June 7, 2013

Social Media Optimization for SEO. The Future of Search.

The Complete SMO / SEO Guide for Business & Brands in Social Media.

Author: Joshua Berg ©

① Are social signals phasing out SEO for more user perceptive search?
② Learning from collective preferences en masse using social media.
③ An explanation of Social Media Optimization and its earlier definition.
④ The seventeen early rules of Social Media Optimization, the way it was.
⑤ SMO's relationship with SEO and the growing intelligence of search algorithms.
⑥ Is it time to rewrite SMO rules? User experience first, then search optimization.
⑦ The all new principles of SMO, Focus on the user and all elSEO will follow.
    ⓐ Create        - Maximize your creativity with original quality content.
    ⓑ Relate        - Create relatable content, or make your content relatable.
    ⓒ Captivate    - Fun and interesting content stands out from the noise.
    ⓓ Arouse        - Arouse emotion; it is the one constant of all viral success!
    ⓔ Enjoy        - Have Fun! All the most popular media personalities enjoy it.
    ⓕ Share        - Seek shareable (quality) content; reciprocate sharing with movers.
    ⓖ Acknowledge    - Acknowledging others encourages engagement, reciprocation.
    ⓗ Contribute    - Find ways to contribute desired value & quality to your audience.
    ⓘ Influencers    - Identify key influencers (movers) to foster connections with.
    ⓙ Communities    - Existing communities can expand your reach & effectiveness.
    ⓚ Reputation    - Build personal reputation & brand, as a reliable qualified source.
    ⓛ Engagement    - Tag - Cite - Respond - Comment - Proactively seek to engage.
    ⓜ Authority    - Become a notable authority in a particular field of expertise.
    ⓝ Leadership    - Lead in social with new and original ideas; be a Thought Leader.
    ⓞ Social        - Be sociable, try to reach the individual person, visualize the reader.
    ⓟ Media        - Learn to master the media platforms you need to reach your goal.
    ⓠ Optimization - Technically optimize; target content, keywords integral to SMO.
⑧ Authorship & Google+ is a royal romance, the marriage of Search & Social Media.
⑨ This is just my Pilot Episode; here's some of the related SMO topics coming soon.
⑩ Let's travel 10 years into the future and see where Google Search is going.

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"73% say they process information more deeply, thoughtfully when they share it." NYTimes
Share this guide to be amazed how soon you're surrounded by more engaging users
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① Are social signals phasing out SEO for more user perceptive search?

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Traditional SEO techniques, many of which have been overused up until now, continue to be more finely scrutinized by each new search engine update that comes out. With Google Search that has caused a relatively large proportion of the somewhat over-optimized sites to get penalized and dropped down in search rankings. The biggest drawback of the traditional SEO concept and techniques, is that they focus mostly on the technical aspects of websites and their promotion, rather than the user experience and quality of the content. Ultimately the epidemic over optimizing of website content created an unprecedented level of web pollution by meaningless keyword rich content, quite worthless and even detestable to the average user.

Along comes social media and the knight in shining armor indisputable, it is users themselves who will decide the experience they wish to pursue and from which can be learned the collective preference of masses. Social signals then become the holy grail for algorithmically understanding users desired experience en masse in order to move toward more perceptive and comprehending search. One particular search giant realizing their algorithmically incurable deficiency in this arena, set about to build the ultimate social media platform which might better tap into universal intelligence and preference to maturate artificial intelligence and perception on a scale unprecedented.

As search comprehension increases, so too does the importance of social signals to the progression of higher intelligence search, making social media indicators the natural replacement for many of the more technical astute aspects of SEO.

Jennifer Wortman Vaughan, in her thesis Learning From Collective Preferences, explains:
Machine learning has become one of the most active and exciting areas of computer science research, in large part because of its wide-spread applicability to problems as diverse as natural language processing, speech recognition, spam detection, search, computer vision, gene discovery, medical diagnosis, and robotics. At the same time, the growing popularity of the Internet and social networking sites like Facebook has led to the availability of novel sources of data on the preferences, behavior, and beliefs of massive populations of users. Naturally, both researchers and engineers are eager to apply techniques from machine learning in order to aggregate and make sense of this wealth of collective information.

