Facebook provided us with a week full of announcements. It started from their annual developer conference where the company has defined once again how the Internet should look like.
It is interesting to see how the closed social network slowly spreads to different directions. The message it sends is clear - if you're not there you do not exist. Many discussions were held during the week around the question of whether Facebook was going to do its homework and teach Google a lesson. If we investigate the matter more thoroughly we will see that Facebook competes with all the main services Google has to offer.
Facebook against Google
Google has Gmail, Facebook has its internal messaging system which is going to be upgraded in the future and rumored to compete with other e-mail services such as Gmail and Hotmail. Google's advertising system also faces a competition from Facebook that offers its own advertising platform and slowly takes control over the companies' advertising budget.
Facebook photo albums compete with the parallel services Google offers. The social network even decided to enter into the field of Statistics, by launching a tool known as Facebook Insights – a new competitor of Google Analytics. Not to mention the search engine, the foundation and the sanctuary of the search giant.
A Front with Microsoft
It's no secret that Facebook is trying to enter into the field of online search. Although slowly, but it tries. Facebook already provides us with a basic search service of external sites using Microsoft's search engine, Bing.
Microsoft is invested in Facebook and is trying to pave its way slowly and carefully through the social networking world. Further proof can be found in the cooperation announced between Microsoft and Facebook. Microsoft's service will be integrated to edit documents on the social network. It is clearly beyond simple cooperation. Perhaps Facebook is Microsoft's way to pay back Google for all the years Google has taught Microsoft how to succeed online.
But if we focus on the search field again, we'll see that Facebook offers something Google does not. Search based and social ties. Facebook claims that when we are looking for something, chances are the relevant results will be related to our social circle and that our friends are probably also interested in the issues which interest us. This is questionable, and doesn't play well in the hands of Google, who tries to penetrate the market with its +1 button.
So What About SEO?
Let's assume that this will happen. Facebook together with Microsoft will develop the ultimate social search engine, which will defeat Google.
How such a move will affect the search field? One of the areas deeply associated with online search is Search Engine Optimization
. Many companies and experts offer their services to the ever hungry business owners. After all, who doesn't want to be among the first in relevant search results?
In the era of social search SEO has no meaning, because the only relevant results you will receive are those found in your social graph. Moreover, as businesses move their activity into Facebook's closed platform, SEO loses its relevancy completely.
Pile Up Friends, Improve your Ranking
If this is indeed what happens, it will be interesting to see whether we will be introduced to new methods of website optimization for search engines. If in traditional on-page SEO
we need to improve the quality of content and the HTML code, for social engines we'll just have to worry about the quality of our social graph and the number of members we have. It is likely that greater number of friends or fans will improve our position in the SERP.
Already today there are quite a few companies engaged in social marketing and offer their customers various services in order to improve their social presence. What these companies do is quite interesting, but I mean something more complex that will crack the methods used by the social search engine to offer us relevant results, and will provide us with the tools needed to improve social search results, just as it happened in the old school SEO.
The Campaign is Not Over
The day the majority of publishers around the world will conclude that they will benefit more from their presence on Facebook than outside of it, mostly because they get more exposure for less investment, they will simply transfer their resources to Facebook. It's also the day when Google will officially lose its war to Facebook. I don’t think it will happen any time soon, but wouldn’t rule out that such a day will come sometime in the future.
Once Facebook pushes up its sleeves and partners with a company with so many resources such as Microsoft, there's no reason for it not to rule the Internet scene, take over Google and other competitors and make us users change the nature of our browsing.
But be sure, Google will not allow the young actor to take it to the premiere and this war will see more than a single battle.