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Spot the difference! All you need to know about SMO and SEO…

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Optimization (SMO) are both strong marketing techniques, but they can get confused. In world full of great tools, techniques and expertise, you often see wealth of jargon. SEM, PPC, FB…it can be tough to keep in touch will all the many marketing acronyms, but in this blog we’re going to focus on the difference between SEO and SMO.


Both SMO and SEO involve optimization

The clue’s in the name – both terms are all about making your content work harder by optimizing it. However, where SEO focuses predominantly on optimizing your website, SMO revolves around your social media channels.

Social media optimization helps to make social content shareable, encouraging users to share links and engage with your posts. Search engine optimization, on the other hand, looks to make your content more visible by making life easy for search engines. Keywords indicate what your topic is all about, and optimizing additional elements such as title tags and meta descriptions signposts what your content aims to deliver to both search engines and users.


SEO is…

  • All about increasing site traffic
  • Focused on improving search rankings
  • A long-term mission


SMO is…

  • Building a loyal and engaged customer base
  • Human-centric. You’re trying to appeal to real people, not search engines
  • Helped by adding social link buttons to your brand’s website or blog to encourage social sharing


The most important elements of optimization

Think keyword research is just for SEO? Think again! Social media keyword research will help you to determine popular trends and find out what your audience is talking about. This will help to spark content ideas that will appeal to your social followers.

Where you’ll focus on optimizing your website for SEO, you should consider optimizing your social profiles too. Choose a highly relevant username (usually your brand name) and optimized bio that clearly states what your business does and weaves in a few important keywords, too. Enter as much information about your company as you can to boost visibility. Users will want to know where you’re based, how to get in touch with you and what services you offer – just as they would if they visited your website.


How are SMO and SEO connected?

Social media channels, forums and groups help generate traffic to your site. Though this may not necessarily result in improvements to your backlink profile, brand mentions are still an important way to amplify your message and strengthen your digital footprint. It’s simple: if your content has been shared across hundreds of different authoritative social media handles, it will be recognised as quality content and Google’s algorithm will take this into account when determining your ranking.

SMO enhances the presence of your organisation, boosting your online reputation and thus your brand’s authority and trustworthiness – key elements of strong organic SEO. Google recognises and ranks relevant, shareable content too, so optimizing your social media channels is a great way to ensure all elements of your marketing mix contribute to your SEO efforts.


Creating a harmonious marketing strategy

SMO and SEO both focus on driving traffic to your website. However, they use extremely different methodologies to do this. SEO requires in-depth keyword research, skilled copywriting and technical skills. Success lies in creating content that appeals to both human readers and search engines.

SMO must spark a user’s imagination, driving them to share your content with their own connections. It requires social media users to take proactive action, which they’re much more likely to do if they’re totally invested in your brand and trust your content.

Understanding your audience and how they interact with content is key. Is your demographic keen to share viral hits, such as memes or funny gifs? Or are they driven by informative, engaging research and reports? Knowing the best way to appeal to your audience will help you to deliver quality content tailored to their interests.

Both SMO and SEO revolve around understanding the best way to get your brand’s message out there. Whether it’s an optimized blog, a viral tweet or a complete website rewrite, you should always create content with your user in mind. Ask yourself how you want both existing and potential customers to interact with your content and what action you’d like them to take, and then tailor your marketing strategy accordingly.


Our specialist content division RICH is all about creating content that both search engines and real people appreciate. Get in touch to find out more about optimizing and amplifying your brand’s content.