Thursday, December 17, 2009

Google and Facebook reach deal to include content into live search

Similar to the Twitter deal I blogged about on Tuesday, Google has reached a deal with Facebook to include some content created by its members into search results, effectively creating 'live' search. It appears that content will only be added that relates to 'hot topics' (again, similar to the Twitter deal), but that could easily change over time.

Now on the surface, this seems like a very big plus for businesses, especially ones that have a limited social media effort, or any that are only on Facebook. If the deal eventually branches out to incorporate ALL content created by Facebook members, then the SEO ramifications alone are huge.

But I think it's wise to consider one very big issue: You will be letting Facebook have control over your content. You already do, but as more money becomes involved, there could be more changes to how that content can be changed or controlled.

For example, a few weeks ago I was working with a client to do a promotion via the company's Facebook fan page. Right as we were in the final planning stages, Facebook changes their rules on promotion and giveaways, and instantly our idea had to be nixed. What about Rupert Murdoch's public spat with Google and his desire to pull all MySpace content from Google's search engine? What if your only social media presence and your network as a business was completely on MySpace, then that happened?

So this move has some very big potential advantages for companies that are active on Facebook, but I think the potential downsides must also be considered. I also think this solidifies that for the average business, the hub of their social media efforts should be on a platform where they have control of the content, such as a blog.

What do you think? Are the risks worth the reward for companies with this new deal?


Unknown said...


I think this is a VERY important point to bring up, and one that has the potential to get lost for some when considering where they should spend their social media time and money... what's the (literal) takeaway?

What if the site(s) they're using change or go down tomorrow? How does that affect their tactical plans?

For many, that equals disaster - and that's not a good thing for the consumers/interested parties/fans/conversation participants, OR the companies.

Stefano Maggi said...

I really think evaluating risks is a form of investment that companies will need to make - together with agencies - everyday more when thinking about dealing with Facebook projects.

So far, it's worth to invest in it, tomorrow, we will need to see and adapt according to project's goals and objectives.

Very good and interesting thinking, thanks for the post, Mack.

Rich Ullman said...

Hi Mack,
You're right. Facebook should certainly be a part of people's effort because of sheer size, but its a tactic, not a strategy, and it should not be at the center for any marketer.
The conversation about your brand is now determining your positioning, so you should not turn that over to someone else. Like riding a horse, you should hold the reigns and direct it. The hub you describe should be able to channel those conversations into and out of Facebook, curating as necessary; the relationships you develop should be yours to nurture. The insights generated should be owned by you, thus enabling you to better market your business and serve your customers.
DISCLOSURE: Ripple6 offers a platform to do this.


Facebook Managment said...

Live search on facebook would be amazing,cant wait for this.

Jonathan Saar said...

There are numerous ways to get your fans involved in your page beyond contests. We were considering the same thing as well.. posting a contest but now have to rethink it. What has worked for me was getting to know the fans as best that I can and posting items that are of interest to them and tagging their name to it. This new search feature will be a great benefit to those are consistent with what they post and add value to their page. Thanks for the post Mack.

Unknown said...

GREAT post Mack! Out of curiosity I "Googled" my name yesterday and was delighted to see that Live Search was working for searches on my name (not just major celebs)! This really does change the SEO world -- Great stuff!

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Tyrone said...

I would say Facebook has really gone great in promoting through fan profiles as you can easily be found in the search engines. Not only that because while promoting your market, you can also take note of the great relationships that you and your fans build while sharing similar interests so it's a bonus to be actively participating. Without that regular presence, you'll really be losing some of the changes that probably can increase advertising as they often vary with applications.

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WebFadds said...

Hi Mack & Colleagues -

Is SEO dead? Well if you're only considering it for your existing site... then it is less important now, compared to other marketing tactics. SEO is losing at the new LinkedIN Poll for best ROI marketing tactics in 2010:

SMM seems to be trumping SEO, but there's also SEO considerations for your content at, say, Facebook -- how and why will Google choose to rank your content there well? Also interesting that Google is adding direct response forms to search returns (beta) -- search now becomes a lead retrieval mechanism.

Finally, Mack... I'm working thru the the Inbound Marketing University Course -- thanks for your lecture on Business Blogging.

- Scott
WebFadds - *Optimize *Connect *Convert

Massy said...

Faebook is definitely a good tactic for social media.. but you obviously need more than that.. plus, facebook/twitter profiles can be taken from you at any moment, but your own domain is yours to keep forever...