SMO Is the New SEO: The Rise of Social Media Optimization
The Week in Search
Twitter domination continues, or, it's time to add "Twitter Optimization" to your skill set.
Is old-school social linking dead?
Andrew Goodman of Traffick claims that social linking is going the way of the dodo. Taking its place? Sharing (via Facebook, Google Reader, and social bookmarking sites) and "social tweeting":
[S]ome people still have remnants of any inclination whatsoever to engage in 1998-era social linking, taking the trouble to wrap a relevant link around anchor text in a post like this. The vast majority have no such inclination. They prefer something quick and easy, like a tweet or any number of other forms of social behavior across different digital venues.
These days, he says, "only old school, super-conscientious sorts of bloggers, and SEO's and spammers, do 'proper linking'." (See me, in this post. Like I needed another thing to make me feel old.)
If this is true, it has huge implications for SEO as we know it. Getting plenty of high-authority links has traditionally been a major factor in the optimization of a site, since it's the primary determiner of PageRank. However, if popular content is now, or will soon be, largely shared via no-follow venues like Twitter and Facebook, sheer traffic is presumably going to have to be a bigger factor relative to link profile. And social media optimization may end up being as vital as search engine optimization.
Goodman goes so far as to proclaim PageRank dead: "PageRank as we know it is dead as any kind of reliable measure of what it was formerly supposed to measure." I'm not picking out my outfit for the funeral yet, but I absolutely agree that:
- People are lazy
- Sharing is easy
"Proper" linking takes time, which is why link building is a slow, difficult (and often ingratiating/demeaning) process. (I'm glad it's not my job.)
This changing of the guard may be confusing or frustrating for SEOs, but it's potentially good news for regular people who just want to make good content. If people have easy ways to share it, they'll be more inclined to share.
More evidence that Twitter isn't going away
Skeptical that "social tweeting" is the way of the future? Mashable this week provides some supporting data. According to Vadim Lavrusik, Twitter is poised to take over the world (or something like that). He names five reasons why Twitter is an unstoppable force (reinforcing Goodman's claims about social linking replacing traditional web links), including:
- Consistent growth
- International growth
- It's currently the most mentioned brand on the Web and social media, ahead of the iPhone, Google and Facebook.
To boot, Twitter is the social media platform of choice at Fortune 100 companies. I attribute this again, at least in part, to the laziness factor – tweeting is easier than blogging. Yes, it requires some savvy and dedication, but you don't need a full-time copywriter to carefully compose (or search-optimize) every tweet. Anyone at your company can take an interest and, ahem, join the conversation. (Rebecca Kelley at the 10e20 blog this week does a quick case study of a car dealership finding success with its Twitter account, @iamhuge (she hat-tips Lisa Barone).)
One more futurecasting link for you: Erik Qualman of Socialnomics predicts that the [insert clever mashup of "Microsoft" and "Yahoo" syllables here] deal will distract Google, creating an opportunity for Twitter and Facebook to complete their path toward world domination. If GOOG is too busy hanging on to its lead in search, it can't play catch-up in social media.
So Twitter's becoming more of a search engine, while Google needs to get more social. Is Googter the next Microhoo? Or is it Twitgle?
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