It’s been almost two months since the launch of the Facebook Graph Search.

The Graph Search is a ‘’social search engine’’ customized to each user. In other words, you have access to information that is related to your friends.  The customized information lies on the fact that you can perform a query about your friends. For example, you can perform a query in natural language such as:

’Hotels my friends’’ and then you have a wide variety of options to choose (with the ‘’Facebook Instant’’, similar to Google Instant, that shows relevant search results as you type).

Facebook has pointed out that anything that was previously kept private won’t be revealed. Then, the 3 possible options that you have are:

  • Hotels my friends have been to
  • Hotels my friends work at
  • Hotels liked by my friends

Important tip: Queries that contain direct negative words, like ‘’not’’ are not yet supported by Facebook.

How can local businesses and hotels leverage from this opportunity?

The level of search that is offered by Facebook, can be further refined. This refinement of search can help companies or local businesses to gain free branding and online exposure.

The type of businesses/companies that can gain brand exposure and awareness through Facebook and the social web are:

Shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, café bars, supermarkets, etc. These types of businesses can leverage from Facebook Search Graph in order to gain further exposure.

Tips –Best Practices

Categories:  Select the type of category that defines the most your own business

Sub-categories:  Make sure to include as many as possible subcategories related to your brand. The more subcategories you add the likely it is for your business to appear in a variety of results.

So when a user is searching for beach resorts or for Asian restaurants in Athens for example, it is likely for your business to appear.

Map Location: The map location indicates if, in fact, the query of the user matches your business location

Likes: Make sure that you have enhanced your efforts in order to gain more likes. More ‘’likes’’, are a vote of confidence by other users. Gradually and especially in 2013, social signals (coming from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other social media tools), will play an even greater role in SEO and thus it would be advantageous if you seized the opportunity. Likes, shares are strong signals that will boost your presence on the search results of Facebook Search Graph (along with a targeted description).

Check-ins: Another vote of confidence, which you need to focus on, is the check-ins.  Friends from our virtual/online circle can be a factor that can determine our final preference for a place, hotel etc., because subconsciously we value more the suggestion of a friend. Make sure that your business is encouraging check-ins with the provision of incentives.

As previously pointed out, social signals for SEO will start playing an increasingly significant role. Since Graph Search rolled out just 2 months ago it’s quite early to make assumptions on how it’s going to evolve within Facebook (if it’s going to look more like Google search engine). It’s also early to define the level of impact that social signals (likes, shares, comments) are going to have on SEO but all professionals agree on the growing importance of social media in SEO.

The next important step for Facebook Graph Search will be the launch of Analytics/Insights that will show how many users have used Graph Search in order to find your business.