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The future of SEO has to include SMO. That should be clear by now, if not clear relatively soon. The rise and dominance of such technologies and sites as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Digg, YouTube, Sphinn, (etc.) have ensured this future. Like telling our kids that the future is in their hands, so we are telling the users – not the companies – that the future of the Internet is in theirs.
What is SMO?
SMO, or Social Media Optimizing, is the newest and most sought after branch of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). It’s taking what was once all about writing, codes and web design, and expanding to include social networks, the media and the camera. In fact, by definition it’s using these additional tactics for the purpose of boosting visibility and traffic through social media, online communities and community websites.
How does SMO work?
There are many methods of social media optimization, but they generally break down into two types: on-page and off-page. Both work together in cooperation to build your network and stimulate traffic to your site. They combine to increase visibility, adapt and refresh your site’s style and voice, and build a greater fan base.
Some of the greatest and easiest methods are done on your website. The goal of performing on-page SMO is first and foremost to create a greater “linkability” for your page, especially for the content. A great first step is blogging. When you connect your site with a personal or corporate blog, you immediately speak to a different circle. Blogging offers an informal space for you to inform, engage and discuss your company. The better the blog, the more traffic you’ll have.
Also important is adding content to your site that makes tagging and bookmarking easier, not only so a user can remember and return to your site, but also so that he or she can share your site with others. Social bookmarking websites like delicious.com have made sharing sites easy and popular.
Working off-page is important also for boosting traffic and visibility. By sharing content with other social media sites you can expand your network and target audience beyond the search engines. The first step is to create sharable media like .pdfs, video files and audio files. Then, you can submit them not only to your site, but also to the media sites. Again, the better the content, the more traffic you will receive.
Two examples of social media sites are Twitter and Facebook. While Twitter was originally just a way to keep in touch and update friends on what you’re doing, it’s now much more than that. Businesses have begun using Twitter for company updates and information, as well as getting immediate feedback from customers and clients. Twitter isn’t for posting ads; it’s for engaging and building your audience (i.e. potential customers).
Facebook and other sites such as LinkedIn, are excellent places to expand your network. Whether this means making friends, meeting others interested in your particular niche or creating strong B2B relationships, adding these sites to your SMO efforts can achieve several purposes; back links to your site, increasing awareness of your site or product, public exposure and creating interest in your brand are just a few examples of what using these sites can do for you.
As the Internet changes so does SEO. It’s no longer simply about writing and coding, but about blogging, videos, networks, conversations and, most importantly, engaging your target audience. Marketing and networking are now just as important and effective; SEO must transition into, and turn toward, SMO. As you continue building your site along the Internet highways and byways, ask yourself: What are you doing to get your SMO on?
Update on this article thanks to Lee Oden