There is no denying that Facebook is not only the largest social networking platform, with almost 1.25 billion active monthly users, but also one of the largest information networks. Facebook recently announced that it had updated its search engine and now indexes two trillion posts – that is 2,000,000,000,000 posts. This was the first major update in almost a year.
Although your own posts may not be public, Facebook still indexes them so that your friends and family can find them when searching. The update currently only affects US English language searches, but it is expected that the updated system will be rolled out to all Facebook accounts in the near future. The updates will be available on desktop and smartphone platforms.
Facebook search is huge, and set to get bigger. Currently, Facebook handles around 1.5 billion searches every day, which although a fraction of Google’s 1 trillion daily searches, is a significant number for social media. If you are not already producing great content for Facebook users to find, now is the time to get started.
Facebook says that the update also ranks searches better, so from now on, you are more likely to see in the search results posts from close friends and the most trusted news sources. Posts by strangers will rank the lowest, so searchers are less likely to see spam in their results.
Facebook is used by millions of businesses all over the world for marketing purposes and it is now full of posts containing keyword focussed content that is designed to be returned in Facebook search.
Tom Stocky, Facebook’s vice president of search, explained that: “When something happens in the world, people often turn to Facebook to see how their friends and family are reacting. Today, we’re updating Facebook Search so that in addition to friends and family, you can find out what the world is saying about topics that matter to you.”
The Facebook Search Updates
Facebook has provided the following information on the search changes:
- Better search suggestions:
When you search you will get timely, personalized suggestions, including things that are happening now.
- Search results with public posts and posts from friends:
When searching you will see posts from friends mixed with public posts, so if your friends are discussing topical stories, you can engage.
- Find public conversations with search:
Searching will also bring up public conversations that you can join, so that you can be a part of the breaking news and trends.
Competing with Twitter
Until now, Twitter has dominated real-time search – Twitter is the go-to site to find out what is happening in the world now. Whenever there is a natural disaster, live sports event, or political turmoil, people will “live Tweet” it and these messages will be available to the world almost instantly.
However, more people use Facebook for the same purposes, but real-time search has not been available. This update could effectively mean that Facebook will replace Twitter as the site to visit to find out what is happening in the world right now.
Danny Hall is a Co-Director for the well-established search engine optimisation agency, Freelance SEO Essex.