Just recently Facebook implemented a web-wide “like” button that has raised a lot of eyebrows across the SEO industry. Within the first week of being operational, over 50,000 websites have already added the button with the anticipation that the new “social link” will keep them tapped into the ever-changing and elusive social crowd. Before I go into the potential problems the SERPs are having with this new form of linking, let me explain in brief what the button is all about.
The Facebook Like Button allows users to click on a website’s Like button and share that site’s content with the user’s Facebook account. It creates a bridge from a website to a Facebook page that links up to a user and starts feeding them content within the confines of their Facebook feed. The user can then share the link with their Facebook friends, where a viral effect can take place seamlessly. They are an ideal link for news sites and any other website that has continual updates throughout the day. These buttons have been an integral part of Facebook for some time now, but as of a few weeks ago they are now available to place on any site with a few simple lines of code.
The problem that Google and other SERPs are having is that these Like buttons are not HTML friendly, but are rather part of a closed proprietary system that only Facebook can control. This closed system will not allow Google to index the links, information, and connections created. Where will the link juice go? How will these links impact page rank? How will the social links impact the order of the SERPs that Google has worked so hard to rank? These are questions that everyone in the SEO community is eager to get answers to. It may be some time before those answers come about.
With this move, Facebook is looking to become not only a bigger player in the social scene, but a new foe for Google. By bridging the gap between a company’s website and their Facebook presence, and taking some privileges to exclude the search engines, Facebook has taken yet another step in the direction of a making the web a more social scene.