In editing the HubSpot Facebook Page yesterday, I discovered a loophole that allowed me to pass SEO credit from links in Facebook FBML applications.
In an effort to make the HubSpot Facebook Page more interesting, engaging, and, yes, lead generating, I finally decided to custom code some marketing offers for our Page.
Some time ago, Facebook added the functionality to allow Pages to add custom content via applications that essentially serve as a blank canvas you can code with HTML or FBML (Facebook Markup Language).
While updating the custom code for our Page, I discovered that the links I added were passing SEO (search engine optimization) credit to our website!
What does this mean?
For any of you SEO newbies, the quantity and quality of links into your website are a major determinant of how well your website ranks in search engines. And a link from Facebook – a domain with great reputation and lots of SEO juice – is an incredibly high quality link. Review the basics of search engine optimization to learn more about the value of link love.
This is the first case of Facebook providing SEO credit to links from within Facebook, and very likely a loophole that Facebook didn’t catch. Allowing follow links in a powerful site like Facebook could encourage some black-hat SEO folks to start spam link-building. To avoid that, most links in Facebook are either:
(1) “No Follow” Links – The link is tagged in such a way to tell search engines not to pass any link love to the linked-to site.
(2) Redirects – Facebook first takes you to a page that warns the user that they are about to leave Facebook.
How do I get a link from Facebook?
Anyone with a Page on Facebook can code a link to their website. All you need to do is add one of the FBML applications to your Page (search for FBML in the Facebook search box to find one of the applications) and edit the application box to add your code (you’ll need to know basic HTML).
The FBML application is actually quite powerful – beyond just adding links to your website – this functionality allows you to hard code a custom box or tab to further engage fans on your Page. If you feel limited by the third party applications and current Facebook Page functionality, the custom FBML application gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of the content and features you can add to your Page.
All this said, Facebook is pretty darn smart and will very possibly correct this loophole.
UPDATE: Facebook now has made links from FBML boxes “no follow” links. While FBML applications no longer give SEO credit, they are still great opportunities to create custom interesting content for your fans!