② Learning from collective preferences en masse using social media.

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Learning from the collective preferences of many users using social media and data mining tools, has become an entire field of specialization on its own. There has recently been considerable research, advancements in knowledge and software designed specifically for this purpose. More businesses have also sprung up in this industry, dedicated to helping companies and high profile individuals with Social Mood Research, to provide them with analysis and real-time feedback via social media.


There is even a Social Mood Conference... 
Social mood research is rapidly expanding its reach into governments, businesses and technologies around the globe. Some of the biggest and fastest-growing organizations worldwide have  discovered that social mood research is an invaluable tool that informs nearly every major decision they make. Understanding why people do what they do is only half the benefit of socionomics. Social mood research also helps you make precise forecasts about what people want – before they themselves know it.


Social Search – Topsy Co-Founder at April 14 Social Mood Conference.
Rishab Aiyer Ghosh, March 15, 2013
Interview with Rishab Aiyer Ghosh on making social media the true engine of Internet searches What will the next wave of the digital revolution look like? His latest project is Topsy Labs, which is using big data to produce “the only full-scale public index of the social web.”
By the way, Rishab's Topsy Google+ Search Beta, is a one of a kind tool and secret weapon of mine (shhh...) through which can be mined interesting Google+ data from across billions of G+ posts, providing insights that I haven't found anywhere else. And now you know, what I know. ;-)

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Here are some key excerpts from some in-depth articles for further research on this topic:

Optimize – How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social and...
by +Lee Odden

"So many optimization efforts are focused on chasing exploits and loopholes only to be shut down by search engine quality efforts. Why not focus on quality in the first place? Many online marketers “get” the value of SEO, social media and even content independently, but working them together in a way that makes sense is often a challenge."

Social Media and Business Intelligence: Creating the Integrated Customer Hub
by +Oracle CRM, March 5, 2013

"Never before have so many individuals been involved in the production, communication, and sharing of content... To compete effectively in this new landscape, organizations must monitor and analyze the conversations taking place over social media. This is where their customers are. Companies that fail to do so are missing out on consumer insights and opportunities to heighten brand awareness."

Predicting Product Market Adoption and Longevity Using Large Scale, Social Media Data

"Predicting product demand. Oftentimes social media has the potential to create persuasive buzzes that impact consumers’ purchasing decisions. This study first analyzes the sentiment in tweets in order to discover the collective sentiment (positive, negative or neutral). The collective sentiment then is used to predict product sales."

③ An explanation of Social Media Optimization and its earlier definition.

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SMO has been described and its rules defined a number of different ways so far, because as social media and search technologies have evolved, so have the needs of optimization. 

The social media websites that existed back in 2006 were very different than now, some have become extinct, a few have evolved and far more powerful platforms have risen and flourished. At that time SEO had become increasingly popular and many techniques were growing close to the height of their effectiveness. SMO had been unheard of and was introduced more as a service option to increase marketing effectiveness within social media itself.

So let's go back and look at an early introduction to SMO and then we'll talk about how that meaning continues changing along with social media itself and its growing relevance to many search algorithms. An excellent way I know of doing this, is to view the Internet historically. The Wikipedia history tab can be particularly useful for getting some historical perspective on some fast changing technologies and fields.


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Here is the historical Wikipedia entry explaining SMO on August 6, 2007:

    SMO is a set of methods for generating publicity through social media, online communities and community websites. Methods of SMO include adding RSS feeds, adding a "Digg This" button, blogging and incorporating third party community functionalities like Flickr photo slides and galleries or YouTube videos. Social media optimization is a form of search engine marketing.
    Social media optimisation is in many ways connected as a technique to viral marketing where word of mouth is created not through friends or family but through the use of networking in social bookmarking, video and photo sharing websites.

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Fast forward to now where Wikipedia currently describes it like this:

Social Media Optimization "according to Wikipedia."

