Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 3:11 pm | by franc
What is Social Media Optimization?
“Social Media Optimization” or “SMO” was first coined by Rohit Bhargava to describe the method through which sites generate traffic and publicity through social media Web sites. Bhargava deduced that there were 6 rules for conducting Social Media Optimization:
1.) Increase your linkability
2.) Make tagging and bookmarking easy
3.) Reward inbound links
4.) Help your content travel
5.) Encourage the mashup
6.) Get communities connected
The idea behind Social Media Optimization is to get as many sites to link back as possible to your site using the readily available tools of the large social media Web sites such as digg, stumbleupon, and facebook as well as blogs, forums, RSS syndication sites, press release aggregators, and article hosting sites. Social Media Optimization goes a step further than the standard SEO best practices because it also incorporates video and images as optimal content. Social Media Optimization greatly benefits SEO though through the generation of organic backlinks and Social Media Optimization benefits from the core concepts of SEO forming a symbiotic relationship.
The end goal of Social Media Optimization is to drive traffic to a site and generate backlinks. Backlinks are links from another Web site to your Web site. They help to increase your authority in the search engines and improve rankings. Organic links, such as those from social media sites, also generate traffic. Organic links are links that develop without payment to the third party Web site. These are ideal links and provide the most value to a site. They provide both authority with the search engines as well as good amounts of traffic. This essentially places Social Media Optimization on the crossroads between SEO, online reputation management (ORM), and general Web marketing.
SMO as an Integral Part of SEO
The core practices of SEO are sound, but restricting. With any SEO campaign, there is always the subject of inbound linking to consider. There are many ways to go about it, but the very best links are generated organically. These links are much harder to get which is why they are more highly valued. They also make a statement about the quality of your content. Only great content has a lot of organic backlinks. The search engines know this and rank pages accordingly. Because of this, organic linking must be a part of an SEO campaign for it to be truly optimal. For many sites, organic linking and paid linking can be made to work together to maximize the number of backlinks.
If we take a typical SEO campaign that addresses text content, META tags, architecture/URLs, and inbound links, then inbound linking comprises approximately 60% of your rank. This means that it is the single most important aspect determining where you rank in the engines. Of course content is important, but the major engines consider links to be the most accurate description of a site’s authority. The keywords you actually rank for are determined by the text content on the site and the text in the inbound links, but the power and authority of a site is derived from the quantity and quality of inbound links.
This has a very powerful effect on the effectiveness of an SEO campaign. You can write the best text content on the Web on the most search engine friendly site around, but without links you will find it hard to rank for even non-competitive terms. Social Media Optimization dictates that we not get tunnel vision on the search engines and consider the millions of other sites that might also like our content and direct their users to it. In this way, we are really optimizing a site for not only search engines, but Webmasters in general as well. SEO provides what the search engines want and Social Media Optimization provides what other sites want. Together, they provide the most effective campaign possible.