What is SMO?
Social Media Optimization is the latest buzz in an ever changing world of SEO techniques. Simply, it encompasses everything you should be doing, to maximize traffic to your site via social networks, such as Google+ and Twitter.
Making the most of SMO
First of all a quick explanation. Whatever social network you are on, if you are an active participant and engage with the people you follow and that follow you, then you are on the right track. If you spend your days just watching others and reading their posts, you aren’t going to get anywhere and you will feel that you don’t ‘get it’.
Secondly, blogging is a form of social media (people can comment and interact with your posts), so the same advice applies to that as well. Write consistently and often and invite others to leave comments. It is even easier if you allow comments from social networks, such as Google+. Also, when you read someone else’s blog post, take the time to comment yourself!
Why is SMO important?
The major search engines are moving away from keywords being the be all and end all to search ranking. Instead they are actively looking for quality content and one way to find that, is to watch for social signals. Now, I am not saying that a search engine like Google’s is directly viewing the number of shares or +1s on a post and using that as a factor in search rankings.
There is an indirect relationship and this is where SMO comes into play. Whenever you share a blog post or a web page on a social network, you will be generating more traffic for that page. Google and the other search engines do notice this and take it into account when determining relevancy.
Google+ matters more than other social networks
Now this is a pretty strong statement and I will tell you why Google+ is better in terms of SMO.
Google Search is the most widely used search engine on the planet. If you want to rank anywhere it is there. Google have started integrating Authorship into search results. Authorship links the content you create with your Google+ profile.
If you have enabled Authorship for a web page, it will display some additional details in search results.
Your Google+ profile picture may well be visible. We humans are suckers for a friendly face and studies have shown a good profile picture can lead to better click-through rates (CTR).
There will also be a byline. Clicking on that takes you to a page of results displaying additional articles by that author. I have noticed two behaviours here. Either the link takes you to the Google+ profile of the author or it takes you to a page of search results for that author. Either way, it is great for improving the discovery of your content.
There may also be an indication of how many Google+ circles you are in. This helps to build trust in the author as an authority. You are more likely to trust someone with several thousand followers, than someone without.
Google+ posts are web pages themselves and are instantly indexed by Google Search. This means every time you or someone else links back to a web page of yours, it is sending a strong signal to Google that it is important.
The same is true for your Google+ profile. Every time someone shares a post of yours, it is creating a link back to your Google+ profile and improving it’s own ranking.
How do you create a good post?
This question is a topic all of it’s own and deserves a separate blog post. However, here is a quick list of 5 things you can do.
Formatting. Create posts that are easy to read. Facebook and Google+ both allow you write paragraphs of text. Use them. Additionally, Google+ allows you to write bold, italics and
strikethroughs, which really help your posts stand out. Add a title in bold and emphasize important sections of text.
Ask a question. Invite your followers to engage with your post by asking them a question.
Pictures. A picture really is worth a thousand words. People respond to images and it has been shown to improve engagement.
Links. Now this is a no brainer and really important. If you are trying to promote your website or a blog post, make sure you include the link!
Make it interesting. Sounds silly I know, but people are more likely to click on that link through to your blog post if you make it interesting for them.
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