Lately my company has been putting a lot of time into our Facebook page and status updates. We want to encourage people to share links to our site in their status posts, but before we make that push, we’re hoping you can settle this question: Will links from status posts and fan pages help our company’s rank in Google?
A: Most Facebook status post links will not directly benefit your site’s search engine ranks.
Here’s why: the majority of Facebook individuals’ status posts are not indexable by search engines, because they’re hidden behind a login. That means, even if a status post contains a link to your website, Google, Bing, and Yahoo! won’t see that link, and won’t be able to apply any “juice” to the page on your site that is linked.
Fortunately, there are some exceptions to this rule. Links from your company’s own page (and your company’s own status posts), from other company pages, and from group or event pages, will typically be indexable by search engine and able to pass link power over to your site. (Don’t hold your breath for these links to bring a big rankings boost – most Facebook pages won’t have much link power to give). And, some Facebook users may choose privacy settings that allow search engine indexing of their status posts, which means those links will also have the ability to pass authority to your site.
Even if Facebook status links don’t directly affect SEO power, there are important direct and indirect benefits. The most obvious direct benefit is the enormous word-of-mouth power that status posts carry. We sometimes measure this benefit for our clients by setting up segments in Google Analytics that look at Facebook-sourced traffic to determine whether this audience is more likely to engage with the site and (in the case of ecommerce sites) make a purchase. There are also possible indirect benefits: As the awareness of your site is increased, it could gain links in search-engine-readable places such as blogs or social bookmarking sites.
By the way, in case you’re wondering, links from Twitter are tagged with “nofollow” attributes so that they, like Facebook status post links, probably don’t directly affect search engine ranks. However, tweets have the advantage of being fully indexed in Google, and tweets get top billing in Google’s real-time search results.
Real-time web indexing isn’t going away anytime soon, and we can only see the importance of online word-of-mouth marketing growing in coming years. Your company’s on the right track! Keep measuring the results with analytics, and keep up the good work!