After just one week, the Facebook ‘like’ button has already been added to over 50,000 sites and the number is growing. Many developers and site owners are enthusiastic about the opportunity to integrate with Facebook and take advantage of its 400 million active users. Using Facebook’s web-wide “Like” button in conjunction with their “Open Graph” allows websites to drive traffic from Facebook’s to their corporate sites.
The button also provides a major opportunity for viral exposure as anyone that “likes” a site gets an update posted on their profile for their networks and friends to see. An additional benefit to developers, site owners, and web surfers using the button is that anyone logged into Facebook can get a more customized search experience as Facebook searches will show sites your friends like. There is still debate over privacy issues and Facebook has been known to test the waters there.
Given Facebook’s tools are only about a week old and already gaining a ton of traction, people are starting to ask if this like button is going to take over the importance of links in search. Facebook calls the like button a form of “social links” explaining that they are actually better than links because of their relation to specific users. If this like button really takes off it presents a huge competitor for Google’s search as it challenges the entire basis of their algorithms. Essentially, Google indexed the web for its users and now Facebook is showing that it can get its users to index the web for them with their “like” button. So will “liking” replace the importance of linking from an SEO standpoint? Will social media optimization (SMO) become the new SEO?
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Pete Cashmore on CNN Tech