What is SMO and is it more important than SEO?

Starting a blog is hard. Starting a business is hard. Trying to get your blog or website onto the first page of Google is a goal a lot of people have and something they spend a lot of time working towards. But is it the right goal?

The first thing most people will tell you to do when you’re setting up your website is “make sure it’s search engine optimised” or “make sure you’re using the right keywords”. But I’m changing the focus of my website and my blog from SEO to SMO, or Social Media Optimisation.

This blog is new. My website is still quite new. It’s less than a year old at the time of writing. Like many bloggers, I started it so that a) people could find out more about me and b) to help establish myself as an authority in my industry. So my number one goal should be to SEO my site and blog and aim for the number one spot or number one page on Google for my keywords, right? Wrong.

I’m not saying that’s a bad goal or even the wrong goal for you. But personally, and for a huge number of bloggers and websites, it is the wrong goal and I’m going to explain why I think so.

SEO is hard

It is, isn’t? There are so many different factors like keywords, length of page copy, alt tags on images, internal links, external links, backlinks, how readable your copy is, getting the right headings, the list can go on and on. And even if you manage to get all of these things perfect, Google still takes into account how old your website is and how much traffic it gets. So, if you’re a new blogger or business, then getting to page one or even three or four page is going to be very difficult. The big players will always have an advantage over you.

If you’re a new blogger or business then getting to page one is going to be very difficult.

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You’ve spent hours researching your keywords, creating blog posts that match the perfect long-tail keywords and you’re still not getting a lot of organic search traffic. What has been the point of it all? Well, if you’ve been doing SEO right, then your blog is more readable. Good SEO makes a blog user-friendly and pleasing to read. You’re covering topics that people want to read (because you’ve researched it) and when people do find your blog from a backlink on another site, they’re clicking through your internal links to lower your bounce rate. All that time hasn’t been wasted.

But if SEO is good, why should I focus on Social Media Optimisation instead?

SEO is imporant SMO is vital

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I’m glad you asked. SEO is the art of helping individuals find your blog, read it and then move onto the next article. Social Media Optimisation is the art of, when people find your site, making it engaging, making it snackable and making it shareable. SMO doesn’t care how long you’ve been blogging. It cares how good your content is.

SMO doesn’t care how long you’ve been blogging. It cares how good your content is.

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Your ultimate aim should be to make your content engaging, snackable and shareable. Let’s talk about what these mean and how to do it.

The ultimate aim should be to make your content engaging, snackable and shareable

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Engaging content

Obviously, you want your content to be interesting. You want it to answer questions or entertain your audience. So what does engaging mean? Engaging content gives me a call to action and the will to act on it. It asks you to do something. Maybe to leave a comment, or to try a recipe. In the case of this post, it’s to apply new knowledge. The purpose of this post is to make you aware of the importance of SMO and to implement it on your blog. I’ll ask at the end of the post (look out for it) to tweet me and tell me, if you implement it, has it helped?

Snackable content

We want the main content and we want it now. Make it easy to find.

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People’s time is very precious. If you’ve gotten this far in the post then I’m honoured for the time you’ve spent here. Because people value their time so much, when reading articles they tend to skip to the good stuff. I know when I read listicles on Buzzfeed, I always skip the intro and go straight to number one. We want the main content and we want it now. Make it easy to find.

By splitting this post into sections, it has become snackable. It’s easy to see what each section is about and you can decide if it offers value. I tend to try and put a new section every 100-200 words, depending on the content. This might vary between different industries and even different topics, so it’s best to test this out on your own blog.

Shareable content

Invest in sharing

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I have two aims for this blog; a) is that you gain value from the topic and b) is that you share it. But I know you’re not likely to just click the share button arbitrarily. You’ll have seen throughout the blog, I’ve placed pictures and quotes. These are the shareable pieces of content. Not the whole blog, the individual pieces of information.

Pinterest has done an amazing job with the “Pin It” button to allow bloggers to make their content shareable. It’s so easy to pin an image to Pinterest now, all you have to do is provide the content. I’m using SumoMe on my site to make my images shareable. Hover over (or tap on a mobile) any image on this page and you’ll see the share icons. I also use SumoMe’s highlighter tool. If you highlight any text it will appear in a box for you to instantly tweet or post on Facebook along with a link to this page.

Why is sharing so important? One social share can reach 100s, 1,000s or even 100,000 new people. It has also been given someone’s seal of approval. That means people are more likely to engage with your content based on someone else’s recommendation.

Re-cap

  • Create content that encourages engagement, i.e. asks questions, has a clear call to action or actionable outcome.
  • Make your content is snackable. Break it up with headings and make it easy to follow. Something someone could come back to.
  • Make it shareable. Use a tool like SumoMe to make images shareable, use the Pin it button and provide shareable quotes.
I hope you’ve found this blog useful and the next time you think about improving the SEO on your site, you’ll consider making your site more Social Media Optimised. Let me know if this works for you on Twitter @almilner05 (action and engagement). And if there is someone who might benefit from this blog, share it with them.

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