The Edge Rank algorithm gets consistent tweaks from the Facebook engineering team, and as you may well know, those tweaks are often used as panic bait among marketers and bloggers. Let’s start things of with a realistic assessment of the changes: like most Edge Rank adjustments, these changes are minor and at the end of the day, staying on the good side of the algorithm comes down to producing consistent, high quality content.
That being said, let’s take a look at Facebook’s latest adjustments in News Feed placement. In a post about the updates, Facebook engineer Varun Kacholia writes that, “Our latest update to the News Feed ranking algorithm helps ensure that the organic content people see from Pages they are connected to is the most interesting to them.”
Of course we want to see interesting content, but that’s a subjective term. What does “interesting” mean to individuals? Facebook surveyed thousands of users to find out. Participants were shown a variety of posts and asked questions about that content, for example:
- Is it timely?
- Is it from a source you would trust?
- Would you share it with friends?
- Is it generally interesting to you, or is it trying to lure you into engaging (“like this post!”)
- Would you call this a low quality post or meme?
- Would you consider hiding this post from your News Feed?
Facebook then used these data-backed insights to tweak the News Feed algorithm. There is now added emphasis on a few factors including:
- How frequently a Page’s content is reported as low quality (hidden)
- How complete the Page profile is
- Whether the fan base for a particular Page overlaps with the fan base of other known high quality Pages
According to Facebook, the results of these tweaks have been promising not just for users, but for pages that actually produce high quality content. Stories ranked as high quality not only showed up higher in the News Feed, but as a result saw a significant increase in likes, comments and shares. As we’ve seen before, previous engagement creates a kind of social snowball effect.
While Facebook’s changes are by no means drastic, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your content is seen by users in the News Feed. If you haven’t already, take a few minutes to:
- Fill out your profile throughly. Include as much detail as possible, from descriptions to contact information.
- Do an image quality audit. Check your profile picture, cover photo and every post image that goes out. You want clear, quality images not grain or cheesy graphics.
- Ask yourself if it’s truly worth sending. Are you flushing out your social media editorial calendar, or is this something fans would actually want to see?
- Don’t beg for likes. Think twice before asking your audience to “like” a post. They know what that thumbs up button means — so don’t pester fans with “like this photo if you love puppies!”-type content.
- Go for real fans, not purchased likes. The stipulation that a Page’s fan base should overlaps with the fan base should “overlap with the fan base of other known high quality Pages” sounds intimidating, but it’s just another way to make sure that you have real, human fans.