What Facebook “Likes” Mean for Search & Reputation

Facebook "Likes" Mean More to Businesses Than Just Traffic

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It’s been nearly a week since Facebook rocked the world with its Open Graph announcements, and many of us are still wrapping our heads around all of the implications they have. I don’t think there’s any dispute that it’s a huge move, and that it’s important to pay attention to from a business perspective, but just what it means for businesses is still up in the air in some regards. Like Facebook itself, or even social media in general, we’re going to see more benefits (and possibly negatives) as time goes on, and more sites and applications harness the power of said Open Graph.

As those wheels turn in our heads, there is plenty of discussion already happening around the subject – not just the Open Graph and the issues related to it (open web ramifications, privacy, etc), but how we can indeed take advantage of it.


In a recent article we talked about why Facebook’s Open Graph and particularly its social plug-ins will be good to drive traffic. It’s pretty straightforward. The like and recommendation buttons are essentially different versions of the share buttons that people have been using to drive traffic for quite some time. The main difference is that instead of only showing up in the news feed only disappear shortly thereafter, they will remain on the user’s profile page for people to see in the future – a fixed link to your content.

Have you seen more traffic from Facebook’s buttons since they’ve launched? Let us know.


Facebook Pizza Search Search Engine Land contributing editor Greg Sterling makes some interesting points about the search implications of the whole thing:

However, the vision here is a network of discovery tools and information that operate higher up in the funnel than search: what are my friends doing, where are they eating, what do they recommend? This clearly doesn’t eliminate the need for search. But it does represent an alternative way in many cases to discover information.

Yet the mountains of data that Facebook will gain could improve Facebook search results and potentially the coming, new and improved Bing integration. At a simple level, if Facebook knows the most “Liked” sushi restaurants in New York and those liked by my social network it can show me that information in search results. That hypothetically makes Facebook search much more social and more of a “recommendations engine” than Google at this point.

Nobody’s saying Facebook is poised to replace Google, but the whole thing falls inline with the diversification of search we’ve been talking about a lot lately. Search is getting more diversified, meaning that people are using more and more applications to find the information they’re looking for. Facebook obviously plays a huge role in this. Also consider that Facebook’s search market share has been on the rise, and it stands to reason that will continue as more and more data becomes available as this Open Graph expands.

Do you see Facebook’s own search becoming more of a go-to place for finding information? Comment here.


Assuming that every business rushes to get like/recommend buttons from Facebook in the way that they would rush to claim a listing in Google’s Local Business Center (Now named Google Places), Facebook may become a very valuable place to find out the best businesses to go to for any given category.

As Sterling says on his Screenwerk blog, "It could do nothing in particular or it could build the single most effective local directory and search site that exists. This data will be more valuable than anything Google has or any individual local publisher-partner possesses. That includes Yelp, YPG or anyone else that joins the Open Graph and implements these new Facebook platform tools."

This is mostly forward thinking, and we don’t know what Facebook is going to do. It’s definitely something to keep eye on. Either way, local businesses are likely to attract fans from their areas with more friends from that area, who may in turn pass it to their friends in the area. Facebook has already been a great marketing tool for local businesses, and the Open Graph will only help in that regard.

Do you think Facebook is going to become increasingly important for local businesses? Share your thoughts.


Facebook’s latest changes have plenty of implications for reputation management. Likes and recommendations are potentially great for building a good reputation, but even while there is no dislike button (at least yet), a lack of likes/recommendations may reflect poorly on your brand, particularly when your competition is getting all kinds of love from Facebook users.

On the other side of things, you may want to be careful what you like and recommend yourself. Wording of likes and recommendations can come off as inappropriate, but the bigger issue may be liking and recommending stuff that that paints you in a non-professional light. Depending on what you do and the image you are trying to portray, this may or many not be a problem, but for those who wish to be careful about how others perceive them, this is something to think about.

Should you be concerned about likes/recommendations from a reputation standpoint? Tell us what you think.

Another thing worth mentioning about all of this is that Facebook is showing suggestions for things to like and recommend to new users. Facebook has posted something of an FAQ for the new features that aims to clarify how it all works for users.

What Facebook “Likes” Mean for Search & Reputation
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  • http://www.facebook.com/pam.utton.art?ref=ts Pamela Utton

    I have had over 300 more people join my page since April 14th. But, I am running a contest to win a free gift and posting on many links. So, I’m not sure if the LIKE feature has anything to do with my page views and people joining. It could be just because of my promotion, to attend and ask a friend to join. I am really hoping that this new FB will drive more traffic and make my page burst w/views. Time will tell. But as far as my small pet portrait business, it would of never taken off the ground if it was not for FB.

    • Chris Crum

      Either way, I bet the like button is helpful for the promotion.

  • http://www.blackballonline.com Pittsburgh Online Marketing Services

    Data aggregation is most certainly happening behind the scenes. This will be very interesting to see how this plays out. One thing I will say is that wherever there is data, there is someone crunching the numbers and pulling whatever statistical analysis they can glean from said numbers. This had historically been a Google staple from a position of strength; i.e. the best search results. Now it appears that there may be a new sheriff in town, but as I said – this remains to be seen. One thing Google has over anyone attempting to steal market share is the war chest of historical and current data they continue to amass daily. This may prove hard to overcome at first. Google has over ten years of data and search experience not to mention a mountain of cash as a head start.

