Facebook Likes Integrated into Search – Yay or Nay?

So Bing upped the ante this week in its continual bid to gain marketshare from Google by beginning to include information about Facebook, particularly Likes, in their search results. To see this type of search result, a user would, of course, need to be logged in to Facebook when performing a search. And, you will have to grant Bing access to your Facebook profile. My question is does this really make search better?

I’m not sure it does. Perhaps for some types of searches – like restaurants in the area or entertainment type queries, but for informational searches, I am not sure that prioritizing things that people in my Facebook network have liked improves my search experience or gets me to the best results. A Like has a pretty low threshold for participating – one simple click. Does it really carry enough weight to start filtering search engine results?

Some people, particularly the Facebook obsessed (and you know who you are!) will probably love this new feature. But what does this mean for businesses and search engine optimization? I am a firm believer in solid SEO practices for any site and I don’t think that will change, even with the integration of more and more social aspects into search results. It does give me some pause though, as popularity via social networks may eventually supercede or at least equal quality, objective web sites and content.

Do we really want the web to turn into a Facebook popularity contest? Think about who’s in your Facebook network – how much influence do you want them to have over the search results you see? Recommendations from trusted friends will always be a very powerful commodity and motivator – I’m just not sure that a Facebook Like should be given that much weight…

AdAge has a great article about Bing’s new feature – you can read it here.

We will definitely be keeping an eye on this and will report back on what we’re seeing in the search space and how it is impacting our clients and others in our networks.

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