Search Engine companies like Google, Yahoo and Bing have seen an opportunity into using social media data to improve their ranking data and database. Some time ago Google tried a partnership with Twitter to show real-time tweets directly into the search results. The official partnership between them is now closed but Google is still using data from social media platforms to improve their ranking data. After some while Google launched the Google+ network which at first we thought not to influence the rankings on the search engine. It came up that it actually did, users +1’ning helped pages to get more traffic and rank better.
Google and Bing acknowledged some time ago that they use Likes, Tweets and +1’s to better rank content. It is a good social proof whether the content is good or not. Still, this works for some kind of content, other types of content never get shared on social because of their nature.
Search Engine Optimization at its root is about optimizing the source code, content, structure and getting valuable links which leads to getting high quality and quantity traffic from Search Engines.
Social Media Optimization is almost the same, but by targeting social platforms as the high quality and quantity traffic provider and not search engines. Comparing to SEO, it’s about optimizing the:
- source code (meta data for the social platforms)
- content (which has to be optimized for social media and interactions)
- structure (which has to be easy browsable and which promotes social interactions and sharing)
- getting valuable mentions/votes (where, by whom and how much things from your websites are shared/liked/tweeted/+1)
The important thing for SEO from SMO is the “getting valuable mentions/votes” related to your brand and more exactly your website. If you get a lot of valuable mentions/votes from influencers and/or a lot of people, you will rank higher. That means that mixing those two can bring you to be the first result for the targeted keyword.
Even Search Engine Marketing can benefit from Social Media Optimization. Google introduced some time ago +1 endorsements, that means if you endorse the page advertised with Google AdWords, your friends will see the endorsement on the AD in the search engine.
Another important aspect of Social Media Optimization is to look for the social networks which are relevant to your business, throwing bunches of social buttons and making your page heavy with lots of scripts and meta tags isn’t good. Through several tests made by others and by me, I’ve come to the conclusion that you need as few as possible and as relevant as possible sharing buttons, overwhelming the website visitors will just confuse him.
So, optimize your website source code, add a moderate number of sharing/tweeting/liking/+1 buttons, create very good content and promote discussions/social interactions. This will help you rank better in search engines.