Since Facebook launched Graph Search back in January, companies of all sizes have explored different ways to take advantage of the feature. While there are several ways businesses can be affected, we glossed over one very important element: referral traffic.
Graph Search deepened the integration between Facebook and Bing. If a member searched for something that wasn’t a Page, person, or location, the social network would return a page of results powered by Bing. While this is great for referral traffic, there was no way to tell whether a visitor from Facebook came from search or a shared link somewhere on the site.
Until now, that is. According to G-Squared Interactive’s Glenn Gabe, the social network has begun sharing keyword data to websites that receive referral traffic from Graph Search. Originally, Facebook didn’t identify the keyword in the referer; however, after some more research, Gabe found that Facebook had remedied this, enabling publishers to view the search terms that led visitors to their sites.
The downside is that analytics providers, such as Google Analytics, don’t recognize Facebook as a search engine, meaning that you’ll have to manually configure your analytics to be able to see and track your Graph Search traffic and keywords. Gabe has provided a thorough walk-through of this process on his website.
For businesses, referral traffic plays an important role in bringing visibility to your website. If you’re posting links to your blog posts on Facebook in order to raise brand awareness, you want to know whether those links are driving traffic to your website, or if someone is discovering your site through search. If the latter, knowing the keyword will help you track your visitors more accurately, as well as optimize your content strategy.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.