Search Engine Optimization,Social Media

Social Media Optimization (SMO) Is The New SEO

25 Jul , 2013  

Is SEO Dead? I don’t know, but it sure doesn’t hold a candle to the power of Social Media signals these days. I think a lot of people much smarter than I will agree with that statement. So if Social Media is becoming arguably more important than Search Engine Optimization, what are you doing about Social Media Optimization?

The concept of SMO has been kicked around for a while, but much like SEO it’s always been kind of a gray area, a moving target. How do you optimize what people are sharing on Facebook and Twitter, and Google+? How do you control what people see when they share your content on Social Networks?

The good news is, there are a whole bunch of ways you can optimize your content and control how people share and interact with your content on Social Media. The bad news is, there are a whole bunch of tags you need to utilize to optimize your content for SMO.

#SEOisDead #SMOisHereSince Facebook and LinkedIn rely on the Open Graph protocol, and Twitter offers Twitter Card meta tags, and Google+ would like you to use semantic microdata markup, it’s still kind of the wild west out there in terms of a standard for Social markup.

That’s why we made a Tool for it – today we’re announcing the KnowEm Social Media Optimizer!

It’s pretty simple to use, just enter your blog or website URL and we’ll identify some of the more important markup tags the big Social Networks are looking for, and let you know how you score on them. We also try to give you a rough approximation of what content users will see when they share your page on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and probably a whole bunch of other networks.

So what is SMO and how can it benefit you? For example, if someone likes or shares your page right now, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and others will try and pull a title, image and description on their own. In most cases that’s fine. But if you want to completely control what people see when they share your page, you will want to optimize these tags.

I’m sure you’ve seen people share links on Facebook and all you see is a title, no description and some image that has nothing to do with the page. That’s because these tags weren’t used and Facebook tried to guess at them. When you explicitly declare them via the Open Graph Protocol, then you can control what everyone sees.

Seth Godin Example

For example, take a look at the latest blog post from Seth Godin (Obviously a legend in the biz and I am by no means targeting him!). You’ll notice that if you click the Google+ button, it just pulls in the title and the first image it finds on the page (his face).  It doesn’t seem like that’s going to get a lot of re-shares and +1′s does it?  (Of course, it did, because he’s Seth Godin and he could put a picture of himself using an iPhone on the toilet and he’d get shares).

But what if people need a little more convincing to share your blog posts? Consider if this was your blog post and you optimized your tags and images so that when I click the Google +1  button I get a title that’s a bit more descriptive, a more relevant image and a custom description which might even be a call to action. Wouldn’t that be a little more conducive to getting more clickthroughs and shares?

You can control the images, titles and texts that people share so you know exactly what message will be conveyed to social networks when your blog post, product page, or whatever gets shared. And what about Twitter cards? And especially Google+ Authorship? You do know how to get your little face next to your blog post in search results, don’t you? Well we can help if you don’t.

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ offer great advantages today because you can control all this data now through SMO meta tags. So in an effort to help you better understand what all these new tags are and what they mean, check out our new SMO Tool and start optimizing your site today.

Pro Tip: If you’re using WordPress, Yoast has an excellent plugin called “WordPress SEO” which can add a lot of these tags for you. 

This article is republished from it’s original home on the KnowEm blog here:

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10 Responses

  1. Martin Harris says:

    There has been a fair few of these ‘SEO is dead” articles ever since that Guardian piece recently. Whilst i think social will continue to be a ranking factor, i would never disregard standard SEO, well not for time being anyway!

  2. diane walker says:

    we have seen a huge change in the way we have been doing seo, now we spend more time using twitter and facebook to get our message across and hopefully to get people on facebook and twitter to read our stories.

    I think the huge problem at the moment for people is google keeps changing their seo rules which is becoming harder and harder for website owners to deal with

  3. Thanks for this Barry. I’ve been having an issue with the G+ share button on the WordPress pluging I’m using. It doesn’t display the first image in my blog post. The same with when I share a link on Facebook.

    This has frustated me for a few weeks now as I agree it’s best to have full control over what images and descriptions are displayed when people share your content.

    PS. I will be sure to share your SMO tool.


  4. Josh Tuttle says:

    Thank you for the advice! As I implement your suggestions with having relevant information displayed it will be more conducive to becoming viral with social media.

  5. Carlton says:

    SMO is the future, and Google is slowly but surely moving in that direction. Anyone who doesn’t start investing in SMO is going to miss the boat.

  6. HP says:

    This is one awesome tool for SMO never knew this even existed till I saw this

  7. Safran says:

    SMO is an interesting topic. I don’t think we should call off SEO just open our eyes to other things such as SMO. But have I understood it correct that SMO is for instance hashtagging your updates and so on?

    A problem is that people don’t really use their search-engines on e.g. facebook to find new partners, products,etc. It has to be shared before people see it. In my opinion ofc.

  8. Patrick says:

    Some very good points well made here. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that site owners and founders need to start putting as much emphasis on SMO as they do on SEO.

    You’re tool is super helpful too!

  9. Stefan says:

    Thanks for the link to the SMO tool, cool stuff.

    I would probably disagree that SEO is dead, I see SMO as more of an evolution of SEO.

    That said I enjoyed that article, thanks for the info.

  10. Three Ladders Marketing says:

    Social Media is definitely awesome in many respects, previously the best benefit was the low-to-no-cost traffic you could generate, but now the SEO value will likely outweigh the low-cost traffic over time. Especially with Google+.

    I imagine the most recent Google Algorithm update: Hummingbird will better position G+ articles and SMO for SEO love in the future.

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