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Facebook Launches ‘Click-Gap’ Algorithm Ranking Signal

Updates Lanch As Part Of Wide-reaching News Feed Changes

Facebook has just announced one of its most significant News Feed algorithm updates yet, with the launch of ‘Click-Gap’.

Click-Gap borrows heavily from search engine algorithm rankings, in principle, with Facebook now putting a much heavier emphasis on off-social quality signals.

As of this week, Facebook will be assessing a business’s off-Facebook link profile, traffic and references to determine quality and legitimacy.

Click-Gap forms part of a wider batch of community updates announced last week, with the feature introduced to help improve the integrity and quality of social feeds.

Apparently, Social’s Now All About Inbound Links?

Click-Gap is a fascinating News Feed update and is a much more radical development than the social updates marketers have come to expect since the start of 2018.

Updates over the past 16 months have focused on on-social ranking signals like feed interaction, community benefit, load speeds and new formats.  

With its off-Facebook focus, Click-Gap brings a whole new dimension to social rankings. A dimension very likely to find its way into other social channels in the not distant future.

Guy Rosen, Facebook VP of Integrity, and Tessa Lyons, Head of News Feed Integrity

‘This new signal, Click-Gap, relies on the web graph, a conceptual “map” of the internet in which domains with a lot of inbound and outbound links are at the centre of the graph and domains with fewer inbound and outbound links are at the edges.

Click-Gap looks for domains with a disproportionate number of outbound Facebook clicks compared to their place in the web graph. This can be a sign that the domain is succeeding on News Feed in a way that doesn’t reflect the authority they’ve built outside it and is producing low-quality content.’

Algorithm Winners And Losers

Since the beginning of 2018, most feed updates have centred on trying to reduce or cut the visibility of fake news, extreme content or spam clogging feeds.

Alas, for marketing communicators we are often caught in friendly fire.

Those likely to lose most from Click-Gap will be the social pure-plays or those heavily skewed to Facebook only.

Moreover, probably, influencers and small businesses.

As per Facebook’s description above, a lack of inbound links in other channels, or even from other websites, all could send up a red-flag to feed algorithms, further reducing visibility.

Inevitably, the same should apply to Instagram in time. Given Instagram’s own, lesser-documented, problems with fake news and extreme content.

However, it is not all doom and gloom.

The big winners are likely to be those who already have a semi-decent link profile, or who have invested in SEO previously and/or currently.

For example, government organisations should fare well, as should large companies, publishers and brands with decent web experiences. Essentially those who rank well in search should expect some upside in social moving forward.

Social Meets SEO

Unfortunately, for those who feel the pinch with this latest update, this will not be a quick fix, unlike with other more recent updates. Improving a domain's link profile can be done, it just isn't quick.

And, no.

Don't buy website backlinks from that friendly stranger who just emailed you offering you 10,000 links for US$9. He's also possibly lying about needing your help to redeem a multi-million dollar lottery ticket.

Now, let’s be clear, Click-Gap forms part of the Facebook algorithm. It is not the only ranking signal.

A poor link profile needn’t be the end of the world if other signals are strong. After all, algorithms way up a range of criteria.

But if ever marketers needed another sign to reinvest in search engine optimisation (SEO) in 2019/2020, this must surely be it.

Since mid-2017, Google has been the better channel for content marketing and now good SEO will also see you right in social. What’s not to like?

 

 

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