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Where are Those Gorgeous Facebook Notes?

Have you searched for something lately and ended up reading a Facebook Notes post?

Yeah, me neither.

I gave Google a week to find my public note on facebook:

/galleries/dropbox/fb-notes-google-nope.png

All hope is lost.

But it is really there:

/galleries/dropbox/fb-notes-uuid.png

This page really exists!

Guess what? No search engine other than Facebook itself can know about that post, because as soon as e.g. Google hits https://facebook.com/roman.yepishev it sees this:

/galleries/dropbox/fb-home.png

Welcome to the walled garden.

There is no entry point to Facebook Notes. Will there be one? Maybe... No. Look at Facebook's robots.txt - it does not really want the search engines to look inside, but it does not mind if you end up with a direct link.

...
User-agent: Googlebot
Disallow: /ajax/
Disallow: /album.php
Disallow: /checkpoint/
Disallow: /contact_importer/
Disallow: /feeds/
Disallow: /file_download.php
Disallow: /hashtag/
Disallow: /l.php
Disallow: /live/
Disallow: /p.php
Disallow: /photo.php
Disallow: /photos.php
Disallow: /sharer/
Disallow: /topic/

...
User-agent: *
Disallow: /

So how can people read the notes?

There are two ways - they are either already browsing Facebook, and somebody on Facebook shared the note to their friends (less likely - they specifically search for the text in the note). Or, alternatively, if somebody outside of Facebook posted a direct link to the page.

But it does not have to be that way. You can find the only reference to my unique post hosted here from the sitemap.xml generated by the blog engine directly. And Google found it. Google is awesome at finding things:

/galleries/dropbox/blog-unique-note.png

It took Google almost a week, but it found the page. Because I want my posts to be found.

So please, publish your stuff on the open web (contrary to how it looks, Medium is not so open), somewhere the search gods (and mortal people) can actually find you.

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