Facebook: No Plans To Give Search Engines Access To Facebook Questions


That’s one of the big questions people are asking after yesterday’s launch of Facebook Questions. While many have assumed the answer would be “yes,” a Facebook spokesperson tells us that assumption is wrong.

Currently, search engines cannot access questions and answers through our Questions product. That may be something we consider for the future but have no current plans to allow it.

Facebook is blocking search engines by only showing Questions to logged-in users. Sure enough, a site:facebook.com/questions/ search on Google shows only a handful of results, none of which are actually Q&A from the first 24 hours that the beta has been open.


The same search produces zero results on both Yahoo and Bing.

Facebook’s move is unusual. As far back as 2007, the company was starting to open up some content to search engines — a trend that’s continued more recently with various agreements to let search engines access certain user content. For years, Yahoo Answers has been a pretty formidable rankings powerhouse, and no doubt gets a substantial amount of traffic via search engines.

It’s odd that Facebook would want to ignore that traffic source entirely. Don’t be surprised if this policy changes.

Postscript, July 30: Experian Hitwise has responded to my claim near the end of this article about how much traffic Yahoo Answers gets via search engines. In a tweet this morning, Hitwise reports that “62% of upstream visits to Yahoo Answers came via Google last week.”

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Facebook | Search Engines: Answer Search Engines | Search Engines: Help Engines | SEO: Blocking Spiders | Top News | Yahoo: Answers


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • http://www.localseoguide.com Andrew Shotland

    And all Q&A sites breath a (temporary) sigh of relief

  • http://WebPieRat.com jillkocher

    Oh I don’t know — with Facebook gearing up to become a search engine itself, why would they allow bots into more of their unique content? Of course, the idea of Facebook as a credible search engine makes me weep based on today’s performance, but that’s beside the point.

  • http://twitter.com/MichelleObama7 Clifford Bryan

    Facebook is really keeping its options open in terms of innovation.

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