Search is About to Get More Interesting

I’m not sure if you’re old enough to remember when Google started to become popular, but I do. I was a product marketing manager and my boss told me that I needed to ensure that when someone searched for ‘Web authoring product’, my solution appeared at the top. I remember struggling with keywords and rewording many of the pages on our site to ensure that we were optimized. Friends in similar positions would share advice and tips and tricks to ensure better ranking. Thankfully, within a few months, there were SEO experts coming out of the woodwork and I was able to hire a consultant to help make my job easier.

In the coming months, SEO experts and Web strategists may start scrambling again. Facebook has announced that they are getting into the search business. And it’s not your standard search – – it’s a more personalized search driven by friends who have used the ‘Like’ button to indicate their preferences.

For example, let’s say that I search on Facebook for ‘coolest San Francisco Hotel’ and 20 of my friends have ‘liked’ the Hotel ABC. That hotel will come up higher on search than, say, Hotel XYZ with no ‘likes’ by my friends.

They key here is that Hotel XYZ might be a much more popular hotel than Hotel ABC according to the general public, and thus Google might rank it more highly for all users. Facebook, however, will know that Hotel ABC is a better choice for me, because my friends like it better than Hotel XYZ. That’s some pretty powerful stuff.

As AllFacebook says, “The race is now on for publishers to optimize their sites for Facebook’s search engine.”

So what’s my advice for hotels looking to make sure that their results are included in Facebook search? Hotels definitely need to start thinking about adding the ‘Like’ button to their site and encouraging fans to like them not only on their Facebook page but also on their property web site. And with each button indexing a different page, it’s important to think strategically about where the button is placed. With hotels losing search rankings to travel review sites and OTAs, this might present an opportunity to regain control of search rankings… But there’s a lot to be learned still, and who knows what the timeframe will be for Facebook search to take off. But I will eagerly watch to see what happens and will let you know what we find.

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