Vesta Digital Blog

What Is Social Media Optimization And How It Can Work For You

Posted on: February 9, 2010

Social Media Marketing IconsetSocial media optimization (SMO) is a set of methods that bring traffic to a website by promoting and publicizing it through social media. SMO is part of social media marketing – it is one of two ways of optimizing website content; the other being search engine optimization (SEO). It differs from search engine marketing (SEM) because it drives traffic from sources other than search engines, though improved search ranking is also a benefit of successful SMO.

Social media optimization is mostly connected to techniques like viral marketing and through the use of blogs, social bookmarking, video and photo sharing websites. Here are 6 ways to optimize a site so that it is more easily linked to and more highly visible in social media networks:

Increase your linkability

This is the first and most important priority for websites. Many sites are “static” – meaning they are rarely updated and used simply for a storefront. To optimize a site for social media, you need to increase the linkability of the content. Adding a blog is good but there are many other ways such as creating white papers and thought pieces, or even simply aggregating content that exists elsewhere into a useful format.

Make tagging and bookmarking easy

Adding content features like quick buttons to “add to del.icio.us” are one way to make the process of tagging pages easier, but we go beyond this, making sure pages include a list of relevant tags, suggested notes for a link (which come up automatically when you go to tag a site), and making sure to tag our pages first on popular social bookmarking sites (including more than just the homepage).

Reward inbound links

Often used as a barometer for success of a blog (as well as a website), inbound links are paramount to rising in search results and overall rankings. To encourage more of them, we need to make it easy and provide clear rewards. From using Permalinks to recreating Similarly, listing recent linking blogs on your site provides the reward of visibility for those who link to you.

Help your content travel

Unlike much of SEO, SMO is not just about making changes to a site. When you have content that can be portable (such as PDFs, video files and audio files), submitting them to relevant sites will help your content travel further, and ultimately drive links back to your site.

Encourage the mashup

In a world of co-creation, it pays to be more open about letting others use your content (within reason). YouTube’s idea of providing code to cut and paste so you can embed videos from their site has fueled their growth. Syndicating your content through RSS also makes it easy for others to create mashups that can drive traffic or augment your content.

Contests and Promotions

This is not much of a secret but it is a guaranteed way to excite a social community and generate traffic. If you have a business or service, discounts, promotions and prizes are a great way to connect with your community.

There are many other steps and techniques that will optimize your website in social media networks. As we hear about others we will pass them along.

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