Goodbye SEO, Hello SMO (Social Media Optimization)

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I’ve never written for SEO but chose to write about what I was passionate about and for people. I always have a reader in mind for my articles. They could be based on a conversation with a friend or question that someone asked me on social media. Sometimes these questions lead to a longer form answer which I put on my blog so more people can find the answer. The human interaction is what I love most about social media.

I recently had a Google+ Hangout with Joshua Berg who is an SEO/SMO thought leader. I’ve read his blog but we hadn’t “met” each other before so this was really fun. I did a little research to see what Joshua’s background was and was excited to ask some questions about social media, blogging, SEO, and most importantly SMO or social media optimization which is Joshua’s specialty. The hangout led to more thinking (imagine that!) and I had a few more questions which Joshua was kind enough to answer for me.  Google’s Hummingbird update has made a few changes but not to worry.

Goodbye SEO, Hello SMO
A few quick tips from the Hangout:
#1 tip Be yourself and act natural.
#2 tip Great content spreads and builds with conversation around the web circling back to your original post.
#3 tip Diversity is good.
My questions for Joshua:
Q:  I haven’t discussed SMO on my blog before. Can you give us an explanation of what that is and why it’s important?
A: I couldn’t give you a better answer to this question than the article I wrote a few months ago, Social Media Optimization for SEO. The Future of Search. Which Mark Traphagen referred to as, “a Master Class in how you can fine tune your use of social media to vastly build your audience and influence.” In this article I laid out my all new principles for Social Media Optimization (as the earlier references to it were long outdated).
Very briefly they’re condensed as follows, but it is necessary to read the article to get the full picture:

The all new principles of SMO, Focus on the user and all SEO will follow. 

ⓐ Create – Maximize your creativity with original quality content.
ⓑ Relate – Create relatable content, or make your content relatable.
ⓒ Captivate – Fun and interesting content, stand out from the noise.
ⓓ Arouse – Arouse an emotion, it is the constant of all viral success.
ⓔ Enjoy – Have Fun! All the most popular media personalities enjoy it.
ⓕ Share – Seek shareable content, Reciprocate sharing with movers.
ⓖ Acknowledge – Acknowledging others encourages engagement.
ⓗ Contribute – Find ways to contribute desired value to audience.
ⓘ Influencers – Identify key influencers to foster connections with.
ⓙ Communities – Existing communities can expand your reach .
ⓚ Reputation – Build personal reputation & brand, as a reliable source.
ⓛ Engagement – Tag – Cite – Reply – Comment – Proactively engage.
ⓜ Authority – Become a notable authority in a field of expertise.
ⓝ Leadership – Lead in social with original ideas, be a Thought Leader.
ⓞ Social – Be sociable, try to visualize & reach the individual person.
ⓟ Media – Learn to master the media platforms you need to reach.
ⓠ Optimization – Target, optimize content/keywords integral to SMO

Q: You mentioned diversity several times. Do you mean diversity in blog content or social media platforms? Why is diversity important?
A: My reference to diversity in our hangout, was regarding building authority from backlinks to your blog. There has been considerable evidence to suggest that Google values a good diversity of backlinks to a blog, over a lot of backlinks from a handful of websites, or particular social platform. To expound on this idea, I’m referring mostly to the source of these backlinks coming from many different sites throughout the web & not just from what we’d call a particular neighborhood. As well as the source diversity, hyperlinked word diversity and surrounding content is also important. In the old SEO too many sites used exact match keywords in all of their backlinks, or used tools to post identical links on thousands of forums & these became spam flags

Q:  We talked about acting naturally and you teased be about making it look easy. Can you share what things create good SMO for bloggers?
A: It would have to be my article above. If a blogger, or social media marketer follows the above ideas and principles, you really can’t go wrong.

The bottom line is: be yourself. Share content that you feel is interesting and have fun. That’s the best recipe for your blog and social media. Write about your passions, share your interests. People will love it!

If you are having a hard time finding your voice in social media or with your writing, I recommend reading If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence, and Spirit by Barbara Ueland. Guy Kawasaki recommended this book in APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How to Publish a Book and it really helped me reach another level in my writing and how I felt about writing.



Here’s the full video conversation that Joshua and I had with Chef Dennis Littley and Nikol Murphy.

What do you think about SEO vs. SMO? Will this change your social media at all? Love to hear your thoughts or answer questions in the comments below.

We are having a follow up hangout to discuss blogging, SMO and Google authorship. Make sure you sign up to receive updates below so you don’t miss it!

Photo credit: Big Stock Photos

Article by Peg Fitzpatrick

Summary
Article Name
Goodbye SEO, Hello SMO (Social Media Optimization)
Author
Description
Why SMO or Social Media Optimization is the new SEO based on Google's Hummingbird update.
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Peg

Writer & Social media strategist
Co-author of The Art and Science of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users with Guy Kawasaki. Social media is my passion. And my job. I'm here sharing my professional experience working day to day in the trenches of social media, marketing, and blogging. I work with global brands and leaders in the social media sphere every day. I've spearheaded successful social-media campaigns for Motorola, Audi, Google, and Virgin as well as having been a brand ambassador for Kimpton Hotels. I work with the best brands and make them even better! I'll share tips and tricks, provide positive inspiration and answer social media questions through the content that I create and curate. What sets me apart? I'm an innovative idea girl that follows through and gets the job done. Social media is my career, not just a hobby.
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Comments

  1. DebiStangeland says

    You know, I actually prefer SMO to SEO.  SMO seems more organic and less contrived.  SMO allows for the movement of info based on what you like which is the best way to gain new knowledge.  Thanks for this article.

