A couple of weeks ago, Facebook released community pages– an attempt to auto-tag the web and build a rival to Wikipedia. Great SEO strategy, as these are in-text links coming from people’s profiles, allowing Facebook to extend their rankings from not just people’s names to businesses, but now to organizations, concepts, favorite foods, common complaints, or nearly entities on the web. Executed right, it’s the most powerful SEO strategy the world has seen– to leverage links, trust, and real content– superior to the Demand Media strategy of farmed content placed under high PR sites. This is real content by real users on existing powerful pages all at zero cost to Facebook.
But the downside is that some users might not like the content on their profile pages getting hijacked, parsed into chunks, and linked to other pages without their permission. Users complain that they are linked to schools they didn’t attend, products they don’t endorse, or concepts that they are not interested in, since the bot that is auto-generating these tags isn’t well refined yet.
Case in point– do a search on “blitz local” and you’ll see that instead of 2 pages, you’ll now find 24 pages– nearly all of them auto-generated Facebook Community Pages taken from profile tags. Do the same on SEOmoz and you’ll see 21 pages, also with the same types of tags. SEOmoz is treated separately from SeoMoz or seomoz– hence the confusion. Do a search on your company name and let us know how many copies you find, especially if the name is hard to spell.
We made a demo page for ClickEquations, one of the top PPC management software firms out there– and the algorithm re-categorized it from being a business to being a community page. I filed a complaint and the Facebook rep said that after careful review, they’ve decided that Craig’s entity is not a business, but should be a community page– in the same vein as community pages such as “I hate people who talk on their cell phones while driving” or other such non-branded items.
Overall, I think Facebook Community Pages are a great concept– but as with any company that is a fierce innovator, they have to balance speed versus accuracy.