Finding Facebook Pages: Graph, Keyword & Interest Search
Finding a Facebook Page is often the biggest challenge to creating Facebook Graph queries. In today’s post, we’ll look at just of few of the techniques available to find Pages and where they work best: Keyword Search, Graph Search and Interest Search.
Pages are the backbone of Facebook. Profiles link to Pages and they serve as the placeholders for connections like hometown cities, employers, job titles, colleges and degrees. These connections are made through the unique IDs or fbids assigned to each Page. These IDs make it possible to create complex queries that deliver exacting results like these:
Former GM Assembly Line Workers named Mike employed in 1979
Places in San Francisco where people named Mike Smith work
Places in San Francisco where Python programmers work
Students of 2014 who studied Computer Science and speak Python (programming)
The IDs, themselves, are easy to find. They’re often visible in the URL of the Page you’re looking for. You can also find Facebook IDs in the URLs of images uploaded by the account or within the HTML by searching for the term “fb://.”
Graph Search and Keyword Search
Graph Search and Keyword Search are your best bet for finding the things you search most, like People, Places and Things. But, these two different search methods have traditionally held different strengths.
Graph Search makes connections through IDs while Keyword Search probes text fields associated with the Object. The problem with Keyword Search is personalization and Facebook suggestions. Facebook is constantly changing and sometimes it prioritizes these results based on your location and your Profile connections instead of your search intention. Facebook complicates this further by interpreting and inserting variations of your search term into the results. For example, with personal names, Facebook includes common nicknames and equivalents in the search results like Robert and Roberto for Bob. For employer names, Facebook adds known subsidiaries to the results, such as including Warner Brothers, HBO, DC Comics and AOL employees when you searched for Time Warner, only. Keyword Search adds unnecessary data to filter through, as you can see below.
Keyword Search: Time Warner Employees
Graph Search: Time Warner Employees
You can also incorporate keyword strings within a Facebook Graph search like /users-named/ and /pages-named/ and /places-named/. Facebook did not personalize these queries until recently. Facebook now personalizes this element of your Graph search results, but the overall results should be more targeted than a Keyword Search. At the moment, Facebook’s Friend Finder appears to be the one search method that provides results without adding nicknames and equivalents. This search, of course, is limited to Profiles.
I have always preferred to use Facebook Graph to search for things like Employer pages. One reason is Graph places verified pages at the top of the results. This is especially helpful when you’re searching for companies like Microsoft which share a brand name with products and retail stores that also have Facebook Pages.
Which search method is right for you? Check out these examples for searching Facebook Pages by type. You’ll notice the search results ranking will change over time.
Degree (Concentration) Search*
* Other Degree searches to try: Degree Pages, Field Of Study and Language Page Search
Each Facebook Page is tagged with additional descriptors known as Categories. Categories tell us more about the Page, organize them into groups and make it possible to search them, as well. Pages under the Work Position Category are reserved for Professional Job Titles. The Field of Study Category, on the other hand, is a collection of educational degrees and professional certifications.
You can find these Pages using the Work Position and Degree Search queries listed above. The best match usually lists the Category you’re looking for beneath the title. It might also have a large Like count. If you’re unsure about the choices, try adding it to the Employer, Title or Degree to your Profile and then inspect the HTML code to identify the fbid or Page.
There are over a hundred different types of Categories on Facebook and each can have hundreds of Pages. Most Categories are set aside to describe Places like Seafood Restaurants and Airports, I’ve listed some examples you’ll find related to employers and education below. Some of these Pages share similar names, but the distinctions will be clear when you consider how the Category was intended to be used.
Example Facebook Page Categories
Field of Study
Skills & Likes
Academics & Certifications
Engineer, Engineer Degree
Computer Science, CCNA
Facebook’s Interest search does an excellent job of finding Pages associated with Job Titles, Professional Skills, Degrees and Certifications. Use it to find Profiles that claim or Like specific skills and backgrounds.
Interests are things that users care about and add to their Profile. They can range from Ballroom Dancing to Software Engineering and programming languages like Java. These interests are sometimes linked by the Profile as a language or a Like.
There’s more than one way to find a Facebook Page. These are just a few of the techniques available for finding specific types of Pages that we can use in constructing advanced queries on Facebook.
Part I of my book series Facebook Search outlines many techniques for finding Pages and using them to refine our search results. Each technique is accompanied with search examples and a resource section listing examples of Page CategoryIDs.
Check out Facebook Search on Amazon.com today. It makes an excellent desk reference for today’s power searcher.