Study: SEO Matters for Facebook Pages as 34% of External Referral Traffic Comes From Search

Search makes up 34% of all external referral traffic to Facebook Pages, with Google 27.5% coming from Google, according to a six month study of 1,000 Pages by analytics provider PageLever. This means Facebook Page admins should be concerned with search engine optimization when naming Pages, filling in fields on the Info tab, posting content, and placing links to their Pages on websites.

The study also shows a high variance in how much traffic is sourced from search, indicating some Pages do much better at SEO than others and that there is a high potential for gain if Pages execute a smart SEO strategy.

Through its APIs, Facebook shares data about internal and external referral traffic of Pages with their admins. PageLever used data on 1,000 Pages with more than 10,000 fans between January 1st and June 30th, 2011 to conduct the study.

Internal sources include links in the news feed, profiles, as well as Facebook’s internal search engine which has shown to account for the bulk of internal traffic sent to Pages. Overall, external referral traffic only accounts for an average of 27.8% of total traffic to Pages, and those with over a million fans see closer to 8% of their traffic come from outside Facebook.com. In addition to search, external referral traffic is sourced from official websites for businesses, blogs, and other social networks such as Twitter.

Still, the amount of external traffic coming from search is enough to make it worthwhile for Page admins to consider SEO. Optimizing for Google PageRank should be their priority as the other top search engines contribute much less traffic, with Yahoo delivering 4.1% and Bing delivering 2.3 of total external referral traffic.

While trying to court Google PageRank, admins should consider whether they have the best possible name and URL for their Page. They should look to publish links to their website frequently, and have their website reciprocate by posting links to the Page wherever appropriate.

Pages should employ these basic SEO strategies to make sure anyone trying to them from outside of Facebook.com can do so without having to wade through other search results. By combining SEO efforts with compelling default landing tabs that encourage visitors to Like them, Pages can convert this search traffic into additional fans.

A closer look at key Facebook Page search engine optimization strategies can be found in the Facebook Marketing Bible, Inside Network’s comprehensive guide to marketing and advertising through Facebook. 

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