WTFacebook Graph Search?

WTFacebook Graph Search?

January 22, 2013 6:04 pm 2 comments

Today, I got access to the beta version of Facebook’s new Graph Search. I’m trying to go through and see how people might use it to find businesses. To say the least, I’m not impressed. I’m trying to keep in mind that it’s “beta” and will improve, but it’s looking rough for users AND marketers. Here’s why:

Scenario: I’m looking for a dentist in Denver, so I search for “dentists in Denver, Colorado” (makes sense, right?). Here are the results:

Facebook Open Graph Search test


The #5 result is a dentist that a couple of my friends have liked. Seems like it should show up higher, right?

Graph Search Results


Ok, so maybe Facebook doesn’t think I’d be most interested in the dentists my friends like. I’m assuming the top results must have some really great Facebook profiles/presences. Here’s a spreadsheet listing some information about each of the pages. The first 7 columns are info provided on the results page (circled in blue below) and the next 6 columns are info I went to each page and verified (circled in orange) to see if they might weigh in rankings/results.

Top search results


So results don’t appear to be determined by the number of likes, PTAT, number of recommendations, profile completeness or activity (photos added). So I’m not sure WHAT affects the rank. Looking at this as a marketer, it’s incredibly frustrating. Supposedly, it’s based on your individual social graph and interactions. If that’s true, wouldn’t I get Perfect Teeth in my search results? It’s a dentist I like AND 5 of my friends like it.

Graph Search Questions


I even like one of the local Perfect Teeth offices near my home. Facebook will tell me that if I narrow the search (using the menu on the right):

Dentists I like

If try to broaden that search by dentists my friends like AND dentists I like, it returns no results. Presumably because Facebook is using an AND query and not an OR query. That should be noted in the menu — just to prevent confusion. A better option would be to let the user choose the operator (and/or/not). I’m assuming this is something they’ll refine in time.


So, at first blush, the Graph Search experience sucks. Thank goodness I didn’t have a toothache. Unfortunately, now I have a headache…


Thoughts on what determines rank or if this is just a kink that they’re going to iron out as the beta test comes along?


  • Mari Smith

    Great review, Courtney. Thanks for sharing!

    • Courtney Livingston

      Thanks, Mari! I’m anxious to see how this all plays out.