Nothing comes close to dethroning Facebook as the king of social networks, at least not at the moment.
Friendster? Didn’t even stand a chance, even before being suspended in 2015.
MySpace? Was never the same after 2008, and was bought by Time Inc. in 2016.
Even sites like Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest are still behind in terms of market share.
And Facebook just keeps growing.
As of June 30, 2017, Facebook has 2.01 billion active users. That’s more than 25% of the world’s population which is currently 7.6 billion!
Its huge and active user base makes it too valuable a site to pass up for building links.
You can’t approach link building on Facebook with the same mindset as your typical link building campaign.
In this post, you’ll learn exactly how you should approach Facebook backlinks in relation to SEO, and how you can strategically place links on your profile for maximum effect.
Because at the end of the day, with millions of people using the site every day, it’s only a matter of time before your Facebook backlinks start directing people to your site and increasing your traffic!
The Relationship Between Facebook Backlinks and SEO
As an SEO specialist, you’d think that Facebook is ripe for link building. With a large and engaged user base, it seems like a no-brainer to seek links from Facebook in the hopes of increasing your search ranking.
Unfortunately, that’s not quite the case.
As reported in 2014, Googe doesn’t consider social signals as part of its search ranking algorithm. Therefore, any links you’ve built on your Facebook profile, page or group won’t have any impact on your off-page SEO efforts.
Not to mention, Facebook links don’t pass link juice because they’re nofollow.
But the nofollow nature of Facebook backlinks isn’t an obstacle. Rather, it bears fruit to more opportunities that’ll help diversify your link profile.
Not all backlinks must be seen through the lenses of link building. You need to determine the kind of value that they possess to help your site’s overall SEO.
While Facebook backlinks don’t pass link juice, they nonetheless help increase referral and direct traffic to your site, which in turn can improve your SERP performance.
Referral traffic is the traffic that comes to your site from another site. The traffic that you get from social media, including Facebook, is one example of referral traffic.
A case study conducted by cognitiveSEO shows that one of their blog posts increased exponentially in visibility after they shared the post on Reddit and attracted over 20,000 visits in referral traffic.
Due to the huge spike in traffic, the page soon ranked on the first page of Google for their keyword “google images.”
The site saw a massive increase in search visiblity after generating lots of referral traffic from Reddit, and it’s not far-fetched to assume that this also applies to other sites with similar authority as Reddit.
In fact, while Reddit has very high quality metrics (notice Citation Flow and Trust Flow, in particular)…
…Facebook is actually even more authoritative!
Looking at the sites’ authority metrics side by side, using the Domain Authority Checker by Small SEO Tools, you can see that Facebook also outperforms Reddit in every metric:
Direct traffic, on the other hand, refers to traffic in which there’s no referral or source site. This type of traffic occurs when a user types the URL of the site directly in the browser, rather than clicking a link to the URL from another site.
In a much more recent study, SEMrush considers “direct website traffic” as the most vital SEO factor.
(Also, for the record, “total referring domains” is the fifth most vital SEO factor.)
When a website receives lots of direct traffic, it means that the site is popular enough to not need to be searched for on Google anymore. For example, a brand like CNN is ubiquitous, and I could easily type “cnn.com” in my browser to visit the news site directly.
Facebook can help generate this type of traffic by allowing you to strategically place URLs on your profile or page that users can copy and paste directly into their browser, circumventing Google search altogether and increasing your direct traffic.
(I’ll show you how you can do this in the next section.)
The studies above go to show that backlinks and signals from sites like Facebook still matter, even if they aren’t included in Google’s search algorithm. If you can attract more traffic using those signals, then you can increase your SEO strength and organic search visibility, too!
Therefore, you need to know how to plot the links in your Facebook assets to maximize referral and direct traffic to your site.
How to Leverage Facebook Backlinks to Dominate Organic Search
When including Facebook backlinks, make sure that the links serve a purpose. Don’t include them just for the sake of having links to your site.
Also, we’re not talking about posting updates every day with a backlink. Spamming Facebook this way will only drive people away from clicking through to your site.
Lastly, to diversify your Facebook backlinks, you must have an active page or group. Having backlinks from just your personal profile will limit Facebook’s impact of referring traffic to your site.
