You’ve probably heard the news: Facebook is finally developing a “dislike” button.
While this has nothing to do with organic search YET, one could surmise that this may become something that Google and other search engines look for when assessing content and users’ feelings towards a particular brand. In fact, there are two possible scenarios for how the new Facebook dislike button will impact your rankings:
Scenario 1: Facebook “dislikes” boost your rankings, because it shows a post gets more attention and empathy, and so should probably be more visible. It’s unlikely that content with a high engagement of “sympathies” would be buried.
Scenario 2: Facebook “dislikes” push content further down the page, losing rankings because users find the content helpful, off-topic, or offensive.
Scenario 1: Facebook Wants A Button That Expresses Empathy, Not Distaste
Facebook’s primary use case for this dislike button is probably not actually “disliking,” per se. Like others in the tech community have pointed out, the Facebook dislike button likely won’t be designed for down-voting, disagreement, or flagging poor quality.
…the Facebook dislike button likely won’t be designed for down-voting, disagreement, or flagging poor quality.
Instead, Facebook will be angling for more “empathy,” trying to capture a fuller range of emotions from its users. They don’t just want to capture the good stuff like, “I’m in a new relationship,” or “I’m on vacation.” They want more engagement, and of course, more data.
Perhaps you see a post about a traumatic personal event – like a divorce, losing a job, or a car accident. Perhaps you see a piece of disturbing news – like a story on police brutality or election fraud. The new button, in Facebook’s purported design, would give users a chance to emphasize. It would actually be a way of earmarking the content as being more shareworthy, not less.
Facebook will try hard to make it so users don’t see the dislike button as a negative sentiment. Time will tell whether they succeed or not.
Scenario 2: Marketers Want The Dislike Button to Help Them Understand What their Audience – Well — Dislikes.
With that said, it’s quite possible the “dislike” button will become much more than just a way to empathize once it becomes a part of Facebook’s marketing services. It’s fair to speculate that Facebook will give people the option to straight up “dislike” something that they see, while also having the option to express empathy. At the end of the day, if Facebook wants people to be able to express their negative emotions, then not liking something will have to be a part of that spectrum.
Look: Facebook wants to make money. Giving marketers the ability to let’s say, run a paid campaign that gives people the ability to pit two products against one another by telling their customers to “like” and “dislike” is very attractive. This is all speculation though.
Either way I’m just happy I can finally dislike—ahem empathize– all of those DubSmash videos that my boss Stephan keeps posting to my wall.
What Marketing Leaders Are Saying about the Facebook Dislike Button
Speaking of speculation, we had two leaders in the social media marketing and search space — Vitacost’s Lisa Weinberger and Education Dynamic’s Josepf Haslam — weigh in with some incredibly insightful comments. Read the below, and add your thoughts in the comments.
1. The Facebook Dislike Button Will Help Us Craft Better Content
“It will be interesting to see how the dislike button affects brands. A study Eric Enge at Stone Temple did a few years back about Facebook passing SEO ranking signals to Google said it was inconclusive.
“Our Attempt to Directly Measure Indexing and Ranking of Facebook Shared Links Was Inconclusive. We just did not have enough participation to be sure of the results. However, the data we did have showed that Google did not even crawl the pages based on Facebook shares. This is an indicator that Google does not use this either, but we can’t take that one to the bank.”
For overall brand awareness and recognition, I think having dislikes on posts will give Community and Social Media Managers more data to use on showing which types of Facebook postings their community likes and dislikes.
The dislike button could also help content creators when brainstorming topic ideas in choosing which content format types they may want to invest their time in creating.”
-Lisa Weinberger (Director of Social, SEO, and Content, Vitacost)
2. The Facebook Dislike Button Could Be Your Next Best Friend
Consider a “like” to be a weak form of a review or endorsement. Like shows an affinity whereas a comment or Share typically is recognized as a higher form of engagement. Comments and Shares are recognized as stronger forms of engagement.
With that in mind, the Dislike could be your next best friend. Consider why people write a review anyway. They typically love it or hate it. The Dislike will bring out the haters and this is good news.
Attention is always better than being ignored. For everyone who potentially Dislikes something (and sharing it to their social graph) you could have ten more rally to defend. Arguments will ensue. More attention will be gained.
Savvy companies will embrace the Dislike and be prepared to watch their advocates and community handle it themselves. Reactive companies will try to bury or avoid Dislikes. Completely to their detriment. They will tend to put out less and less content or bland paste that no one likes or dislikes.
In the end we all win. If you are truly Disliked you are already in trouble. Word will get out. You cannot control it. Use the Dislike as feedback to understand the outside POV and improve. Or perish.
Will Dislike become a Ranking signal of some sort? Yes, yes it will. Even if not explicitly incorporated into an SEO signal it will be found with Social Signals and people will steer towards higher rated entities.
You choice. Make Dislike your best friend or choose to become less relevant. I like it.”
-Josepf Haslam (Director of Social, SEO, and Display Advertising, Education Dynamics)