One of the newest buzzes on the web is SMO: Social Media Optimization. By some it is known as the follower of SEO, while others suggests it’s just a different name for how we treat SEO today. For myself I tend to side with the latter view, but for this it must be clear what SEO and SMO mean.

SEO: Search Engine Optimization

Strictly speaking SEO is a term to get your website high on search engines like Google. As web developers we know the tricks: repeat relevant keywords, have links to your site, have relevant headings, title, description and even image tags and of course there’s a lot more.

But this stuff is getting outdated. The battle against spammers who are using keywords and links to let you find irrelevant content has been raging for years and the search engines have been getting more and more inventive. More and more they point out to us that we should not put our time in just naming relevant keywords, but instead offer relevant content! Relevant content will be shared through other web channels and your site will have natural links to it from relevant places where people will actually find you because they were looking for you!

SMO: Social Media Optimization

And that is where SMO comes in. For me it’s just a new term for how I approached SEO. The key here is that you optimize your site not only for search engines, but also make it available through social media. I’ve been sharing my blog entries on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Buzz, but also take care to give my links to Hacker News, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon and much more. The question here is: how far do you go that it stays relevant?

When I worked for web development companies in the past the tasks of social media did not fall on me, so for me it has been a new study. What’s great to see is that simple things pay off. Only a few people find me through Google.. this site doesn’t have enough traffic for that yet, even though I did everything I could in SEO, but people are finding me through Twitter, Hacker News, Reddit and LinkedIn.

Another important aspect of SMO are Blogs. I read blogs anyway about relevant topics to my line of work, but now I take more care to leave a relevant comment every once in a while or make a traceback to an article I read that I’m referring to. I’ve also received tracebacks and comments and it’s always fun. I always check out the people who leave a comment or a traceback and see who they are. Same goes for new followers I get on twitter.

In the end both SEO and SMO are important. But for me the most important is that I like to write about my interests and to give my readers relevant content. It’s great to see that more and more people are following it and that they are enjoying and learning from what they read. In the end it’s a social game that we all play to get ourselves known in relevant channels and for this there are many methods. Keep your website or blog fun to read and connect with your readers, those are probably the most important to any successful optimization.

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