    SMO refers to the use of a number of social media outlets and communities to generate publicity to increase the awareness of a product, brand or event. Types of social media involved include RSS feeds, social news and bookmarking sites, as well as social networking sites, such as Twitter, video and blogging sites. SMO is similar to search engine optimization in that the goal is to generate traffic and awareness for a website. In general, social media optimization refers to optimizing a website and its content in terms of sharing across social media and networking sites.
    Social media optimization is becoming increasingly important for search engine optimization, as search engines are increasingly utilizing the recommendations of users of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to rank pages in the search engine result pages.

These are some more notable highlights of the same article:
    Social media optimization is in many ways connected to the technique of viral marketing... An effective SMO campaign can harness the power of viral marketing;

    This allows businesses to build an online following and presence, all linking back to the company's website for increased traffic. For example, with an effective social bookmarking campaign, not only can website traffic be increased, but a site's rankings can also be increased.

    Social media optimization is considered an integral part of an online reputation management (ORM) or search engine reputation management (SERM) strategy for organizations or individuals who care about their online presence.

    Social media optimization is not limited to marketing and brand building. Increasingly, smart businesses are integrating social media participation as part of their knowledge management strategy.


④ The seventeen early rules of Social Media Optimization, the way it was.

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The term "social media optimization" may have first been described by marketer +Rohit Bhargava, according to this article: Social Media Optimization: It's Like SEO, For Social Sites.
+Danny Sullivan

Bhargava's original 5 Rules of Social Media Optimization were as follows:
+Rohit Bhargava August 10, 2006

The concept behind SMO is simple: 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 (such as Technorati), and more frequently included in relevant posts on blogs, podcasts and vlogs. 
    1. Increase your linkability – Adding a blog is a great step, however there are many other ways such as creating white papers and thought pieces, or even simply aggregating content that exists elsewhere into a useful format.
    2. Make tagging and bookmarking easy – Adding content features like quick buttons...making sure pages include a list of relevant tags, ...and making sure to tag our pages first on popular social bookmarking sites. 
    3. Reward inbound links – Often used as a barometer for success of a blog (as well as a website), inbound links are paramount to rising in search results and overall rankings. To encourage more of them, we need to make it easy and provide clear rewards. 
    4. Help your content travel - Unlike much of SEO, SMO is not just about making changes to a site. When you have content that can be portable (such as PDFs, video files and audio files), submitting them to relevant sites will help your content travel further, and ultimately drive links back to your site. 
    5. Encourage the mashup – In a world of co-creation, it pays to be more open about letting others use your content. YouTube's idea of providing code to cut and paste to embed videos from their site has fueled their growth. 

    6. Be a user resource, even if it doesn’t help you. (Rules 6 and 7, Jeremiah Owyang 8/13/06)
    7. Reward helpful and valuable users.

    8. Participate – Join the conversation. (Rules 8, 9, 10 and 11, Cameron Olthuis 8/15/06)
    9. Know how to target your audience – If you don’t know your target audience you're in trouble.
   10. Create content – There are certain kinds of content that just naturally spread socially.
   11. Be real – The community does not reward fakers.
   12. Don’t forget your roots, be humble. (Rules 12 and 13, Loren Baker 8/16/06)
   13. Don’t be afraid to try new things, stay fresh.

   14. Develop a SMO strategy. (Rules 14, 15 and 16, Lee Odden, 8/17/06)
   15. Choose your SMO tactics wisely.
   16. Make SMO part of your process and best practices.
   17. Don’t be afraid to let go of a message, or idea and let others own it. 

Rule 17, Rohit Bhargava, 8/30/06:
"In the spirit of social media principles, the idea of Social Media Optimization is now out there and belongs to the marketing and PR community. People have already added great ideas and thoughts to this concept – and I strongly believe the future definition of this emerging marketing practice will come from the group. And perhaps this phenomenon gives us a 17th rule of SMO: Don’t be afraid to let go of a message or idea and let others own it."
And I will make note of this Rule 17 here, because a little further down we're about to start rewriting the rules for that "future definition".


