Facebook Fan Pages Now Showing in Google Search Results

SEO for Facebook Fan update pages is more important than ever now that Google announced that it will be displaying the results from 3 million fan pages in Google search results.

You can see their announcement via Twitter.

Google doesn’t have access to personal profile updates because of Facebook’s agreement with Bing, and for that I’m glad. I like using Facebook to quickly get in touch with all of my friends, but I’m sure items that my friends share with me (like updates on their pregnancy, clumsy moments, etc) are not ones that they want found via a Google search.

If you have personal profiles elsewhere you might want to be careful of what you post where, and adjust your privacy settings appropriately. In December 2009 Google announced that it would add data from Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, Jaiku, Indenti.ca and Twitter to its search results (and now Google Buzz of course). From an organizational perspective, this is good news if your deploying good SEO practices to your updates on those sites. For a person, you just want to be a bit more careful about what you share with the world.

The recent news around PleaseRobMe is a perfect example of this. As a single woman, I’ve always been wary of revealing too much online about where I was physically in the world, and this site has been broadcasting when people update via their Twitter account from geographic locations that are not their house – announcing to the world that their house is up for grabs from a robber’s perspective.

When social media sites and search engines change their privacy policies so frequently, it’s certainly hard as an individual to keep up. Perhaps when everyone’s information is public we will stop caring?


Google’s Index Cap for your Site

Fascinating article by Randy from SEOMoz about how Google potentially caps the # of URLs it will index from your site.

This is particularly a problem for my team at EWG for a few reasons:

  1. This organization has been online since the beginning of the Internet, and old reports are still live online. Walking staff through which pages should be live and which could be retired can be a time consuming process
  2. Until I came on board, they did not have an online marketing team, so that robot.txt file was not utilized (and we are still working on it). That means that for intensive search features, Googlebot will try to execute the searches and follow the results – wasting time on pages you may not want indexed.
  3. I’ve spent a bit of time educating staff about being conservative about putting up pages that we want visitors to read, but don’t necessarily want indexed (like our references pages)
  4. And the fine tuning that you need to do for WordPress blogs are intense. There’s a great video here that walks you through some of that.
  5. Leading all of this is the challenge of focusing an organization around where they would like to be found online. EWG has an idea now, but many nonprofits don’t. Without clear keyword targets, it’s hard to streamline online content to work for the organization instead of wasting the Googlebot’s time.

If you haven’t read the article, I would. And if you have any tools for managing such a challenge for a page with a HUGE number of pages, let me know.

Searches up in Facebook, Down in Google Last Month

Fascinating and tied to the recent Wired article about the growth of the walled off Facebook network. Here’s the full article listing how total search queries grew in Facebook, but drop in Google.

Google Changes Policy on Javascript

Google has changed its policy on javascript & can now crawl javascript links.

Unveiled at SMX Advanced and explained by Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land, I felt it was important to share:

… Google’s new handling of JavaScript’s “onClick” function. To fully understand it, read Vanessa Fox’s in-depth report from last week, Google I/O: New Advances In The Searchability of JavaScript and Flash, But Is It Enough?…

Links in JavaScript that were invisible to Google before are now being read. And some people have used JavaScript as a way to deliver paid links in a way that don’t violate Google’s guidelines may not technically on the wrong side of the Google law. It’s been a long accepted practice that this was a “safe” way to deal with paid links, once that Google’s suggested itself.

The times they are a changin’…

Google now indexing Flash

And there’s a great post on Search Engine Land about how to make it happen with your Flash files.

Google can now read forms

There has been yet another change in the Google algorithm – this time in a positive direction for web designers and for searchers.  For years it has been impossible for Google to read and execute forms, which means that content behind the form (a great example is McDonald’s site, where the spider would not be able to get to local country content without selecting a country from a drop down box). However, in most cases a drop down form like the one used on the McDonald’s site is a good option from a usability perspective.

Google is now filling out the forms and indexing the content behind the forms. Here’s the response from Google about how it fills out the forms: “For text boxes, our computers automatically choose words from the site that has the form; for select menus, check boxes, and radio buttons on the form, we choose from among the values of the HTML.”

Google won’t access the form if it’s blocked by the robots.txt or meta robots instructions, and they are avoiding forms that require any kind of user information like a password, login, etc.

So designers now don’t need to worry about creating a design that relies on form completion to access some of the content. The article on Search Engine Land by Danny Sullivan doesn’t mention if Yahoo and Live are also planning on indexing the content, but you have to assume that once Google starts indexing that content, the others will follow.

Change in Google’s Search Algorithm

Saw this on article about a change in Google’s search algorithm on Search Engine Land, and thought it was big enough to share with my blog readers. Google has been testing and will roll out this change soon a new way of displaying results based on the previous query made.

Like the article suggests, if you searched for “Spain” and then did a new search for “travel” your results  (paid and organic) for “travel” would focus on travel to Spain.

You can read more about it here.