What Is SMO? The Ultimate Social Media Optimization Guide

What Is SMO? The Ultimate Social Media Optimization Guide

SMO – what is it and how to incorporate social media optimization activities into your marketing strategy? Optimization isn’t about following rigid standards that don’t accept uniqueness and creativity. In today’s entry, we’ll show you how to effectively boost your social media performance and website traffic.

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Today, social media plays a significant role in online marketing, however, we need to take into account that we’ve reached the point where too much information and chaotic campaigns conducted without any strategy don’t bring any benefits. Think about the future and take advantage of tools such as SMO which stands for social media optimization. If you want to use SMO, learn its basics and understand how to implement it in your business.

In today’s entry, we’ll talk about social media optimization – keep reading to learn how it works, how it developed and how to use it wisely.

SMO – what is it?

Social media optimization is a digital marketing department that is supposed to refine a website to ensure effective social media activity and optimize social media so that it attracts website traffic. It aims at making sure that a site is visible in the internal search results of social media, it’s frequently mentioned and that linking (from and to social media) is as simple as possible.

SMO is similar to SMM (social media marketing), however, it puts emphasis on combining individual activities and ensuring their effective synergy, not on separate campaigns or branding strategies.

How to optimize your social media? First of all, start with informing your team that, just like in the case of SEO, these activities aren’t solely about technical aspects but also about long-term, complex processes that comprise numerous marketing areas. SMO has to be based on expertise that integrates social media and on-site activities.

Cameron Olthius wrote that:

“SMO tactics can drive huge amounts of people to a website and can also determine whether a startup, website or idea will make it or not. It involves driving traffic to a website through new channels because search engines aren’t the only sites that drive big traffic anymore.”

That’s why optimizing your SM is a key step. Social media is still an insufficiently utilized (or at least not conscientiously utilized) source of traffic. Its potential can bring enormous benefits to your company.

Why do I need SMO?

Proper social media visibility has a positive impact on brand image. Therefore, social media optimization isn’t solely about generating traffic. Moreover, SM highly affects the usability of the site, thus, it supports UX. The necessity of optimizing websites for mobile devices has a direct impact on SEO.

SMO and the Hummingbird algorithm appreciate relevant, unique and shareable content. Therefore, the more quality texts are present on social media, the better Hummingbird evaluates them. This, in turn, may translate into improved positions in Google.

SMO – the beginnings

The definition of SMO was first coined in 2006 and it was complemented by 5 most crucial rules at that time. All thanks to Rohbi Bhargava, who described his idea of social media optimization in one of his articles. Although we don’t necessarily recommend adopting tips from 15 years ago, they provide an appealing insight into the origins of SMO.

Tips from the very beginning of SMO and updated principles

  1. Improve linkability. When it comes to this component of the SMO strategy, it’s crucial to ensure that the page isn’t static and rarely updated. To optimize it for social media, a website owner has to provide users with content they want to share. Nowadays, blogging and icons to share entries on social media are ideal recipes to meet this objective. Now, shareability is more important than linkability.
  2. Improve saving as bookmarks – back in the days when bookmarking sites were enjoying huge popularity, this point really mattered. -> Today it may be a button that allows you to easily save a Pinterest or GetPocket article. However, in a broader sense, it’s also about changing the strategy. Create content (e.g. guides, lists, rankings) that will appeal to users so that they decide to save it for later or share it with others.
  3. Reward users for linking to your site. This technique may be associated with times when self-hosted sites were still in their infancy and page owners recommended each other to improve link exchange. -> Today, this approach can be replaced with appropriate social media moderation and constantly encouraged user interaction.
  4. Let your content go viral. SMO doesn’t focus solely on implementing changes within the site, but it’s also about presenting content in such a way that makes it easy to share it and translates into an increased number of backlinks from various sources. -> This point is still relevant, however, the strategy has changed. The extensive PDF files proposed by the author should be replaced with appealing infographics (charts, easy-to-read percentages, etc.). On the other hand, PDFs, ebooks, and other free pieces of content are more effective as email marketing.
  5. Don’t be afraid of cooperation and let people share your content. Rohit Bhargava provided the example of Youtube whose popularity increased significantly thanks to allowing users to place the video player on other sites. -> Today, sharing your expertise and solutions helps to improve recognition and gain the trust of users. Long-term-wise, it makes it possible to naturally expand the link base thanks to people recommending or quoting you online and sharing content. At this point, it’s worth mentioning the creation of unique content or useful reports shared on social media and published on the website, which later (e.g. linked in other blog articles or shared on industry profiles) generate links. Don’t forget about business-to-business relationships that give you an opportunity to exchange links through sponsored and affiliate articles.

In the end, the list expanded to 16 points, which include: rewarding active, helpful, and valuable users; creating quality content; developing an SMO strategy; choosing SMO tactics carefully, and making SMO part of the SEO process. What’s SMO like today? Let’s see!