  • Guest

    But who cares if a million people like Pizza Hut …. did you forget that people are idiots?

    There are a million people who like chocolate…

    How does this help Pizza Hut… WPN is about online marketing… Show me how Pizza Hut has Benefited from this?

    Take a look at the ads on the pizza page…. NOT A SINGLE PIZZA COMPETITOR!!!!!… all generic ads place by clueless people with ore money to burn than sense.

    • Chris Crum

      Think of likes as links for the Facebook web. We’re at such an early stage with this open graph stuff, but there is a lot of potential for personalized and local search within Facebook itself with this strategy…and wait until Facebook gets location involved.

      I would imagine Pizza Hut sees a great deal of benefit. Let’s say John Doe “likes” pizza hut. His friend Ed Doe might see that and say, “hmm, John just ‘liked’ pizza hut. I wonder what they’re offering…” Or maybe someone searches for pizza because they’re not sure where they want to get it from. Pizza Hut shows up on top, and maybe John says “Ooh, Pizza Hut! That sounds good!” I’m sure there are other applicable scenarios.

  • http://www.michaelghurston.com Michael G. Hurston

    While I’ve gone ahead and plugged in the Like button to all of the sites I maintain, I don’t know the best way to track this as I believe all of Facebook’s external links are “NoFollow”.

    Obviously if I see that my link is showing upin multiple activity feeds that’s great, but from checking Google Analytics I’m not seeing any referral from Facebook, though Twitter is in my top 10 referrals across the board.

  • Guest

    what is open graph?

    • Chris Crum

      More info facebook.com/docs/opengraph”>here. Basically Facebook’s plan to take over the web.

  • http://theleadersfactory.com Felipe Huicochea

    The ability the leverage new features and technologies will depend on who the business owner relies on for guidance. I can already picture a couple of clever guys wrapping the Like feature in ubber geek talk and selling the “service”.

    On the other hand, there is a legitimate concern when it comes to how much Facebook knows about your “wants” and who gets access to them.

    • http://www.bestcasinosinfo.com/ martin

      do you know any one who is making any money from facebook? i don”t

  • http://insurancemarketinghq.com Nick Brown

    Google is trying to be more social, Facebook is trying to be more search and link-friendly.

    POMS has it right about Google’s head start, but the evolution of search is skewing social and Facebook has the current edge with its cache of personal info and the promise of Open Graph. Bottom line, never bet against Google and both will be relevant for a long time in the race towards a semantic web.

    Thanks for the knowledge!

  • http://www.facebook.com/page.you Wade


    I’ve used the changes from Fans to Likes to help set up a new page http://www.facebook.com/page.you By becoming a Fan / Liking this page your status feed will show all your friends that You like “you” (them)

    It growing purely on viral and is aimed only to share the love on Facebook.

  • Guest

    Hadn’t given much thought to it and actually been resistant to starting a facebook fan page for my online magazine, but this article is giving me a lot to think about … and a change of heart too

  • Jim Moeller

    Chris, do you think you could rewrite your article and this time possibly put it in English?

  • http://plasticdolls76.blogspot.com/ Guest

    I find it vile that facebook is now morphing into, or rather being hijacked by marketers to shove their bland brands into peoples faces. MZ’s blatant plan to take over the place is equally as pitiful.

    Independents I don’t mind but what does someone like Pizza Hut think they going to gain from it? Why doesn’t Zuckerberg make a ‘FacebookBusiness’ site, that way ‘they’ can have their popularity war without offending anyone else.

    Social networking wasn’t it, not another banal spam site…tsk.

  • http://www.superfloorcoat.com Concrete Floor Coatings

    Yes, time will tell, started inputting our products into FB, Every social media sites have their medium votes, twitter – twits follow/digg dugg/reddit, etc… There is something for every industry!

  • http://www.BuildIdaho.com Trey Langford

    Don’t make Facebook into something that it is not. Facebook has a purpose and I am sure they are trying to maximize revenue but if they get greedy, it will cost them in the long run

  • http://www.peakbusinessequipment.com/ Greg

    I can see a consumer-based business sitting up and taking notice, but B2B’s are going to have a hard time getting customers to mix business with pleasure on Facebook.

    It’s one thing to “Recommend” or “Like” Pizza Hut, but quite another to do the same for the office supply store you just purchased an inkjet cartridge from. Who cares and why would you take the time to share this?

    Am I wrong?

  • http://www.phat.com god

    well i think. And dont really do any further.

    i did not know that, until i cought you. What a trip, are you serious.

    Yes its my dream, gotta go to work though. later

    hmmmm, Unfair ?

  • http://www.hammocksaustralia.com.au Hammock

    Interesting, I wasn’t aware of this until I got this blog in my email. Was easier to say I had ‘x’ amount of fans. Now I have ‘x’ amount of likes?

    I’m not sure how this will affect the small time fan base of small business, but hopefully it helps out in some way.

  • http://www.moverspackersquotes.com Pradeep

    Great post, Thanks

    With regard to the facebook, over the time its going to give a real tough competition to the Google that’s for sure.

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