Why social media optimization is the new SEO

There is much discussion among marketers these days as they try to determine whether or not social media optimization (SMO) has replaced search engine optimization (SEO). While it's difficult to predict the absolute future of online marketing, one thing is clear: The online marketing mix is evolving continuously, and social media is now on the top of marketers' checklists.

Most of my colleagues, including myself, receive the majority of their news on Twitter or via posts on Facebook and LinkedIn before resorting to a Google search on any given topic. This metamorphosis of online marketing via mass viral communication has not only changed the ways in which we receive the information, but also the type of information we receive.

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Think about it. How many times have you seen an article posted on Facebook or Twitter that has either made you click on it, or urged you to suddenly search about the topic? It's a fascinating process. Suddenly, instead of searching for the answer to a specific question, we are exposed to interesting answers to questions that we had not thought of asking in the first place. Our curiosity is piqued, and suddenly we find ourselves wandering a road we'd never thought about traversing before.

We have officially entered the communication era of sharing good quality content. SEO dictates that information must be found with the help of keywords, links, and clever SEO strategy while SMO relies upon key audience personality traits. These days, it's not only about how the content is found, but more importantly, it's about the audience that reads it.

Since the marriage of Facebook and Bing, SMO has reached a whole new level in marketing opportunities. So much specific content is now available on personalized pages, which is more attractive to audiences that struggle to navigate a sea of information on Google. This personalized approach to matching the right audience with the most interesting content is changing the way information is placed on the web, and audiences like it.

Facebook is a personalized community of like-minded people; posting information for others with similar interests is a genuine and effective way to share content from a marketing perspective. Keeping in mind that SMO helps you rank well in search engines and achieve a long-term online presence through planned social media marketing community initiatives, here are some things to remember when planning SMO for clients:

Keep the strategy simple
Choose the right social media for the content and use them well. For example, building strategic fan pages will attract the right audience. Use Facebook's analytics to track post quality and learn how to encourage "likes," link sharing, and photo tagging. Over time, the fan base will grow, and the quality of your messaging on Facebook will continue to be shared virally. The ultimate goal will be not only exposure and visibility, but also a deeper understanding of your message that inspires a course of action.

SEO isn't dead, so don't ignore it completely
SEO still has power. People will search online, and keywords still matter. Where a client appears on Google vs. Facebook shouldn't necessarily be a comparison; the two elements should complement one another. Simultaneously, with the Facebook-Bing marriage, searching has become much more social than before. Marketing on that level has positives and negatives, as your Facebook network can influence search results as well as audience response to what the crowd "likes" on Facebook. Learning to define SMO and SEO in the marketing campaign you're developing will maximize your campaign's efficiency and ROI.

Keep your audience interested and engaged in social media
Post frequently and stay relevant. No audience is interested in poor quality content; there's too much of that out there in the first place.

Linking is still important
Remember to point to the right content for your audience.

Above all, the most important element for any marketing strategy is to listen to your clients carefully, identify their needs, and make sure that using SMO will yield the desired results for an effective online campaign.

Dennis Franczak is CEO of Fuseideas.

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Comments

Bill Gadless
Bill Gadless January 5, 2011 at 8:13 PM

Great commentary. I see the SEO/SMO trend as more of a convergence than one winning or taking over. The two are completely intertwined now and, to me, fit under the umbrella category of Inbound Marketing. As we all know, it's ALL about content --- including website-optimized content, compelling *original* social content, content in the form of comments and retweets, etc. Marketers need to view this as a CONTENT strategy, then they can perform the easy task of publishing that great content on the appropriate vehicles. Lastly, keep up the GREAT content, Dennis.