SMO, or Social Media Optimization, helps build website traffic by using social media based websites. The dawning of web 2.0 has seen many different social media websites crop up in an equally large number of different guises. Content sharing, social bookmarking, and collaborative websites form the basis of this initiative and it is these types of website that you need to use in order to leverage the power of the social web.
SMO As Guerrilla Marketing
The nature of Social Media Optimization is such that it could be considered form of guerrilla marketing. Website owners and blog owners have the choice of either investing money or their own skills and time in order to generate traffic from social sites. As long as your efforts are directed appropriately, the more work you put in the more reward you will reap.
SMO As A Link Building Technique
Social optimization also has a happy side effect - it helps to build your link profile so you will usually gain search engine traffic in the long term. Becoming a part of an online community is essential to your social optimization and this, in turn, will naturally provide links to your website. The links will usually be from relevant pages based on a similar topic to that of your own page. The more popular social sites are also given a lot of weight by certain search engines.
Optimize Your Existing Site
Create genuinely interesting, intriguing, or informative pages. Includes images, links, video, and collaborative tools so that visitors really get involved when they do visit your site. SMO is basically digital word-of-mouth and if your website doesn't offer some kind of appealing experience to your visitors, then it simply won't attract the positive word-of-mouth that you want.
Add new pages, if necessary, so that you can include more information. However, don't just add pages for the sake of it - ensure that each page really does have something unique to offer. A website still needs to be well structured.
Get A Blog
Add a blog. Every website has potential blog posts in it so find yours and start blogging regularly. Blog posts tend to attract links from other blog posts and those in turn will spread the word of your website. The more popular your blog becomes, the more value it is perceived to offer and the more visitors you will continue to get.
Be active in those blogs that are within your industry and use your link where permitted and relevant. Don't spam because that will lose you more friends than it will make but if you offer relevant information and a forum or blog allows you to link to it, then offer an insightful comment and provide a link.
Being active is a vital part to your whole SMO campaign. Simply registering with social bookmarking sites and content sharing sites is not enough. You need to be involved, post regularly, and generally become a part of the community. If you don't have the time or the inclination to do this then find somebody else to do it instead.
Some Social Sites To Join
You really do reap what you sow in terms of SMO. Determine the sites that are most suitable to your website, join them, and become an active member. Choose some broad topic sites as well as some that are specific to those interested in the industry in which you operate or topic that you cover. Look at social news submission sites, content sharing sites, bookmarking, and networking sites and try to get a broad coverage of all of them. Here are just a few of the sites you should seriously consider using:
Social News/Media Sharing Websites
* Reddit - Reddit is a very popular social news website that boasts a lot of subscribers and covers a wide range of topics.
* Digg - Initially, Digg was reserved to technology and related topics but is now a broad topic news site that again has a lot of subscribers and regular readers.
* Newsvine - Not as popular as the two above but offering a slightly more formal tone to its content. Again, a good range of topics are covered.
Social Networking Sites
* MySpace - It may be largely riddled with spam but there are still too many genuine users for you to ignore MySpace. You don't have to be an unsigned band to take advantage either.
* Facebook - Has caused quite a stir and offers users the chance to create and distribute their own applications as well as content. Another very popular site. * LinkedIn - LinkedIn is a social networking site dedicated to professionals and businesses. It can really help to build a huge network of partners, customers, and other useful contacts in a business network.
Social Bookmarking Websites
* del.icio.us - Register, store bookmarks that you find useful, and include a bookmark to your own website and use a public profile.
* Stumble Upon - Same again. Alternatively you can add a Stumble icon to each of your pages, blog posts, and other media and let your readers do the walking for you.
Buttons For Your Pages
Many social websites offer a button that your readers or visitors can use to automatically add a page. Bookmarking and content sharing sites, in particular, have these buttons and if you've ever read a website or an article site then you will have seen the Digg This and Stumble buttons at the bottom of each entry. Users registered with these sites can click the button and quickly add your page. The most popular websites are usually displayed on the high traffic home pages delivering yet more visitors to your site.
The Social Internet has opened up a whole new avenue for promoting your business, but it needs to be done properly and carefully. Simply tagging, bookmarking, and sharing every page you have regardless of its quality will not bring you the desired results. You may find that it does you more harm than good in the long run.