Social Media Optimization or SMO is yet another method for search engine optimization of your site. As the name implies, you optimize your site by advertising it through the social media sites, online communities and community websites such as blog sites, message boards, podcasts, wikis and vlogs.
The methods for social media optimization involve the use of RSS feeds, social bookmarking, video and photo sharing, social news buttons and blogging etc. The basic idea is to drive traffic to your site without spending money on search engine advertising.
The concept of social media optimization was introduced by Rohit Bhargawa of Ogilivy Public Relations. Originally, he enunciated five rules for social media optimization, but the list was expanded by other contributors.
According to Rohit Bhargawa, “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 actual practice, social media optimization seeks to create links to the site by making it more visible through the social networking sites like Squidoo, Blogger, Hubpages, Face Book, Twitter, Digg, Delicious, My Space or search engines like Technorati.
How does one go about social media optimization?
Getting links for your website
The number of links your site manages to pull through decides its popularity with the search engines. It is like deciding the popularity of the leader through the votes he gets. In case of a website its popularity index is the number of links it gets from other websites.
Tagging and bookmarking
Tagging and bookmarking can be made easier by inducting content features such as buttons like “add to delicious" and other bookmarking sites. In addition to this, you can also include relevant tags to your pages besides the home page for the popular social bookmarking sites.
Create inbound links
Inbound links are considered important for the popularity of the site and its content in searching engine ranking. You should create links to the blogs or sites that contain back links to your site and increase its visibility.
Make your content travel
Make some changes in your site to enable your content to travel far and wide in your niche area. This can be done by including portable content such as PDFs, video and audio files and submitting them to your list members as well as sites related to your niche. This will help you to create back links for your site.
Allow others to use your content
A glaring example of this practice is YouTube. You can download its videos to your sites to illustrate your content and make it more interesting. Another example is to use RSS feeds to syndicate your content so that others can use it for their benefit. This can help you to drive traffic to your website.
Pros and cons of social media optimization
As with other methods of driving traffic, social media optimization has become victim of spamming or link farming. While the noble idea behind social bookmarking is to include links to informative, useful and interesting sites, people bookmark - syndicate - their own sites in numerous bookmarking sites unmindful of the quality of their content which can be pirated, duplicate and cheap. It simply eats into the web space of the bookmarking site and creates a kind of content garbage making it difficult to sift grains from the chaff.