1. Social Media

Facebook Opens up to Search Engines

Today’s big bombshell in the search engine optimization world is that Facebook is opening up its profile listings to search engines. Facebook writes in its notifications to members:

Now people can search for this listing from Facebook’s Welcome page. In
a few weeks, it may also be found through search engines like Google.

You can control whether you have a public search listing, and where it appears, from your Search Privacy page.

Since your search privacy
settings are set to "Everyone," you now have a public search listing.
This means that friends who aren’t yet on Facebook will be able to
search for you by name from our Welcome page. Public Search Listings may only include names and profile pictures.

a few weeks, these public search listings can be found by search
engines like Google. No privacy rules are changing; anyone who
discovers your public search listing must register and log in to
contact you via Facebook.

This is an overwhelming plus for all parties. A few quick thoughts:

  1. Facebook is writing a roadmap for how ANY community should handle user privacy. I’ve included screenshots below of Facebook’s privacy settings. It’s amazing what you have control over. While some journalists and pundits are worried about a potential member backlash, and some members might whine, this is easily the most control I’ve seen a site give its members. I welcome any examples of anyone doing it better.
  2. The specifics on traffic implications for Facebook are hard to predict, as it depends just how well optimized Facebook will be. But it will definitely help Facebook’s traffic, and it should encourage other people on the fence to join.
  3. Win-win-win – Facebook/search engines/members.

More to come, I’m sure. Screenshots are
below – click to enlarge.

People reacted to this story.
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Comments to: Facebook Opens up to Search Engines
  • Avatar
    September 5, 2007

    Great analysis
    I can imagine some un-savvy users getting fired or not getting jobs as they didn’t tend to their college profile.
    For them, it’s not a ‘win’

  • Google Will Spur FacebookGrowth
    Facebooks so-called walled garden is about to get a lot more like the blood-brain barrier, which is good news for people who want Facebook to become their all-in-one networking utility.
    And the privacy concerns some are immediatel…

  • Avatar
    September 5, 2007

    I agree with your analysis, that it’s an overwhelming positive.
    I don’t see how this would hurt un-savvy users with unclean profiles any more than having a Facebook account at all would hurt.
    Searchers in Google would only get to see sparse information about people, as you illustrate above. To see more, they need to join Facebook and friend you.
    If you friend them and don’t put them on your limited profile, they would get to see more. But otherwise I can’t see how this would hurt job-seekers.
    I think this development will actually fuel faster growth in Facebook as people run across listings in Google, but can’t contact the person without signing up for an account. If Facebook is growing by 1.2 million people a week now, it will be 1.7 million a week by October 15.


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