⑤ SMO's relationship with SEO, the growing intelligence of search algorithms

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Contrary to some of the scary headlines you might see, SEO is not dead and many important aspects of it are and will continue to be important. Optimizing websites with the right technical details, including variations of keywords in your content and obtaining good quality backlinks to your blog, or website, are all still relevant. What is dying, are many of the older SEO techniques which previously may have been highly effective, but can now get sites demoted for being over-optimized.

SEO was never a single standard set of rules, or techniques, but has been a practice of commonly used methods continually evolving along with search technology. I would even say, it is more of an industry word created for "outsiders" in an attempt to describe exactly what it is that we do--although we often had no idea, LOL. In fact, I remember when I first started seeing the term, I had already been practicing it for years.

What we will and already see passing is popularity of the term SEO, as it continues to fall into disrepute being more closely associated with old techniques and sometimes even questionable businesses. It is quickly becoming clearer though, that the future of online visibility for people and brands, lies much closer to true user experience, genuineness and social interaction, than any of the former technical practices.

This a good Wiki explanation of that direction...
Social media optimization is becoming increasingly important for search engine optimization, as search engines are increasingly utilizing the recommendations of users of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to rank pages in the search engine result pages... since it is more difficult to tip the scales or influence the search engines in this way, search engines are putting more stock into social search. This, coupled with increasingly personalized search based on interests and location, has significantly increased the importance of a social media presence in search engine optimization.
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Some good articles on this topic fairly accurately predicted this continuing direction:


SEO Is Dead, And The New King IS 'SMO'.
+Ben Elowitz October 27, 2010

    Over the past five years, Web publishing has been so heavily dominated by search engine optimization (SEO)... But this movement toward SEO has been dangerous, as it’s moved publishers’ eye off their most important job of creating great content, and onto the false goals of keywords, hacks, paid links, and technical engineering that their audience doesn’t know or care about.
    Search was critical when answers to questions were scarce. But at a time when such answers are abundant, it’s far more valuable to find the best content for me. The encouraging implication is that the audience values content, not keywords... And so it’s time to christen a new era of social-media optimization, or “SMO.”
    SMO strategy means appealing to the audience, not an intermediary; knowing what drives interest; and activating people’s desire to consume and share. For those who are still working on implementing search strategies: if you haven’t turned your focus to SMO, you will be left behind as the allure of gaming search engines fades into the past.
Search Engine Optimization in an Increasingly Social World.+Eric Enge, November 30, 2010
    While many (foolishly) argue that SEO is dead, that isn't likely to happen soon. Matt Cutts tells us that SEO is here to stay, and I agree. But SEO is changing rapidly, and one of the biggest forces driving those changes is the increasingly social nature of the web.
    What interests me more is what motivates these changes? We could provide the simplistic answer of "increasing profits," which would be correct, but it isn't sufficient. It may sound trite, but the answer for both search engines is increased user satisfaction.
    Another aspect is the interactions on social media sites. These all provide signals to the search engines... Volume of activity is one signal. Lots of references to your site is certainly an interesting data point, but sentiment analysis also allows search engines to get a signal as to whether people like what you're doing. Sentiment analysis may not be in active use by the search engines at this time, but it's hard to believe that it won't be in the future.
    In our highly social online environment, the true spam police is us.
Thoughts on Google Instant.
+Matt Cutts, September 8, 2010
    Almost every new change at Google generates the question “Will X kill SEO?”
The ability to explore the query space and find out new things will inevitably lead to changes for SEO.
    ...that doesn’t mean that SEO will die. I’ve said it before, but SEO is in many ways about change. The best SEOs recognize, adapt, and even flourish when changes happen.

Several other great follow up on articles on this:

Forbes: The Three Pillars Of SEO In 2013: Content, Links, And Social Media.
by Jason DeMers, May 23, 2013

Optimize Social Profiles for Better Search Engine Results. 
By our business SMO favorite: +Mark Traphagen.
With +Phil Buckley and Cecilia Taylor, March 6, 2013


⑥ Is it time to rewrite SMO rules? User experience first, then search optimization

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The "17 SMO rules" above were great in 2006, but that was 7 years ago and in dog years that's a lifetime away, technology years too for that matter. So let's take a look at these rules again and see what's changed since then.


