By Julie Ann Ross
Social media optimization (SMO) is an important ingredient within your search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns. In the past, social networking sites were not much more than an oddity. Today, many have received enormous ranking authority from top search engines. If you are not leveraging these sites to improve your exposure and communicate with your niche consumer, your search engine positions are vulnerable to your competitors.
In this article, we will describe the influence that SMO currently has on search engine marketing. We will also give you the rules of engagement for executing an effective social media optimization campaign. We'll explain what SEO social media is, and the advantages of hiring an experienced SEO consultant to spearhead your social media optimization efforts.
The Influence of Social Media Optimization on Search Marketing
Search marketing has always relied upon exposure in the search engines to drive targeted traffic. For years, gaining that exposure was based solely upon the development of your site and generating links pointing to your site. Both are still important today. However, social media optimization has shifted the landscape of search marketing.
Google once maintained several disparate search platforms for blogs, videos, news and similar types of "social" content. Each functioned as a separate search engine with its own set of organic listings.
A few years ago, Google blended the listings from each platform into a system called Universal Search. Bing and Yahoo! have since incorporated similar systems. Universal Search is now used as the primary index. That means blogs, videos and news have been incorporated into the natural listings, pushing many sites off the first page. This is one of the reasons social media optimization has become a critical piece of search.
Another factor that has influenced search marketing is the increased ranking authority given to Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and similar sites. These too, have quickly gained control of a significant amount of search territory.
Social media optimization preserves your current natural listings while helping you to gain even more search exposure. By using blogs, videos and social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, you can capture a greater number of organic positions.
Your Social Media Optimization Campaign: Rules of Engagement
There are several rules of engagement for launching and executing a social media optimization campaign. If you ignore them, your SMO efforts will be far less effective than otherwise.
First, you should do everything possible to encourage your audience to link to your site. Integrating a blog is valuable because your content can be updated over time, attracting loyal readers. Encourage readers to bookmark, tag and "tweet" your blog posts by installing a button plug-in.
Second, link liberally as a resource for your visitors. Social media optimization is dependent on assisting others achieve what they're trying to do. Once you engage your audience, help them find the resources they need by linking to them. Eventually, your site will become regarded as a resource hub, which will help you attract inbound links. That's a vital component of SEO.
Third, you must be able to identify your market. Social media optimization relies upon the connections you establish with niche communities. You need to properly target them in order to engage them and generate content. This is true whether you're engaging them through YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn or your blog.
Fourth, integrate tracking tools to measure and monitor the success of your social media optimization campaign. Track mentions of your site and company. Watch your site's progress in the natural listings for your main keywords. Generate linking reports showing inbound links pointing to your domain and specific pages. Tracking your metrics is crucial in order to determine whether your SMO campaign is effective.
SEO Social Media Optimization Explained
Each of the elements of a social media optimization campaign that we have described thus far dovetail seamlessly with SEO. The ongoing content creation, tagging and bookmarking, attracting inbound links by being a resource for your audience — these are essential for pushing your Web site higher in the search engines' listings. SEO social media optimization leverages a new set of tools to accomplish the same goal as SEO: more exposure for your site on Google, Yahoo! and Bing. The challenge is knowing how to use those tools effectively.
The days of launching a basic SEO campaign within a competitive space and watching your site rise in the search engines' results are long gone. SEO has become far more complex than it was a few short years ago. This is why many companies have made the decision to hire an SEO consultant. Social media optimization has transformed SEO from a relatively straightforward strategy into a complicated science. Having an experienced hand at the wheel helps to navigate the uncertain terrain.
If you want to boost your exposure in the search engines' listings, consider social media optimization a priority.
About the Author
With 20 years in marketing, advertising and 10 years in Internet marketing, Rostin Reagor Smith is on the cutting edge. Combining Social Media Optimization with more traditional SEO and SEM methods, RRS is a consulting firm specializing in enhancing clients' online presence and managing their public relations online. SEO, SEM and ORM, Online Reputation Management, are combined in this successful formula. www.RostinReagorSmith.com.