Social Media Optimization: The SEO of the future

Dave Mazur    November 20, 2013

Social Media Optimization: The future of social media marketing

 “Everything that is to do with online begins and ends with the search engine, and thus the job of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) exists…”




Social Search
The very first page many of us click on when we first go to the web is a search engine. This is the stepping stone to the internet, and in more recent years has become the place where advertisers, brands and other people wanting your online attention target you first. As marketers and brands started to realize the potential of showing up in a search, the job of Search Engine Optimization came into being. For the past decade or so the job of SEO has been to tweak various aspects of webpage content, to try and make it appear in the top rankings of a related web search. Many of the strategies, including keywords, hyperlinks, clean coding and search engine friendly urls allowed sites to show up in the top few rows of an organic search. It seems now the future of optimization is social.

“The gap between social media, content marketing and SEO has been closing fast over the last couple of years, but it’s now at a point where anyone remotely interested in their website ranking anywhere on Google needs to take the sharing of engaging content through social networks extremely seriously”

Google rankings are now dominated by social posts and eight out of the top ten ranking factors for websites on Google are now social based. The types of social media involved in these new rankings include RSS feeds, social news and bookmarking sites, as well as networks, such as Twitter Facebook and YouTube. By having an optimized social presence and engaging in effective marketing and communication on social networks, companies and brands can now improve their search results even more.

SMO - Social Media Optimization

SMO Tools for the future:

“Social media will be the main engine of discovery, giving us the ability to find the signal within the noise.” – Chad Hurley, CEO of Delicious, co-founder of YouTube

New tools are being developed that let companies have a look at their social optimization. The following video shows the relatively easy to use Know-Em Social Media Optimizer. Simply enter the URL of your site, and the tool will analyze your markup code for Facebook’s Open Graph protocol, Google+ Authorship, LinkedIn, and Twitter’s Summary card data. The results shown there represent a rough approximation of what your site will look when shared via Social Media buttons.

The new principles of SMO: Focus on the user and all SEO will follow:
(courtersy of

Create – Maximize your creativity with original quality content.
Relate – Create relatable content, or make your content relatable.
Captivate – Fun and interesting content, stand out from the noise.
 Arouse – Arouse an emotion, it is the constant of all viral success.
 Enjoy – Have Fun! All the most popular media personalities enjoy it.
 Share – Seek shareable content, Reciprocate sharing with movers.
 Acknowledge – Acknowledging others encourages engagement.
 Contribute – Find ways to contribute desired value to audience.
 Influencers – Identify key influencers to foster connections with.
 Communities – Existing communities can expand your reach .
 Reputation – Build personal reputation & brand, as a reliable source.
 Engagement – Tag – Cite – Reply – Comment – Proactively engage.
 Authority – Become a notable authority in a field of expertise.
 Leadership – Lead in social with original ideas, be a Thought Leader.
 Social – Be sociable, try to visualize & reach the individual person.
 Media – Learn to master the media platforms you need to reach.
 Optimization – Target, optimize content/keywords integral to SMO

SMO and SEO combine:

“As people’s networks and interactions expand, massive data sets will generate predictive models that will know what you want before you look for it.” – Chad Hurley, CEO of Delicious, co-founder of YouTube

Now that social conversations can drive traffic, this can inform SEO strategy managers on what keywords or discussions are driving social interaction and search keywords can inform the Social Content Strategy of an organization and were to guide discussions and social exposure. Thus the tools of both SEO and SMO now overlap. This process is a good cycle because the online social engagement boosts search performance, which increases social media exposure and drives more social conversations. Some examples of how the two ways of thinking combine are as follows;

To do effective SEO, experts need to take care of:

  • Appropriate keywords
  • Content that a prospect is looking for
  • Back links from reputed sites
  • Minimalist website code (reducing loading time)
  • Meaningful pictures, video and images

SMO experts have to dig a little deeper:

  • Merge marketing via blog posts, presentations, white papers, e-books,
    research and surveys
  • Engage users that are the potential buyer into the promotional activities
  • Get genuine response of the target audience
  • Show that you are accessible to listen to them, even if it is a complaint
    they are coming with
  • Share interesting content that touches the right audience so that
    they feel like sharing it


Moving forward:
Google is working hand in hand with its own Google+, taking cues from what people look at and discuss with the people in their circles, as well as those who are on YouTube. Microsoft’s Bing is said to be doing the same thing with Facebook and the trend will not end there. In the future of social media marketing, the most optimized social messages will get the most search engine results, discussions and exposure thus Social Media Optimization will be the new king of the castle.

Lessons for the future:

  • Engaging in Social Media now encourages better results in search engines
  • Using new tools will help marketers determine their SMO, and how to improve
  • Social Media Optimization and Search Engine Optimization now overlap and
    can help each other
  • In the future search engines will continue to use social metrics to influence results

Web References:

Submitted by: Dave Mazur – SMBP Student, University of Waterloo. If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.