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In a move that will both improve the user experience significantly for Facebook users and curtail a branded page’s reach even further, Facebook has explicitly revealed what it will be seeking to crack down upon within its new update.

Facebook first ‘tweaked’ the algorithim in January this year, ensuring that content from the people that users engage with the most is prioritised, ensuring content from a ‘liked’ company’s Facebook page will become a negligible presence.

I discussed last week how your brand can market itself on Facebook in light of the new changes. Facebook has now made it much simpler and cheaper to take out a variety of ad types and ‘boosted posts’.

That’s not to say that your free-to-run Facebook page will no longer be seen by fans, in fact the golden rules of content marketing still apply: if your content is engaging enough and tailored for your specific Facebook audience, then you shouldn’t see too much of a drop-off.

As of last week however, if you’ve been using your Facebook page in a manipulative, click-baiting manner, Facebook will be making things a lot harder for you.

Here are the three areas to steer clear of:

Like-baiting

Explicitly asking users to like, comment or share a post in order to achieve artificial reach that it wouldn’t normally receive.

Disgusting! 

Previously in Facebook’s algorithm, the more engagement a post has, the more prominent it appears in the news feed. According to Facebook’s own survey, 15% of users found these posts annoying and less relevant than other posts with organically achieved engagement.

Facebook will be targeting pages that regularly and explicitly ask for engagement. However Facebook has promised that it won’t penalise pages that are genuinely trying to encourage discussion amongst its fans.

Frequently Circulated Content

When content is continuously uploaded and reshared over and over again by the same page. 

Facebook’s own survey revealed that users are more likely to complain about a page that indulges in repetitive usage of the same post. An early test to de-emphasise these click-baity pages caused users to hide 10% fewer stories from pages overall.

Theoretically this won’t affect users and pages that coincidentally share and reshare posts that others have uploaded and shared before, it should only affect those that continuously post the same content at the source.

Spammy Links

Facebook is clamping down on erroneous linking. If you claim that a link takes you to quality content offsite, yet only contains ads or even malicious and harmful content, Facebook has now installed better technology to detect such practices and penalise your page.

Since the introduction of these measures, in early tests, Facebook has seen a 5% increase in people on Facebook clicking links that take them offsite. This hopefully means that users trust content in their news feed a lot more, now that they know it’s a safer place to be.

In conclusion…

This clamp-down on manipulative like-baiting may mean that it isn’t time to give up the Facebook page just yet and concentrate solely on paid ads. Theoretically if users’ news feeds aren’t drowning in rubbish content designed to artificially attract engagement, your own quality content now stands a better chance to be seen.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 15 April, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

686 more posts from this author

Comments (2)

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Joe Downie

Useful insight and explanation, thanks. Will be interesting to know how exactly FB "won’t penalise pages that are genuinely trying to encourage discussion amongst its fans."

over 2 years ago

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Donna

I wonder if this also applies to facebook competitions that encourage you to 'Like' or 'Comment' to enter? As they can be equally as spammy.

over 2 years ago

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