    1. Increase your linkability. Now we'd say, Increase shareable content. Technical linkability has already been increased across all social with easy built in sharing. So the goal would be to improve sharing with more relatable, interesting and quality content. Blogs are still a good idea, but PLEASE don't go stuffing the world's most boring articles down everyone's throat by blog dumping in every community you can find. If you're content is of interest, people will read it and share it.

    2. Make tagging and bookmarking easy. Easy tagging and bookmarking is pre-built into all social now, certainly you want to, Encourage tagging, sharing and engagement.

    3. Reward inbound links. This is true, however making it easy to share links is now built in. As for the kind of obligatory linking back aspect of this, definitely outdated now. There are other ways to (let's say) reward your sharing users now, for example posting your Favorite Circle of Sharers and Engagers.

    4. Help your content travel.
 This is still a great one and there are ways of doing this. Posting your website, or blog content in appropriate social media places where it can naturally spread is important, but as mentioned above, it is imperative that you create relatable interesting content, otherwise it will be looked at as spam. Sadly a majority of blog postings dumped in social these days will never even be read, much less shared. Your content is worth what you put into it. I spent over a week on research and writing this comprehensive article and I know a lot of people will be sharing it.

    5. Encourage the mashup.
Technology and some years mean this one probably doesn't even need to be a rule anymore, because it's more the norm, than not and you can find a wiki, or group project for just about anything. Focus on your content, then chances are other people are going to add to it, quote it and share it.

    6. Be a user resource, even if it doesn’t help you
. Absolutely, this may be the best point of all, but the second part would actually be false, if the first part is sufficiently true.

    7. Reward helpful and valuable users. Yes, but this rule more, or less, meshes with #3 now.

    8. Participate – Join the conversation.  Aaaaaaaaargh... that's me screaming in vexed frustration if I see another $@^# auto post. Participation is probably the most important principle of all, but I call it ENGAGEMENT, which is a step further. In fact if you're going to close your post comments, or not engage users at all, please leave "social" right now!

    9. Know how to target your audience. You should absolutely know the audience you're targeting (especially with communities), that you're sharing something appropriate and of high interest. For example, I know a lot of my followers will be interested and share this comprehensive SMO guide, but if logged in as Lady GaGa to share it with her millions, I bet it wouldn't make it past my router.

   10. Create content – certain kinds of content naturally spread. Part of this is in 1 and 4, so you'll want to create original, relatable, high interest, quality content.


   11. Be real – a community does not reward fakers. Always a good one, more so now with Authorship.

   12. Don’t forget your roots, be humble. I do like this one, grandstanding is as big a turn off in social as it is in the real world. Thankfully, as a testament of modesty... I exude pure humility. LMAO.

   13. Don’t be afraid to try new things, stay fresh. Yes, please! Be creative, don't just post the same thing everyone else is posting for crying out loud. The social noise pollution of millions can be deafening.

   14. Develop a SMO strategy.
More of a mix of everything, I 'm not sure this is a rule, but it is good.

   15. Choose your SMO tactics wisely.
These last 3 make more sense if you read the full article.

   16. Make SMO part of your process and best practices. This is also true, but includes all of the above.

   17. Don’t be afraid to let go of a message, or idea and let others own it.
In the spirit of social media principles, the idea of Social Media Optimization is now out there and belongs to the marketing and PR community. People have already added great ideas and thoughts to this concept – and I strongly believe the future definition of this emerging marketing practice will come from the group. ARE YOU READY? Based on this Rule #17, I'm going to throw out all of the "Rules 1-16" above, I guess there won't be a 17 for that matter either. Because so much has changed about social media, SMO, SEO and all of the above. I honestly don't believe you can keep a numbered list of constantly relevant rules for SMO, anymore than for SEO and we all know how well that would've worked.


⑦ The all new principles of SMO, Focus on the user and all elSEO will follow.

