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EdgeRank – the secrets of Facebook’s PageRank

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17 November 2010

Media invaders - EdgeRank vs PageRank

Media invaders - EdgeRank vs PageRank

Until recently Google was the lone collosus bestriding the web world. Knowlege of how its system of ranking web pages in search results works (called PageRank) was a key bit of knowledge webmasters, SEO experts, marketing professionals needed.

But there’s a new upstart in town. With time spent on Facebook far exceeding that spent on Google, with traffic driven by Facebook matching and in some cases outstripping Google, the spotlight has turned onto Facebook and in particular it’s News Feed.

Jeff Jarvis calls the Newsfeed Facebook’s secret sauce. It’s the news according to your crowd. But what he failed to mention is not all members of your crowd’s News feed are treated equally. This blog post elaborates on how the feeds work:

To explain further, every Facebook profile has a live feed and a news feed. The feed is a stream of content and Facebook status updates coming from your friends, groups, causes and the pages you Like (also ads you have Liked – so-called social adds – end up in the feed). For every unique profile (or Facebook account) there is a unique feed. Your feed is different then mine because we each follow and friend different people/organizations. The live feed is a real-time stream of posts that populate as they occur.

The news feed is a little bit more complicated. Facebook determines what should go in your news feed based on your previous behaviors, and not everything makes the cut.

It’s important to understand that there is a view on the News Feed that allows you to see your friends’, Groups’, Likes’ updates – Twitter like – in real-time.

But the vast majority of users view their feed through the Top News feed (that’s the default setting).

Facebook EdgeRank Top News

Facebook EdgeRank Top News

And this is where EdgeRank comes in. EdgeRank is an algorithm like PageRank – it ranks content. You don’t get to see all status updates unless EdgeRank deems it important enough.

Some estimates have it that only 0.5% of status updates make it to Top News. In other words – if you have 200 Facebook fans or friends, and you publish a status update, on average only 1 of those 200 will see it!

Specialer than you

That is if EdgeRank does not deem you special.

You will notice that there are some persons or brands in your feed that show up regularly. And some people who you never see. Why? How does this work?

Lets have a closer look at EdgeRank – the arbiter of what you get to see.

The Edgerank algorhythm

The Edgerank algorithm

Affinity score
What is the relationship between the Edge Creator (The content creator) and the viewing user. Yeah, if you have not friended each other, or Liked you won’t even figure in feeds. But the more Friends or Followers have liked posts, commented on them, the more likely your Affinity Score will go up. What is not clear is if the number of mutual relationships play into these scores at all. At this stage it seems it does not.

Weight score
This is attached to the particular content you shared. The more Likes, the more Comments, the higher the weight of that content. It would seem – anecdotally that mutual relationships do play a role in pushing this score higher.

Time or Recency score
Content looses its mojo quickly. It’s seldom that you will see content in a Newsfeed that’s over 48 hours old. It’s very different from Google’s PageRank if you think about it. With PageRank content can accrue value over time.

Now this has a number of implications.

Things for you to consider:

  • Affinity scores are the scores that really matter;
  • New Facebook accounts will have a much harder time to get noticed since they have low Affinity scores;
  • Google’s PageRank has an inherit bias towards good content, and to an extent this is true for EdgeRank. Although celebrity and relationships do muddy the waters, making it possible for inane content to figure more prominently if the affinity score is high enough.
  • The so-called long tail does not apply in Facebook land in the same as it applies to search. Content falls from grace and out of mind quickly.
  • Google’s PageRank encourages the creation of good content. The user behaviour of promiscuous people flitting between websites that have the best stuff, ignoring the brand of sites has become common. Facebook’s affinity score however encourages a return brand building.

Strategies for getting seen:

  • Write compelling status updates – yes content is King;
  • Diversify the types of content you share – Some of your followers of Friends might not be interested in what you have to say. You can get around that by posting content on divergent topics. If they interact with this, your overall score will go up, and all your content will be visible more prominently to them.
  • Now and again, ask friends to Like or Comment on a particular bit of content;
  • Use video as often as possible – Video is easy to dip into and engaging, and video makes great little thumbnails in the news feed – making your stuff stand out;
  • Bear in mind when most people access Facebook and when most people are likely to see your content. It might be that posting late at night might be better as there are few bits of competing content, although you might have a

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1 Comment

  • Posted by klikharry
    May 29, 2012 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    can we earn some money from facebook?

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