The Evolution of Facebook and Google by David Hayden

David Hayden of Hospitality Formula Network

David Hayden is an expert on blogging and restaurants. He is the author and creator of The Hospitality Formula Network, a series of five blogs covering multiple facets of the restaurant industry. Four of his blogs were recently included in a listing the top sixty restaurant industry blogs, including two in the top ten. His first book, Tips2: Tips For Improving Your Tips, has been receiving rave reviews throughout the industry. Here David is covering vital news concerning Facebook and Google updates.

As many of you know, Facebook will be converting all fan pages to the timeline format on March 31, 2012. This will render obsolete many of the marketing tactics that many smart businesses and internet marketing consultants have been using for years. Along with this change comes a new set of guidelines for fan pages that will make many common marketing strategies a violation of Facebook’s terms of service. There is still time for companies to adapt to these new requirements. I have scoured these changes and have an offer at the end of this post that will help you make sure your page is not punished or eliminated by Facebook.

Building your brand with Facebook

These changes have been in the works for quite some time. Top level internet marketing professionals have been warning of a distinct shift in the algorithm used by Facebook, Google, and other major websites. It began with Facebook offering the “top news” option on personal newsfeeds. It continued with Google’s adoption of its “panda” algorithm. These two changes from the two largest websites in the world dramatically altered the type of internet content that is delivered. The mandatory introduction of the timeline format for Facebook fan pages solidifies this shift in a way that is highly visible to business owners.

In making these changes, the two largest websites in the world are sending two very important messages:

  1. The goal of both companies is to find a way to improve the user’s experience.
  2. Facebook and Google are not free advertising platforms for your business.
In the future, businesses that embrace these two messages will be rewarded by these internet giants. Businesses that fail to accept these two messages will find their efforts fail to meet the intended audience.

The good news is that both of these companies have made very clear what they are looking for. The only way they can improve the user’s experience is to provide them with quality content. Both companies have grown past the need to focus primarily on growing their user base. Over half of all web searches are made through Google. People without a Facebook page are becoming increasingly rare. The focus now for both companies is how to keep the users engaged longer so they will view more paid advertising messages and generate more revenue. The way they intend to do this is by providing high quality content to their users.

Facebook and Google produce relatively little of the content they provide. Facebook does not create the funny videos and inspirational pictures that people share on its network. Google does not write the websites that show up in search results. Both sites are successful because they have focused on providing you with exactly what you are looking for when you visit their sites. Facebook is gradually improving at showing you only the posts from your friends and fan pages that you are most likely to be interested in. Google has become increasingly efficient at providing the most accurate result to your search at the top of the results page. This is what they consider improving their user’s experience.

Timeline for Facebook Report

Now that you have an understanding of the shift in direction both of these sites are taking, it is important to discuss how this affects small businesses online. If you are not producing quality content with your fan page or website, you will become increasingly irrelevant to these sites. Conversely, producing high quality content will gain you favor with the algorithm used by both Google and Facebook. This will earn you better ranking on Google’s search result pages and find your messages displayed to more of your Facebook fans. Quality content is what these sites crave to improve the user’s experience.

Quality content is a subjective term. These sites do not employ teams of school teachers and professors to grade your website or status updates for quality. Instead, they measure the quality of your content by the way that others interact with it. While the precise algorithm they use is a closely guarded secret, the key factor in both is interactions.

The more often a fan or friend likes, shares, or comments on your status updates on Facebook, the more often it will show up on their newsfeed. The more of these interactions a particular update receives, the more newsfeeds it will appear on. The greater the number of sites linking to your website as a resource, the higher it will show up in Google search results. The algorithm used by both Facebook and Google places emphasis on these interactions as an indicator of quality content that will improve the user’s experience. This is the future of both sites.

The Hospitality Formula Network

Posting status updates on Facebook that are blatant advertisements rarely encourage interaction with users. Websites that do not provide useful information to visitors are rarely shared and are not rewarded by higher Google search result placement. Both of these sites will gladly sell you advertising space on their websites. They are making it more difficult though to post advertisements for free that will reach the eyes of their intended audience. If you want to reach this audience with your message, you need to reconsider your strategy.

I believe the folks at Prima Supply do a great job of providing quality content to their readers. Just like Facebook and Google, I am rewarding them for this by offering their readers a free report outlining the changes coming to small businesses’ Facebook fan pages on March 31st. You do not need to be caught off guard by these changes. In this report I outline the three key marketing components eliminated by the mandatory introduction of the timeline for fan pages, the changes in the fan page guidelines, and how to utilize the powerful new features being introduced. You will also receive an offer for a package of reports I have designed outlining the strategic shifts you need to make with your online marketing strategy. These reports breakdown the steps you need to take in a simple and easy to follow manner that you can implement in just minutes a day. By signing up today to receive your free report through the Prima Supply website, you will receive a substantial discount on the entire report package.

To claim your free report, simply fill in the box to the side. You will receive a confirmation email instantly. Once you have confirmed your email address, a link will be sent to your free report as well as the discount offer on the entire package of reports.

- David