Move Over SEO – the New Kid On the Block is SMO

What is SMO you ask? Social Media Optimization. If you haven’t heard the name or acronym yet, you will soon and you will hear it often. SMO simply means your social media accounts are optimized so you will be found within those sites as well as by search engines. For example, if you complete your LinkedIn profile and use your keywords and phrases within it, a potential client, customer, business partner, or job recruiter will find you if they use LinkedIn’s search.

During the course of the past 10 years while I have been creating websites, I've never fallen victim to the hype around Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Oh sure, I paid attention to keywords way back when search engines deemed them the most important factor, and later turned my attention to headings and important words within the page text, along with keywords in the head tag. However I never tried to load keywords in a page just for search engine ranking. Content is what's important, and if it brings with it good search engine placement, the content must be good. If pages are loaded with keywords but make very little sense, what good are they really?

As Google has evolved and search engines in general have become more sophisticated, I had to question if anyone really knew the secret to great search engine results. I've never misrepresented myself to any client by giving them false hope or expectations. I know some so-called SEO experts charge big bucks for SEO but I always wondered if their clients found it valuable.

Enter social media and our latest and greatest acronym – SMO. SMO and relevance go hand in hand. I wrote a post several weeks ago about Facebook's Edge ranking system — Are Your Facebook Posts Showing Up In News Feeds or Lost Forever In Some Mysterious Black Hole?. As I compare my Top News and Most Recent listings in my Facebook Newsfeed, I am more convinced each day how much relevance matters.

Relevant factors include links to and from your website. This includes links from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. The more often you can post on your social media sites and link back to your website or blog, the more search engines will notice you and your subject matter. So get out there and post great content consistently and make it easy for those cute, little search engine spiders to find you. After all, isn't it about serving your market and making it easy for your market to find you, even if they don't yet know you exist?

Another term you will likely come to hear more frequently in the near future, if you aren't already, is Inbound Marketing. The old way of marketing is putting your information out there, whether in print or on the web, and waiting for your potential customers to find you. With Inbound Marketing, you play a more active role in getting yourself into your potential clients’ space on the web. That means connecting with your target market on social media sites and then consistently posting content they find helpful, interesting, and relevant.

My best advice to any business is to get in on this new way of marketing your business with social media. Yes, it takes time. Yes, you must learn how to do it well, but the learning is not difficult. No, it’s not free. Sure, the sites are free to use, but it takes time and your time is valuable. But social media is the way of the future in web marketing and understanding Social Media Optimization now will prove to be well worth your time spent in the future. Yes, these sites will continue to evolve and change, but if you get in now, you can evolve with them and grow your business in the process.

Written by Laura on December 1, 2010

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