Facebook is a great platform for sharing content and generating engagement, which is why many businesses leverage it to drive traffic to their sites.
But on the face of it, the launch of Facebook Instant Articles may not immediately seem like something that will have anything to do with traditional SEO.
Sure, instant articles are getting enhanced with more multimedia features, with the introduction of video recently announced. But what are the optimisation implications and how should sites prepare for the changes that could come about following widespread adoption by publishers?
The intent behind Instant Articles is to make it easier for Facebook’s mobile users to access content added by publishers without finding that their experience is compromised by the limitations of their device’s hardware or their network connection.
When a link is clicked on Facebook, mobile users will end up with the Instant Article iteration of the content displayed for them, while those who are still sticking with a desktop machine for their social networking needs will head straight to the site as normal.
The upshot of this is even sites that are already optimised for mobile visitors will get trumped by Instant Articles when accessed via a mobile. And publishers are already seeing the benefits in terms of engagement and ad revenues.
From a publisher’s perspective, Instant Articles could have search optimisation benefits even if they are ultimately unintended side effects.
Firstly there is a 50 article minimum to reach in order to be approved to use the service, as well as keyword-based optimisation required in order to achieve the right levels of organic engagement on Facebook itself. The increased volume of content and the enhanced attention to detail will no doubt lead to pages becoming better optimised for search in tandem with Instant Articles.
Secondly there will be the impetus to take formatting seriously in order to make the most of Facebook’s platform, since everything from title tags to embedded media will need to be perfected. And as the likes of Dublin SEO agency www.rycomarketing.ie and others will point out, this should develop good SEO habits.
Finally the multimedia elements will encourage publishers to be bolder in their content experiments, creating innovative articles that outshine the competition. So the SEO value of Facebook Instant Articles should be significant.