Search engine optimization (SEO) and social media optimization (SMO) are two of the bigger concerns for webmasters and bloggers, as they can both have substantial impacts on the amount of traffic a website or blog receives. But does optimizing your site for search engines hinder your SMO efforts (and vice versa) or can they co-exist? And what are the similarities and differences between the two?
SEO has been a common activity of website owners for years now. Although search engine optimization still remains largely a mystery to many webmasters and bloggers, its basic concepts have been, and still are, fairly simple. While SEO is no doubt effective, a relatively small number of websites are optimized due to a general lack of knowledge and a high price tag for most professional services. In addition to the cost, SEO is ignored by some because it is difficult to produce immediate results, and real growth in search traffic takes time.
What’s so great about search engine traffic?
1. Search engines send tons of free traffic to those with high rankings for popular search terms.
2. Traffic is targeted since the visitors have searched for what you have to offer.
3. With continued development of a site search engine traffic should increase with trust and new pages being added.
4. You have control over which search terms you are targeting.
5. Once established, a strong authority site can quickly achieve high rankings for brand new pages (example Wikipedia).
Social media optimization has only become popular in the past few years as the use of social networking sites has exploded. When compared with successful SEO, social media traffic is less steady. Although those who use social media effectively can consistently draw traffic with new content, even the best SMO experts experience large peaks and valleys in terms of traffic. But fortunately, the peaks will be very high.
One of the biggest differences between SEO and SMO is the networking aspect. SMO is heavily-reliant on networking and strong profiles, while SEO can be done without this.
What’s so great about traffic from social media?
1. Anyone can do it.
2. Success can be accomplished from day one of a new website or blog. There’s no need to wait to become a trusted domain.
3. The highs in traffic can be very high.
4. It’s free.
5. You’ll make valuable contacts along the way.
6. A power profile will allow you to get traffic just about whenever you need it (with certain sites).
7. You can help others in the process (and they’re not necessarily your competition like with search engine rankings).
8. The traffic snowballs. Those who are successful draw large audiences. Large audiences can lead to more success with social media and increased visibility.
9. The structure of your website isn’t really important like it is with SEO.
Some Comparisons and Similarities of SEO and SMO:Link Building:
SEO – Inbound links are a large determining factor in rankings.
SMO – Links are a result of success, which means that SEO benefits from good SMO.
On Page Elements:
SEO – Title tags, headers, image title, bold text and use of keywords are all influential on search engine rankings.
SMO – Coding and tags are not so important, while visual attention grabbers make a bigger impact.
SEO – The title tag of a page tells the search engines what a page is about and carries a lot of weight in the rankings.
SMO – Titles and headlines are extremely important for grabbing attention and getting users to click-through.
Content Must be Easily Readableâ€¦
SEO – By search engine spiders.
SMO – By human readers.
SEO – Quality content is important in order to rank well.
SMO – Quality content is important in order to hold the readers’ attention and win their approval.
SEO – Content alone will not produce high rankings. The structure of the site must also be sound.
SMO – While quality content is essential, visual presentation can also make a big difference.
SEO – Analysis is necessary in order to know which changes have made an impact (positive or negative) on the site’s rankings.
SMO – Analysis is necessary to know what types of content draws interest.
Predictability / the Benefit of Experience:
SEO – Experts are able to reproduce success with new sites (although it’s not as easy as it sounds), as the same elements can be applied.
SMO – Those who know the social media audience can recreate success by publishing posts and headlines specifically for this purpose.
Success Breeds More Success:
SEO – Trusted domains will have a positive effect on all pages, including new pages.
SMO – Power profiles on sites like Digg can keep traffic flowing with new submissions.
Can SEO and SMO Co-Exist?Although the title of this article is “SEO vs. SMO”, I really think that the two work together rather than separately. Link building is probably the best example. Pages and sites that are popular with major social media sites like Digg and del.icio.us will usually receive a lot of inbound links. Those links are a direct result of SMO, but they can have a significant impact on search engine rankings.
New websites and blogs need to start getting quality inbound links in order to start getting search engine traffic. Why not use social media to promote this content, make it visible to as many people as possible, and draw inbound links?
I believe that SMO is the best way (at least it’s the best free method) for new websites and blogs to draw visitors. This early success with social media can have long-lasting effects on search engine rankings as well.