Using keywords to climb to the top of Google’s searches is nothing new for businesses. But as sponsored stories become more popular, could news feed optimization be far behind?

Jessica Leber of MIT’s Technology Review feels that savvy marketers will soon be trying to master Facebook’s news feed. Just like companies now use keywords to get to the top of Google searchers, more businesses will likely try to do what they can to be seen prominently on news feeds.

Currently, Facebook uses EdgeRank to sort newsfeeds. Leber explains how EdgeRank works and how the social network’s algorithm could be key to advertisers:

The details are few, but what’s known is that the EdgeRank formula is based on how Facebook judges the closeness of two people (or a person and a brand), how valuable an activity is (sharing a photo is better than clicking “like,” for instance), and how long ago it took place. Precisely how these factors are measured is not revealed, and, like Google, Facebook is constantly making tweaks.

The algorithm is becoming important to marketers, who face pressure to justify the budgets being poured into Facebook. PageLever, a Facebook analytics company started in 2010, estimates that the average company page reaches fewer than 8 percent of its fans with updates. That could get worse, as more people post more content from smart phones, thereby cluttering feeds.

The story also quotes Tim Chae, founder of PostRocket, a startup that works with pages and helps them become more prominent and successful on Facebook. Chae feels that the practice of news feed optimization could be a major deal for businesses in the near future.

Readers: How do you feel about businesses competing for prime real estate on your news feed?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.