Managing the Facebook Algorithm: Our Hot Take, Pt. I

Stop alt-tabbing to Facebook for a minute. We need to talk to you about… well, Facebook.

So you know how most platforms use algorithms? You know, Google, Twitter, Instagram. All of ‘em. Well, if you didn’t know by now, most major platforms use them. By those standards, unsurprisingly, you probably also guessed (or just know) that Facebook utilizes algorithms, too.

And if you’ve forgotten what an algorithm is, first of all, how dare you.

Just kidding, we do throw a lot of things at you, after all.

Anyway, as a refresher, algorithms are essentially complex math which creates a program. In most social media platforms, these programs help to create indications on when, where, and how to display data. For Facebook, this can mean ads, the photo you just posted in a group, or your latest status.

Anything you see on Facebook is derived from the information that was first digested and then spit out as dictated by the algorithm’s programmed rules.The algorithm decides how exactly displayed info is shown and to whom and when.

Facebook Algorithm: An Ever-So-Brief Breakdown

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Not so exciting, right?

Wrong. *angry buzzer sounds*

If you understand Facebook’s algorithms, you can absolutely use that shiz to your advantage to help ensure your business’s Facebook posts, pictures, etc., are viewed by as many viewers as possible. And as we’ve discussed, social media management is an integral part of well-rounded and functional SEO.

As an FYI, if you’re curious, here’s how Facebook themselves have explained the four main components of their algorithm(s):

  1. Inventory, which means available content
  2. Signals, which means content consideration
  3. Predictions, which means considerations for each person
  4. (and) Overall score

Signals tends to be the category most relevant to businesses and advertising. Within the signals category, the algorithm considers the following actions active or positive:

  1. Commenting
  2. Reacting
  3. Sharing

And the following interactions are considered passive or neutral:

  1. Clicking
  2. Hovering/Viewing
  3. Watching

The essential, mini-breakdown here is that comments, reacting, and sharing provide a “boost” to the post and it will show higher/sooner on a feed. The neutral actions are still good, but don’t hold the same boosting weight that a positive/active interaction does.

Besides this knowledge (which really only is skimming the top on this algorithm, let’s be super clear here), Facebook consistently updates their algorithms to better suit both their audience and their own needs.

If you understand the basic concepts we’ve mentioned, you also should consider that Facebook updates can change how you should run your business’s Facebook page. Let’s discuss some dos and don’ts on how to really gain some traction with your business’s Facebook.

DON’T Make Your Brand a Personal Profile Page

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Facebook announced at the beginning of 2018 that their algorithms would process “meaningful interactions” from friends and family with more priority than ads and business posts. A lot of brands were concerned this would mean that their organic traffic via Facebook would drastically decline.

Some brands thought that this meant they should sneak their brand into a personal page (you know, such as Your Name) instead of a business page, like Dominate with SEO. Using this method, at best, you will get a few days or weeks of getting through the algorithm but ultimately, you will end up in Facebook jail. Just like Google jail, it’s (usually) rightfully annoying to try and get out of.

Keep your page a business page. We’ve got tips. Facebook will not end you, we promise.

Well, as best as we can promise, that is.

DON’T Post Engagement Bait

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What’s engagement bait? Those obnoxious photos or posts that say “SHARE THIS IF YOU…” or “COMMENT YES IF YOU AGREE.” That type of thing. In late 2017, Facebook also announced that it’s downgrading these types of interactions and posts in its algorithms. This means these sordid posts will get less face time with viewers. Mega yay.

What’s this mean for you? Don’t use post engagement clickbait. Post genuine content related to your brand.

DON’T Use Clickbaity Headlines

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What’s a clickbait headline? Another obnoxious Facebook post you’ve seen time and time again: “I Can’t Believe It! You Have to See This!” or “When She Opened Her Door, She Couldn’t Believe She Saw THIS!” Facebook started downgrading these types of posts after an announcement in 2017.

Instead of this weird nonsense, use honest, direct, and concise titles and wording in your post. If you can keep it short and to the point while getting your message across, all the better.

DO Link to Quality Sites

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In mid-2017, Facebook rolled out algorithmic changes to ensure that low-quality websites would also get less viewer time. In Facebook’s own words:

“With this update, we reviewed hundreds of thousands of web pages linked to from Facebook to identify those that contain little substantive content and have a large number of disruptive, shocking or malicious ads. We then used artificial intelligence to understand whether new web pages shared on Facebook have similar characteristics. So if we determine a post might link to these types of low-quality web pages, it may show up lower in people’s feeds and may not be eligible to be an ad.”

Facebook’s AI and algorithms can now determine if what you link is baloney or malicious, basically. Make sure your website or a site you’re linking to isn’t filled with a bunch of questionable, flashing content and you’re golden on this one.

DO Post Less

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Say what now?

Promise we’re ain’t joshin’ ya, but if you post less, what you DO post has more “weight” and these posts are more likely to rise higher in a thread based on algorithms. When it’s quality versus quantity, with Facebook, always consider quality the victor.

Buffer reported their reach grew 3x when they posted when they reduced their post frequency. And no, really, go read that article. It’s equal parts fascinating and stunning.

DO Utilize Natural Engagement

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Facebook has no problem with natural engagement, unlike the various ‘baits mentioned above. The algorithms provide weight to organic interactions like replies and comments. Not shockingly, people also feel more positively about actual interaction instead of a mere like or reaction to their comment, as found in a study by Moira Burke. Makes sense, right?

Upcoming: Part II

Stay tuned for our upcoming, next edition of Managing the Facebook Algorithm. We’ll have more on FB’s algorithm changes, best practices, and more.

In the meantime, if you’re struggling to keep your Facebook afloat, reach out to us. We can help you integrate SEO and social media strategies. Why? It’s what we do. We’re professionals and we’re ready to take your campaigns to the next level. Let’s dominate together.

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