  2. Chinmayaon says

    “The bottom line is: be yourself. Share content that you feel is interesting and have fun.” … and I am just going to do that. I am going to share this wonderful article so more people can join the conversation. Great Article!

  3. DebiStangeland says

    PegFitzpatrick DebiStangeland Great Point Peg.  If you are being true to yourself it will probably help you find your voice as you look at what you are sharing most often.

  4. crestodina says

    This was a great read. Honestly, I’m a big fan of SEO and I help people with it all the time. But the message in this article is super important. It helps put a finger on something I’ve been thinking about lately…
    Anything that you do purely for rank’s sake is probably risky and it’s definitely not sustainable. There’s an army of math PhD’s at Google and they’re smart. So if it doesn’t help visitors, it doesn’t pass the SEO smell test. It’s got to be about people and connections. 
    (that said, 10 minutes of keyphrase research can lead to thousands more visitors to a post!)
    In the end, maybe “SEO” isn’t an activity at all. Maybe it’s not a separate service or company. Maybe SEO is an outcome, not an action. And to achieve that outcome, we’ve got to find our people, hang out and keep it real!

  5. says

    crestodina So much to think about, right? I have to admit, I’ve never done keyphase research so I can’t compare my blog with and without using it. I think being smart and adding a few relevant keywords is a good idea but anything you do purely for rank and not for content is off my radar.
    There are certainly a lot of ways to do things, no one way may be right or wrong.

  6. crestodina says

    PegFitzpatrick Agreed. Anyone who is all keywords and no content will fail every time. But lots of the greats pay no attention to keywords at all! I love that.
    If you’d ever like for me to make “the case for keywords” just let me know. You might find it interesting. :)

  7. SEOstyx says

    “The all new principles of SMO, Focus on the user and all SEO will follow.”
    I fail to understand how the SEO will follow. Will SMO do all page titles and descriptions along with keyword research for me? Not to mention all the other onpage ranking factors.
    I have a feeling you are more talking about Linkbuilding rather than SEO. Even with that said Social signals give little to no benefit in ranking you are basically hoping that after sharing it people may make a link… Low chance.

  8. JasonLuttrell says

    It seems like there is some confusion. SEO is not dead and being
    replaced by SMO. And having great SMO does not lead to better SEO. The
    only similarity is that they sound alike and they both have to do with
    “optimization” to increase traffic. That’s where the similarities end.
    One targets search engines through technical techniques. The other
    encourages “viral” shares on social media through engaging the reader.
    In fact, I think it’s better if you just don’t put them together like
    you do with SEO/SMO. They are different domains of knowledge. SEO/SEM
    makes sense because they’re both about search engines.

  9. JasonLuttrell says

    crestodina I disagree. You’re confusing SEO and SEM (Search Engine Marketing). To market your online content, you cannot simply rely on tactics purely for rank’s sake, as you say. “People and connections” is what SEM is about. That’s where link building and engaging the reader comes into play. However, SEO is an activity. It refers specifically to technical tactics (e.g., keyword phrases and inbound link authority) that are intended to help increasing your search engine ranking. The algorithms change to keep people from abusing them. SEO is not about “tricking” search engines, it’s about making sure you’re site is considered a relevant resource. It does pay to know what the search engines look for. Search engines are not going away, they just get smarter. So SEO has to get smarter too.

  10. JasonLuttrell says

    DebiStangeland I’m just reading all these comments about SMO vs. SEO and it just shows a lack of understanding about what they mean. It doesn’t help that articles like this contribute to that misunderstanding. Your statement “I actually prefer SMO to SEO” is a bit off the mark. They are unrelated. The only commonality is the word “optimization” which implies the intention to increase traffic. But they are different domains of knowledge. SEO is not organic because that’s not what it’s about. It’s about optimizing web sites or online content to be considered relevant by search engines. This involves keyword phrase research and optimizing inbound link authority, for example. SEO is 95% technical. SMO is more about the content itself. (There’s a lot of overlap between SMO and SEM.) You cannot simply compare and say one is better than the other because they both are different and serve different purposes. You still need SEO because there will always be search engines. They are not going away, they are just getting smarter. So SEO has to become smarter too.

  11. JasonLuttrell says

    PegFitzpatrick MaishaGuy That general lack of knowledge explains why people on here commenting don’t know the difference between Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Optimization. They are unrelated. If you are in the Web business, you still need to know about SEO because there will always be search engines.

  12. Williams Brown says

    As someone who is knowledgeable about SEO, I appreciated this article. However, I do not yet understand the purpose of SMO.social marketing companieshttp://www.xavagemarketing.com/services/social-media-marketing/

  13. spookseo says

    Yes, I really agree with what you have said in your article. You can easily build your online reputation in social media as long as you are creating high quality and engaging content regularly. In addition, it’s also necessary to listen to your customers’ review in order to grow your personal relationship with them.

  14. says

    This
    was a great read. Honestly, I’m a big fan of SEO and I help people with it all
    the time. But the message in this article is super important. It helps put a
    finger on something I’ve been thinking about lately…

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