I rarely see updates from pages I actually like, only sponsored posts from recommended pages. It will be interesting to see if this changes, thanks to a Facebook update to its News Feed algorithm designed to make sure users are seeing the stories that are important to them.

The update launched today is intended to filter “high quality content” directly to your newsfeed. Theoretically, businesses that post what Facebook considers “high quality content” will have their posts show up on their fans’ timelines more frequently.

But for the update to actually work, Facebook had to determine what exactly users deemed to be high quality. The social network surveyed thousands of people (on the network of over one billion users) to determine what factors make posts high quality. 

The survey included questions about relevancy, trust, potential sharing recommendations, and how they feel about the post.

Based on the results of the survey, Facebook built a system to detect page quality, fan base, and if pages’ fan bases were similar to each other. By testing the changes on a small group, the result was a significant increase in page interactions and fewer actions that hid page posts.

Facebook's Advice: Don't Post Things That Suck

Included in their announcement was a friendly reminder to pages: post great stuff and optimize it for engagement and reach. 

But aren’t pages already doing that? Many pages are fighting against others who are using sponsored posts. By giving Facebook advertising dollars, posts from pages users don’t even like will show up in their feeds. 

Facebook admitted that for most pages, the impact will be relatively small, but for those that already have frequent engagement will see increases in reach. So, the local restaurant I like on Facebook with only 100 other people won’t necessarily benefit from this update.

Ideally this change will help clean out my already cluttered news feed and give those smaller businesses that already post great content a little push. Otherwise, businesses might start seeing the value of a smaller but more dedicated audience elsewhere.