Social media refers to websites and programs that emphasize on communication, community-based input, engagement, content sharing, and collaboration. These platforms can now be accessed via mobile apps. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are some popular examples of generic social networking networks.
Social media optimization (SMO) is the use of a number of social media outlets and communities to generate publicity to increase the awareness of a product, brand or event. Types of social media involved include RSS feeds, social news and bookmarking sites, as well as social networking sites, such as Twitter, and video and blogging sites. SMO is similar to search engine optimization in that the goal is to generate traffic and awareness for a website. In general, social media optimization refers to optimizing a website and its content in terms of sharing across social media and networking sites.
Social media optimization is becoming an increasingly important factor in search engine optimization, as search engines are increasingly utilizing the recommendations of users of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+ to rank pages in the search engine result pages. The implication is that when a webpage is shared or “liked” by a user on a social network, it counts as a “vote” for that webpage’s quality. Thus, search engines can use such votes accordingly to properly rank websites in search engine results pages. Furthermore, since it is more difficult to tip the scales or influence the search engines in this way, search engines are putting more stock into social search. This, coupled with increasingly personalized search based on interests and location, has significantly increased the importance of a social media presence in search engine optimization. Due to personalized search results, location-based social media presences on websites such as Yelp, Google Places, Foursquare, and Yahoo! Local have grown increasingly important. Rob Reed, founder of location-based marketing platform MomentFeed, has stated that, moving into 2013, local optimization on social platforms is now a “strategic imperative” rather than a “luxury”.
While social media optimization is related to search engine marketing, it differs in several ways. Primarily, SMO focuses on driving traffic from sources other than search engines, though improved search ranking is also a benefit of successful social media optimization.
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