Watch out Google and Bing! A more personalized search tool is coming to town. On Jan. 15, Facebook unveiled graph search.

What is Graph Search?

A significant upgrade from the old search bar at the top of the screen, graph search will help users find personalized results to questions about their community.This new feature is currently in beta mode, but soon businesses will be able to use it as a way to gather information about their fans. Potential customers and clients will be able to use graph search as a recommendation tool.

How Graph Search Works

This new search engine will work based on algorithms. Some examples are: movies my friends like, friends of friends who are landscapers and photos from 2012. When you enter a search algorithm, personalized results will appear. Look what we found when we searched for web design places in Columbia, Missouri:

Make Your Business More Accessible

Graph Search provides advantages for local businesses over big brand companies, because many searches will be based on location. If you haven’t already, make sure your local business or chain has a place page. Before graph search is released from beta mode, there’s a few other things businesses and organizations should be doing to optimize their pages for interested clients.

Here’s a list to get you started:

1. Establish your brand.

We said it when timeline came out, but now we really mean it. It’s time to clean up your brand on Facebook! The timeline layout offers many opportunities to add images, history and events that correspond with your brand. With graph search, users will be able to find your page more easily. Let’s face it. You don’t want to be looking shabby when they do.

2. Upload a higher resolution profile picture.

Now that your profile picture will be showing up in search results, Facebook recommends that you upload an image that is 620 x 620 pixels. To check the size of your current profile picture, right click on the image and select View Image Info. A new window will pop up that lists the dimensions of your image.

3. Update your information.

Click on the about section of your page. Make sure your location, hours, phone number, category and other information is up to date. The more accurate this information is, the easier it will be for interested searchers to find you. Consider search algorithms such as “restaurants in Columbia, MO.”

4. Build relationships.

Results in graph search will be ordered based on the searcher’s relationship with your page as well as the number of likes, check-ins, reviews and ratings of your business. So if the searcher is friends with people who have liked your page or if the searcher has liked pages similar to yours, your page will appear higher in their personal search results. Start building your social network and interact more with your Facebook fans. Then, you will show up more in search results like “photographers my friends like.”

5. Share photos and videos directly to Facebook.

To appear in photo and video search results, upload your media directly to Facebook or use a third party tool such as Hootsuite. If you just post links to photos and videos located on a different website, they will not appear in photo and video searches.

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