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What we need to define for SMO are the PRINCIPLES! These are the aspects and ideas of optimizing that don't change overnight with the next application update, or search algorithm. These principles should primarily, focus on the user and all else will follow. Sound familiar? That's because it's the very first point of Google's company philosophy (and they're not doing too bad either). With this principle guiding you can expect your future rankings to consistently improve as the search algorithms grow evermore intelligent and your SMO, SEO, or "All Else", will never go out of date. If I was to coin a word out of this concept, it would probably have a definition like this, (and follow El-nino in the Bergtionary):


elseo : a principle of focusing primarily on the user experience, through which process "all else" (aspiring to SEO), is anticipated as a natural by-product of achieved results.


When reading this list below, if a lot of it sounds like just too much and you can't imagine that you'd have time to incorporate even half of these principles into what little social networking time you already have, well then you're probably right. What I'm talking about here, improving your social for optimal effect, both the content you provide and your social engagement, is not for everyone. In fact 80% of the people in social media will probably not get this far for a long time. Pick a hundred random posts and compare their qualities with the list below and you will see that, "Yes, this is not the average user."

We're talking about Optimization: to make as perfect and effective as possible. YMNQ.

The people who have already, or will master all of these principles, will be the leaders, the authorities, the influencers, the movers and the shakers (but I'm getting ahead of myself). Many of you know exactly what I'm talking about, because those of you reading this first who are already in my networks and spheres of influence, are these kind of people. That's not an accident (as you'll read below), for that is the kind of people I have sought out, cultivate and regularly engage, as a key part of my own social optimization. Yes, that goes for you too #432. LOL. JK, I actually love you all too. ;-)

So if you're not one of the leaders and influencers I'm talking about, you soon could be. Frankly, it's lucky for you that you've made it here already, and if you've read this far down the page you're already serious enough to pre-qualify, so read on. All of this could be yours. ;-) What I'm trying to give you here, is an opportunity to excel to the front of the line, but if that isn't you, I am certain your social reach and efficiency will nevertheless improve drastically by attaining at least several of these principles.

My goal here is to give you a comprehensive overview of all related SMO/SEO topics. Each of the following principles encompass a range of topics in their own right, which I intend to expound on. So you can expect to see me branching off of and writing about many of these right here in the near future.



ⓐ Create - Maximize your creativity with original quality content.

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Creativity in making quality Original content is the best start. The average user is overwhelmed with too much content; it is content that stands out as exceptional and original that draws attention. Let those creative juices flow and don't be afraid to fail, break a few rules, or completely miss the mark, for it is only by doing so that you will succeed. I keep hearing catchphrases like, "Content is key."--by itself that is ridiculous. Every two days we now create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until  2003, That’s something like five exabytes of data. According to +Eric Schmidt (Executive Chairman of Google), he outta know. So to qualify that catchphrase we really need to specify that, it is not just creating content itself that is key, it is the creativity, originality, quality.
See also: How Much Content is Created Every Minute.



ⓑ Relate - Create relatable content, or make your content relatable.

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Relatability is key, either relatable content, or make your content relatable. Yes, I know relatability "isn't technically a word," but did you already forget principle one? You're also not supposed to use these ;-) in your article, but you know you love them. Creating and finding content that is relatable to your target readers is of primary importance to getting it shared and referenced; those are backlinks. Granted, your business may not have "relatable content," e.g. marketing toilet brushes, but what about toilet brushes that can sing & gargle shampoo? Pat.Pend. So get creative. Be confident. You can certainly find a way to make your content relatable.


ⓒ Captivate - Fun and interesting content stands out from the noise.

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Fun and interesting content that captivates your audience - is what wins the day. Don't tell me about "useful," or "really important information." The Encyclopedia Britanica just went out of print.--Is what you're writing about that useful? Something about your content starting with the Tits... Title, must catch your reader's attention. Did you see that? Five bucks says you sniggered, but at least you won't forget it.

It's been said that you have 20 seconds, or 10 seconds to capture your audience attention. Balderdash! Open your Google+ stream right now (yes I know, too many columns), then with your mobile stopwatch app in one hand and your mouse in the other scroll a little and click. Now from the time you first saw it, how long did it take for the post you choose to catch your attention and your subconscious to naturally filter out the others? 1 second? 3 seconds? What caught your eye?


