Last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced several updates that changed how the platform populates News Feeds. As one of the largest sources of referral traffic for many websites, any change to Facebook’s algorithm has the potential to have major impact on the visibility, engagement, and profits of your site.
Let’s review what the Facebook algorithm changes entail, whether they affect your site traffic, and how Jetpack can help you navigate these changes to better distribute your content.
An overview of the algorithm change
According to Mark Zuckerberg’s post on the first of several algorithm changes in 2018, Facebook’s goal is to make News Feeds about facilitating “meaningful social interactions,” over “helping you find relevant content.” In theory, the outcome should yield more updates from friends and family and fewer ads and posts from websites, brands, and companies.
Since connecting with friends and family is a primary reason why people create Facebook accounts, this change should result in more positive user experiences.
How it might impact site traffic
The downside to the aforementioned Facebook algorithm change is that it could have negative effects on the traffic that websites, brands, and companies receive from their Facebook activities.
There’s a finite amount of posts that an individual’s News Feed displays at any given time. Therefore, if a higher proportion of those posts are from friends and family members, there will be fewer opportunities for brands to get the visibility and clicks they desire.
According to Forbes, Facebook made up roughly 25% of publishers’ external referral traffic at the beginning of last January. By the end of February, that figure dwindled to 22%.
The bottom line is that engagement with friends and family is likely to increase, but referral traffic to other websites is likely to suffer significantly.
Use Facebook to engage your audience
While the algorithm change might be bad news for publishers who previously relied on Facebook to deliver a steady stream of traffic, all is not lost. There are still plenty of ways to use Facebook to engage with your audience.
There are still millions of daily Facebook users out there. Even if your business’s content receives fewer views, your potential audience is still quite large, and the traffic that Facebook can drive to your website remains significant.
This is why it’s important to continue sharing your posts on Facebook regularly. Publicize facilitates this by automatically sharing new content to your Facebook page as soon as you publish it. Just connect Publicize to your Facebook account and select the relevant page for your brand.
It’s also important to note that Facebook recently made another change that disables automatic content sharing to individual profiles. You can still share branded content on your profile, you just need to manually do it.
If you were previously promoting your website or business content through your personal Facebook profile, you can no longer automatically do this using Publicize or another service. However, you can regain this ability by converting your personal profile into a page, or setting up an entirely new page just for your brand.
In addition to automatically sharing your content, here are some tips and strategies that you can employ to capture as much site traffic as possible:
- Only share your best content. If you consistently post content that receives little-to-no engagement, Facebook will give your posts less and less visibility.
- Add social sharing buttons to your posts. Instead of working against the update, make it work for you. Enable your existing readers to conveniently distribute your content to their own networks of friends and family members.
- Pay to boost your best posts. The latest Facebook algorithm change made the platform more of a “pay-to-play” space for brands that want to drive referral traffic. Fortunately, paying for more visibility is not a complicated process. Just be sure to choose your best content so that it’s money well spent.
- Start a Facebook group to carve out your own space for user engagement. You will see more success getting members of a Facebook group to see one of your posts than just hoping it will be shown to those who liked your page. You can’t automatically share to Facebook groups, but they’re great places to manually post content that will encourage discussions and interactions.
Don’t let change deter you
For publishers, the Facebook landscape is very different now than it was a few years ago. But, when it comes to promoting your content, a dip in Facebook referral traffic is no reason to abandon the social network altogether.
With your website connected to your Facebook page and a few complementary content-sharing strategies, you can still grow your following and drive plenty of Facebook users to your website.