Where to Place Your Facebook Backlinks
Keeping all these things in mind, below are ways that you can tastefully link to your site on Facebook:
If you have a Facebook page for your brand, click on About on the left sidebar and include your website under Contact Info.
Once edited, the About page will look like this:
For your personal profile, click on the About tab, select Contact and Basic Info on the left sidebar, and edit the Websites and Social Links section to include your link.
Once edited, you can view the link to your site from your profile’s About page.
For Facebook groups, click on the About tab and fill out the Description.
When linking to your site from the group’s description, you can include as many links as you want. However, make sure that the links provide value to the group’s members.
Here’s an example of a Facebook group that links to a page without looking spammy:
The page button appears below the cover photo of your Facebook page. To edit it, hover over the default button and click on Edit Button.
Since you want to link to your site, select Learn more about your business and click on the Learn More radio button.
On the next page, enter the URL of your site or the page where you want users to go after clicking the button.
Once you’ve edited your button, you can view and click on it from your Facebook page.
Facebook allows a call to action on cover photos according to their terms and guidelines. This is an opportunity for you to include a link to any page on your site as the first thing people see when visiting your Facebook page.
Just make sure that your CTA doesn’t occupy more than 20% of your cover photo, or Facebook may ban your photo.
While the URL on the cover photo isn’t clickable and is therefore not a backlink in the strictest sense, it’s an example of a way to generate direct traffic like we discussed above. People will see the link and can copy it directly into their browser to visit the page.
An example of a brand that took advantage of including a CTA on their cover photo is Red Bull.
In the example above, the URL is red to help make it stand out from the text. You want to make sure the link is easily seen and easily copied.
If it’s a long URL, make it shorter using a tool like Bitly so people can easily type it into their browser.
Also, be creative with your web copy for your CTA. Compel people to type out the link in their browser. In the example above, Red Bull created a time-sensitive offer to create a sense of urgency.
Facebook pages and groups pin posts that they want their fans and members to read first before viewing the other content on the page.
For pages, pinned posts are usually discount offers to their products and services. For groups, rules and regulations are pinned so members know how to conduct themselves.
Below is an example of how NicheHacks Private Mastermind Group links to resource pages on its site. The purpose of doing so is to onboard new members about niche marketing and how to do it the NicheHacks way.
Making the Most out of Your Facebook Backlinks
It’s one thing to include them in your Facebook profiles, pages and groups. It’s another to get people to click on them and drive referral traffic to your site. So how do you do it?
As a social networking site, Facebook connects you with other people across the world. With just a couple of messages, some status updates and a few clicks, you can forge relationships with over hundreds and thousands of like-minded people.
Therefore, you need to build—if not strengthen—your network on Facebook.
If you don’t have many page fans or group members, promote them on different channels or by being active in different groups. Leave an impression by sharing valuable information and resources.
People will take notice and will begin to add you as a friend, follow your page and join your group as a member.
Tracking Your Facebook Backlinks
Once you’ve created your Facebook backlinks, you can keep track of them with Monitor Backlinks.
The tool tracks your backlink profile in real time and notifies you whenever you gain or lose a link. This makes it easy to know when your Facebook backlinks are live, as well as if they get taken down.
It also helps you identify and analyze your backlinks based on different quality metrics such as Flow metrics (Trust and Citation Flow), Moz Rank, as well as Domain and Page Authority, to name a few.
The higher the aggregate scores on these metrics, the more valuable the backlink.
If you’ve built Facebook backlinks, you can expect to see them at the top of the pile when you filter from highest to lowest.
While Facebook links will show as nofollow (NF) in the Status/GI column, remember that the purpose of these backlinks is to generate referral and direct traffic to your site.
Therefore, using Monitor Backlinks, the best thing you can do is make sure that the links are live and working on your Facebook profile, group or fan pages.
Ultimately, leveraging Facebook’s feature to connect is key to growing your online network.
By imposing your knowledge and expertise and engaging with people interested in the same topic, you increase your authority in your niche.
Building your clout will take time, but the effects will be beneficial to your SEO campaign.
Once you have the trust of your target audience, you can get them to follow you on Facebook.
If you attract enough traffic, expect to rank higher for keywords on organic search.