Shares: out, Likes: in. Comments: ?
Facebook announced two moves this week designed to extend their reach outside of Facebook.com. The Like button's functionality was significantly enhanced. 'Likes' can now appear far more prominently in a user's feed as a full news item (including thumbnails, headlines and captions) instead of just a single line note. In short, a Like will become much more like a Share. Soshable explained the differences which gain added significance given the likelihood that the Share will decrease in importance. Facebook looks at metadata in the Liked page to help format the news feed item. Search Engine Land published an excellent tutorial on how sites can influence the text and appearance of feed items produced when their content is Liked.
Blog and article comments came next. Facebook announced a robust commenting platform that web site owners can install by pasting a few lines of code (similar to DISQUS). TechCrunch installed the system in time for a discussion on the pros and cons. The key factors are that users would post as their Facebook Profile (or as a Page that they admin) and the comment can appear in their newsfeed, creating yet another Like/Share opportunity. Facebook is pushing the 'social relevance' aspect of highlighting comments using the social graph.
Also this week Google announced and defended a significant algorithm change designed to lower the ranking of content 'farms' that apparently had enjoyed some success gaming the system. The research firm Sistrix published a widely read analysis that identified the specific sites with huge drops in their rankings (Hint: Mahalo had to lay off 10% of its headcount). Andy Beard created a Google Analytics kit so that sites could monitor their own effects and Google opened up a forum where sites could post about changes that they have experienced.