Does Facebook Want You To Leave Facebook?

Earlier this summer in Facebook SEO Ranking Factors, 2010 Study Results, we explored the mechanics of Facebook search and theorized about the different ranking factors that make X page climb above Y group, Z event, and Q person in the organic SERPs. We noted that one of the most influential spaces in Facebook Search is the Facebook Suggest Box. “It auto-fills, much like Google, populating as the user types first letters,” our own Marty Weintraub explained. “This mechanism seems to channel users away from the SERPs, probably with cause for lack SERP’s quality.”

… and channel users away from SERPs it does. Now it seems, in some cases it channels users away from Facebook in general.

A quest to locate “Busted Tees” on Facebook had me typing in the first group of letters of the brand name in the suggested search box. Without looking at the first result, I clicked enter, expecting to be whisked away to the Busted Tees branded Facebook page. Not so. The first organic result that populated the suggestion box was for a coupon & deals website.

Why was it #1? Not sure yet.  But two, count ’em two, people liked it.

As expected, by clicking enter, I was immediately directed to the source of the result: an external website.

I have no idea who those two (obviously very important people) are who “liked” this page. But apparently they weren’t technically my friends.

Still, Facebook must have deemed this website authoritative enough to rank above the Busted Tees Page, which, remember, did not even come up in the suggestions box.

Backtracking and intentionally going to the FB SERPs showed the Busted Tees page  in a more expected position– #1 for pages and organic in general.

But apparently, Mr. Deal Finder wasn’t cool enough to make the bing-fueled web results at the bottom of the SERP.

In the end, I made it to the Busted Tees page.

From then on, the branded page trumped the results in the suggestions box.

So what does this mean? Is Facebook looking to point you towards transactional-based external pages over their own social media pages? What’s a gal gotta do to actually stay ON Facebook now-a-days?

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