Facebook made a big announcement today when they unveiled their new "Graph Search." Even though it is dubbed a new feature, in all actuality it is really bringing back the feature of searching for new people or places based on a common interest...and then some. Back in the archaic days of college-only Facebook, students would be able to find other profiles of students they may share the same class with, even if they weren't Facebook friends. Over time, Mark Zuckerberg and crew got away from that as we saw Facebook open up registrations to everyone, Facebook Pages take over, the evolution of the Timeline and Newsfeed, and "liking."
Those things certainly aren't going away. However, it now seems that all those features everyone's grown to love will now be working together to provide search results that are more personalized than anything we've seen thus far. Take this example that Facebook provides:
Graph Search and web search are very different. Web search is designed to take a set of keywords (for example: “hip hop”) and provide the best possible results that match those keywords. With Graph Search you combine phrases (for example: "my friends in New York who like Jay-Z") to get that set of people, places, photos or other content that's been shared on Facebook. We believe they have very different uses.
These Graph Search results will be displayed based on such factors as the number of likes a restaurant may have, the location of a friend, and more, and will be able to get filtered down by a variety of different parameters (click image to enlarge).
Naturally, businesses are going to want to get a leg up on their competition and try to optimize and outrank the others for a search similar to this:
But how would that be possible considering this search is based off of where the user's friends have been to? Do not be surprised to see a giant increase in businesses rewarding customers for checking in to their locations, as the more visibility a business has on Facebook, the greater the chances they get discovered by someone who would otherwise be unaware. Considering the enourmous userbase that Facebook has, it goes without question that businesses will start trying Facebook search optimization.