorithm to detect this is complex, and we will continue to refine it as we get more feedback.

So what’s it all mean? It depends. The proof is always in the pudding as they say. If you see a marked improvement in your feed then it worked for you. As for those creating content on pages, there were a few brief words of advice in the post as well. Not earth shattering but, then again, most things that are really important are not much more than basic blocking and tackling which we all tend to overlook. In other words, the more basic the better.

The bottom line is that your Page strategy should still stay the same: produce high quality content and optimize for engagement and reach. You can do this by focusing on these tips when creating your Page posts:

- Make your posts timely and relevant
- Build credibility and trust with your audience
- Ask yourself, “Would people share this with their friends or recommend it to others?”
- Think about, “Would my audience want to see this in their News Feeds?”

So best of luck getting the best content in your News Feed and trying to get your content into the News Feeds of your followers. It’s a game of cat and mouse that will likely give you same feeling as trying to figure out exactly what Google wants does to most folks.