Facebook now indexed by Google

If you’ve missed the big news, it was recently announced that Google is now indexing Facebook Comments on websites (I found out from the legendary Facebook Queen herself, Mari Smith).

But don’t get confused – Google’s only indexing the comments from the Facebook connect add-on commenting system (read this if you’d like to find out how to install it on your website), NOT personal Facebook comments on Facebook itself.

These comments are now being crawled – and ranked – in Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). It seems Google is continuing to take its dedication to integrating social signals into its search algorithm. Social signals refers to a social search feature that tailors  your personal search engine result rankings that’s influenced by your own social circle i.e. if a friend of yours has commented, +1′d or “Liked” a particular article, product listing or review, that result will rank above other “organic” results.

This is obviously going to be a huge plus for e-retailers – Think Geek is a great example of this. Their product pages utilise both a Facebook social plug-in as well as the Facebook “Like” button, allowing visitors to see which of their own friends have already “Liked” the product, as well as the ability to read what other users have to say about the product.

We already know that personal advice and online comments by users influence purchase decisions more strongly than other types of information, with online reviews second only to word of mouth in purchase influence. As such, there’s now an ongoing trend for marketers to consider integration with social platforms to support and encourage online comments and personal advice around products – and it’s precisely this phenomenon that Google (and/or Facebook) is leveraging by indexing Facebook comments. The key takeaway from Rubicon’s research above? The Web is the #2 resource for customer support information, after user manuals.  It ranks ahead of calling the manufacturer or asking a dealer.

Now, more than ever before, websites have more incentive to install the add-on, once again preserving Facebook’s position as the leading social network.

We’ve got a great example of the Facebook comments plugin below, right on Asia Digital Map, showcasing the broader appeal for the plugin on blogs and other content distributors. With social signals becoming more and more important to SEO, it does look like it’s the next frontier for Google and Bing. If you’d like to find what which social signals Google and Bing actually count, Search Engine Land has a really good article here.