Facebook Graph Search – How it Works and How to Prepare

There has been lot of buzz lately around Facebook Graph Search also known as “Third Pillar of the Facebook Ecosystem.”  The innovative search feature was launched in Beta on January 2013 to a limited number of profiles in the US and will slowly roll out to everyone.  During the initial testing phase Facebook will refine the tool, work out any bugs and get as much feedback from users to gauge its success.  When Zuckerberg introduced Graph Search at the unveiling, he reiterated Facebook’s Mission “to make the world more open and connected.” That is the intention of Graph Search in a nutshell.   It is the relationship based search system.  But, what does that mean exactly? How will it affect my business page, personal privacy and what can be done to prepare for it?


What is it exactly?

Facebook Graph Search Feature is a semantic search – similar to Google Search.  It is primarily based on natural language and key phrases.  It provides personalized results based on your connections within Facebook – it is relational.   The graph search feature combines the massive amount of data collected from Facebook’s one billion users, including over 240 billion photos and one trillion connections.   What a user has “liked” is tracked, stored and shared, yet is privacy aware.  Information is pulled from your network of friends and those that you are connected with.  Graph search focuses on four main areas:  people, places, interests and photos.  The feature will answer questions about where to eat, what to buy, what music to listen to or books to read based on what your friends are saying and liking.   When utilizing search, each person sees a unique set of results.     The focus of Graph Search is internal and all other results are provided from Microsoft Bing’s search engine when answers cannot be found within the Facebook database.  A user can key in up to 112 characters for a general search.  Rather than returning results based on matching keywords, the search engine is designed to match phrases, as well as objects within Facebook.  Now you can use simple, specific phrases like “Photos my friends took in New York City” or Restaurant’s my friends checked-in in at in Miami”.   Results can also be refined to include gender, age range, relationship status, likes & interests and can be filtered to “include or exclude” more options.

Facebook Graph Search

What can I do to prepare my business page?

  1. Completely and accurately fill out the about section.  Choose the best category or sub category that best relates to your business.  It may be a good time to double check your category to see that you have selected the best choice for your business.  Is the category search friendly?  This is particularly important if you are a restaurant or retail business.   Include your web address, physical address and keywords pertaining to your business in the description section.  If you have a location page having the correct address is extremely important so that you show up in the search results.  Ensure that the address is also recognized by Facebook in order to enable check-ins’s.  A local business will definitely benefit from this.  Encourage fans to check-in at your establishment by offering deals.  If you happen find duplicate Pages for your personal business when you search for its name, you may be seeing Pages for the locations that other people made when they checked in. Once you create an official Page for your business, you can claim and merge duplicates to keep your customers’ likes and check-ins in one place.  Turn on the setting to allow followers to tag photos on the Page.  For example, your business is a frozen yogurt bar.  You want to encourage fans to take photos and tag themselves eating frozen yogurt at your establishment.  Why, it will show up the search results.
  2. Your vanity URL is important.  Do you have one yet?  If not now is the time to do so.  Choose your name wisely as it can only be changed once. https://www.facebook.com/username
  3. Strengthen your connections.  Likes and “people talking about” really does matter more now than ever.  It truly is all about engagement.  Respond to your fans, post regularly and be consistent. 

Want to know more?

This 55 minute webinar by Huzetv is insightful and will help you gain greater understanding on how Graph Search can be utilized for your business.  A must watch for Page owners with local businesses that have check-in’s and offer deals.

Facebook has underscored that Graph search operates within pre-existing privacy settings.  Nothing has been compromised.  If you are concerned tighten your privacy settings.  Users can access only the information already available to them.

Graph Search is Privacy Aware

1. Every piece of content has its own audience

2.  Most content is not public.

3. You can only search for content that has been shared with you.

Facebook admits that they will be making changes over time There will be more that can be mapped and searched for in the future as it evolves.  Optimize your page now.  Do not wait to the last minute.  Sign up for Graph Search Beta

Share your comments below or any insight that you have learned regarding Facebook Graph Search.



  1. Michael Bristol says:

    Great post Kim and great information. Your detailed step by step is helpful and gives great susinct information. Thanks for the research and educating the rest of us.

  2. Thank you Michael!

  3. Good information

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