Social Media Optimization

Social Media Optimization (SMO)

The term Social Media Optimization (SMO) was coined by Rohit Bhargava of Ogilvy Public Relations in the year 2006. What is SMO? SMO is nothing but a way of popularizing your site through Social Media Networks. SMO can be easily compared to SEO, a tactics which is being deployed to increase the site’s visibility across several search engines, by all. While SEO(Search Engine Optimization) aims at making your site more visible on the search engines, SMO does the same on Social Media sites.

According to Bhargava, the concept behind SMO is to implement changes to optimize a site so that it is more easily linked to, more highly visible in social media searches on custom search engines.

He then goes on to define 5 rules, for conducting SMO.

  1. Increase you linkability
  2. Make tagging and bookmarking easy
  3. Reward inbound links
  4. Help your content travel
  5. Encourage the mashup

To these five rules, Jeremiah Owyang went on to add a couple more rules:

  1. Be a user resource, even if it doesn’t help you
  2. Reward helpful and valuable users

Cameron Olthius, further added four more rules, followed by Loren Baker adding rules 12 and 13, while Lee Odden chipped in the rules 14, 15 and 16.

  1. Participate
  2. Know how to target your audience
  3. Create Content
  4. Be Real
  5. Don’t forget your roots, Be humble
  6. Don’t be afraid to try new things
  7. Develop an SMO strategy
  8. Choose your SMO tactics wisely
  9. Make SMO part of your process and best practices

With the increasing impact of social media in our lives, SMO is fast becoming an indispensible strategy to increase traffic to your site. Though it hasn’t yet caught up with SEO, but it no doubt has the potential.

Few years back, the companies hardly cared, who is bookmarking what on, who diggs which story, who mashed what. Nobody ever tried to venture in the casual world of Facebook, or mySpace. But things are changing. By introducing the term, Bhargava actually revolutionized the online marketing strategy. It opened up new windows towards tapping a large volume of audience on web, which was otherwise unnoticed and uncared for.

SMO is all about making your content easy to find, share and distribute. This can be done in several ways. Adding a Digg it button, creating link magnets or link baits, which are nothing but an interesting piece of content.

Like traditional marketing strategy putting the right content to the right audience at the right time, is what makes it click.

SMO can provide instant exposure and influx of inbound links to your site. However, you need to get the content right to increase the conversion rate of this traffic. The strategy for each site depends on the product/service you offer. The content should always be relevant and compliment the specifics of your company. Another thing that needs to be kept in mind while preparing the content is to be honest to your audience. No matter what you do, it never helps to glorify yourself beyond your capability. Just putting up your article on Digg can only help you get a large volume of traffic, which is of no use if the conversion rate is poor. Ultimately, the traffic will slow down too.

Never get carried away by the exposure your site gets, the content should always be designed keeping your target audience in mind. Because they are the ones who will keep your business up and running; others are just additional benefit you may derive.

Few SMO Strategies:

  1. Digg your content
  2. Bookmark it on
  3. Put up your site on StumbleUpon
  4. You can also utilize sites like youTube, MySpace, Flickr and many such social media sites

Social Media Optimization helps build a bridge between the company and the constomer, helps direct conversation, and helps garner greater visibility on the internet.


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Sarbajit on April 26, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    Interesting and very true. One wonders what is the next leap.


  2. Posted by Rishi on April 26, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Awesome article – Finally 🙂 The first 2 articles were fairly basic but this one does delve into the details of SMO. SMO is an extension of the earlier SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) which was invented after the Search Engines (Google) became the Homepage of the internet.
    I find the article comprehensive and informative.
    Good Work!!!


    • Thanks! I think there is a lot more to SMO than I have covered. Now that Facebook has officially surpassed google as the most visited website, SMO may even become the next SEO. but for now I think both go hand in hand.


  3. nice info.. 🙂


  4. A buzzword for me but overall a good informative article.


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