Social media optimization in a nutshell: vital activities

1.Devise a strategy

Since SMO aims at improving your company’s results on social media, it’s crucial to take care of a proper strategy, just like in the case of any other marketing activities.

a) If you’re just starting your social media activity

Think and plan your activities according to your company’s overall marketing strategy. Analyze the target group, funds you can devote to SM activities, take into account branding, and set specific, achievable goals.

b) If you already perform social media activities

Conduct an audit of your profiles. Prepare a social media content optimization plan to check how effective the current strategy is, what content is read the most eagerly and what needs to be modified.

2. Optimize profiles

Before taking any other steps, you need to be sure that there is something you can show to social media users – it’s pointless to attract recipients to profiles that don’t contain anything valuable. Focus on effective branding and let people recognize you. A consistent brand image on all social media platforms is a key to success. It should include logos, fonts, tags, slogans and visuals. Benefit from relevant CTAs to invite users to your website and create a common ground adjusted to your target group and advertising campaigns.

Are you aware that your social media profiles leave a lot to be desired? See what can be changed and learn about 10 mistakes that make your social selling ineffective.

Remember to update keywords and tags. Thoughtful application of keywords in your content will make it easier for users to find your profile through an internal search engine. When it comes to Instagram, complement the descriptions with relevant hashtags and alt texts. Interestingly, it also supports local search:

smo supporting local search

Don’t forget that keyword stuffing is neither SEO nor SMO-friendly.

increase your visibility

Social media link building isn’t a bad idea – placing links in social media posts improves the credibility of your link profile and builds trust in your site. A bio on social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or LinkedIn (and even Google My Business) is an ideal place for links.

4. Benefit from tools

Share icons, social media links, widgets… All these make the website more interactive and the content more engaging. It’s also advisable to properly manage the comments section and consider implementing Disqus or other methods that will allow you to effectively manage comments and engage recipients.

Installing Facebook Pixel in the code of your website may be helpful in collecting data on social media purchases and traffic. This is particularly profitable in e-commerce.

Social media optimization – examples of effective activities

Let’s take a look at the way Skillshare works. When you type a brand name into the search engine, the first 10 results include, apart from the Skillshare homepage, 4 links to social media (Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, LinkedIn) and no websites of competitors.

smo example in search results

Looks like a good job, doesn’t it? You can click individual links and see that the company takes care of its branding – it advertises the same product (here: a course with Jonathan van Ness) on different platforms and indifferent, medium-specific ways. At the same time, it maintains a consistent identity.

Exemplary posts in various channels

smo przykład
twitter @skillshare
smo example instagram post
Instagram @skillshare
smo youtbe example
Brand YouTube channel

Consistent branding on social media

smo skillshare example
skillshare.com website
smo skillshare twitter example
twitter @skillshare
smo instagram skillshare
Instagram @skillshare
smo on linkedin example
LinkedIn @skillshare
skillshare youtube smo
YouTube @skillshare

When you enter any course, you see a convenient share button, an option to save the video and add it to your calendar:

smo good practices

As you can see, you don’t have to use a Facebook or Instagram icon if it doesn’t match the aesthetic of the page – it’s important to provide enough sharing options when expanding the list.

smo example

Moreover, Skillshare benefits from a tactic that encourages content sharing – it allows you to show the lesson to a friend to attract them to the platform and gives you a chance to get 2 months of free membership. The perfect way to combine engagement and effective SMO!

On its social media platforms, Skillshare shares user-generated content which helps it to build an engaged community, reward people for their activity and advertise available courses. It also has a distinctive hashtag that makes it easier to find specific posts.

SMO good practices example

With these basic pieces of information in mind, you’re ready to take your first SMO steps! Below you can find a list of frequently asked questions and if you’ve any doubts, don’t hesitate to contact us via the comment section!

FAQ

Yes! SMO can help you improve your content visibility which translates into better reach and website traffic. You’ll also learn how to create shareable content and optimize your website.

What is better than one source of website traffic? Two sources complement each other and attract different groups of recipients.

Increased visibility in the search engine is the main goal of SEO, whereas SMO focuses on sharing content on social media.

SMO is supposed to be the link between SMM, SEM and SEO. In an ideal strategy, all these activities support each other and attract more traffic to the site – because that’s one of the main goals of all of them. Social media linking can be a part of link building. Twitter or Facebook results are often displayed in top positions in Google.

It’s also worth mentioning that optimizing your site for social media is one of the important points of SMO. In this respect, this field overlaps with SEO. SMO is a bit less stable than SEO – when you stop your social media activity, traffic decreases significantly, as opposed to more long-term results of search engine optimization.

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Delante is an online marketing agency specialized in generating website traffic from search engines and paid ads (SEO / SEM). Over 80% of our clients are from rapidly growing e-commerce industry.

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