Social Media Optimization: It’s Like SEO, For Social Sites

One of the coolest things about the rise of social networking and sharing
sites like MySpace and YouTube are the new opportunities they offer to
marketers, even to search marketers. Into that space seems to have come a new
term, SMO — social media optimization.

Rules of Social Media Optimization (SMO)
from Rohit Bhargava to my
understanding is the first use of this new term. In it, Rohit expresses how SMO
and SEO can work together:

The concept behind SMO is simple: implement changes to optimize a site so
that it is more easily linked to, more highly visible in social media searches
on custom search engines (such as Technorati), and more frequently included in
relevant posts on blogs, podcasts and vlogs.

In other words, many who do search engine optimization have learned to build
search engine friendly sites. Do that, and the search engines often will
naturally reward you with traffic. But is your site social media friendly? Have
you added the things that will get you into the new fertile ground of SMO?

It’s worth considering. Conceptually, some of this stuff isn’t new. For
example, we long had people taking about ways to help others bookmark your web
site. But today’s new wave of social media sites can operate as a magnifying
glass. Get that one person to bookmark you to and in turn you might
tap into many other links. And those links, of course, flow back into helping
with search rankings.

Rohit’s got tips in his post above. If those aren’t enough, check out Cameron

Introduction to Social Media Optimization
, which provides further tips.
Loren Baker then goes on with further ones in
Social Media Optimization :
13 Rules of SMO
, recapping those from Cameron and Rohit and adding his own.
For yet more, Lee Odden offers some up on

New Rules for Social Media Optimization
. Need still more? You can’t go wrong
keeping up with post from SEOmoz.
Rand Fishkin’s never happier than when he’s offering some SMO advice. And
someday I’m going to sit Dax Herrera down
and debrief him on the many sharing sites that I’ve him frequent with the ease
of a native. The
sale of his mustache
, while not technically on a sharing site, was still a
classic of working another site (eBay) to drive traffic to your own.

For me, that’s one of the biggest adjustments coming from the SEO world and
into SMO, understanding that your presence can be in multiple places without
being harmful.

Here’s what I mean. Generally in SEO, it’s good advice to have one single web
site that you point to. Build traffic to a common domain, rather than divide it
among various places. Sure, as you mature in SEO, you learn the advantages to
having multiple sites. A corporate blog and a corporate web site can equate to
double the representation in top search results. But there are limits, and
you’re still basically driving traffic to places you own.

With SMO, the adjustment is understanding that you have multiple places that
while you don’t own them still can be valuable to you. A Flickr profile can get
you traffic in the Flickr space. Similarly, your bookmarks while on
the site still might drive traffic. And have you gotten a MySpace
profile yet? Go now, because you might decide you want it to drive traffic from
MySpacers down the line.

Matt Cutts

— and now someone else owns his valuable
Matt Cutts persona over there.
Meanwhile, I might never flow into MySpace the way my 16 year old niece does.
But should I decide to do more there, I’m sure I’ll wish that I hadn’t let
this Danny Sullivan get the name
I wish I’d had. Still, at least I’ve staked my
claim — and Tom’s even my friend.
Except Tom’s NOT my friend,
of course.

Want to discuss more? We’ve got two good threads going in the Search Engine
Watch Forums,
Here Come’s
Social Media Optimization?
What Is
Social Search?

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