ⓓ Arouse - Arouse emotion; it is the one constant of all viral success!

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Emotion is the one constant in all viral success, so endeavor to arouse. Will it make viewers feel shocked, amazed, amused, touched, angry, nostalgic? Can you touch them personally in some way? All of your content will never all go viral, but when content does -- and especially if you can repeatedly achieve viral results -- that is the highest level of social media optimization.
Other words vying for this description could be, Incite, or Stimulate, but Arouse really says it all:
  • Incite: to stir up or provoke to action. 
  • Stimulate: Encourage interest or activity: "reader could not fail to be stimulated by the ideas presented."
  • Arouse: Evoke or awaken (a feeling, emotion, or response). Excite or provoke (someone) to anger or strong emotions: "an ability to influence the audience and to arouse the masses".
Awaken a feeling, provoke to action. What is it that we hope to accomplish here? Once the arousal is in effect and the action is provoked, the user is encouraged to (possibly even sub-consciously) share this feeling with someone else... and thus the action provoked is the act of sharing the content.


ⓔ Enjoy - Have Fun! All the most popular media personalities enjoy it.

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Have Fun! The most popular social media personalities really enjoy it. I sincerely believe the vast majority of successful people in social, really enjoy the experience and you can tell they're having fun doing it. If they're not... well, they certainly had me fooled! Real social is not a formality, it's a PeRrSoNaLiTy.  ˙ǝslǝ ǝuoʎɹǝʌǝ sɐ ǝɯɐs ǝɥʇ ǝq op oʇ ǝʌɐɥ ʇ,uop noʎ


ⓕ Share - Seek shareable (quality) content; reciprocate sharing with movers.

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Listen! Share! Reciprocate! -Especially with experts in your own field. Each of these could be their own topic, but are all related to sharing & engaging. To stay relevant and retain prominence in social, you need to share relevant quality content & the best place to find it is from your prominent peers. We'll call these your Influencers (aka. Movers & Shakers). These movers recognize effective content, and invariably attained the reach they have in social by knowing what -- and providing what -- their audience wants.

While a primary achievement of SMO is the benefit of your own content regularly shared, you will never achieve this by only sharing your own content. Producing sufficient quantity of desirable content takes time and by working together with your influencers, you can increase your networks by harnessing the fruits of their efforts, while in turn also expanding their reach. This process of reciprocation grows through the expansion of influencers you cultivate and is a key factor in the anomaly of consistent viral results produced between these influencers.

The New York Times Insights, did fascinating research into The Psychology of Sharing:
 ✓ Acts as information management, "73% say they process information more deeply... when they share it."
 ✓ To bring valuable/entertaining content to others, "49% allows them to inform others... enrich their lives."
 ✓ To define ourselves to others, "68% share to give people sense of who they are & what they care about."
 ✓ To grow and nourish our relationships, "78% lets them stay connected to people they may not otherwise."
 ✓ For self-fulfillment, "69% share information because it allows them to feel more involved in the world."
 ✓ To get the word out about causes, or brands, "84% it is a way to support causes, issues they care about."
 ✓ 6 Personas of Sharers: Altruists, Careerists, Hipsters, Boomerangs, Connectors, Selectives.

Here's an excerpt from my Ignore the blonde, "What's good for all of us, is better for each of us."

"Well, why would you help me? I'm the competition." I get a similar reaction from newer people to social, when I suggest we share posts, friend lists, or methods. To answer I'll go to a classic scene  from A Beautiful Mind...

After several friends challenge each other to compete for a voluptuous blonde. A suave looking gentleman states, "Have you remembered nothing?... Individual ambition serves the common good."

That is when John Nash has his epiphany that will go onto form the basis for worldwide marketing strategies and economic theories. "The best result would come from everyone in the group doing what's best for himself, and the group." "The simple insight underlying John Nash's (Nash Equilibrium) idea is that ...we must ask what each player would do, taking into account the decision-making of the others."
See also:  The Psychology of Sharing and Google+ Commoogling Video Series. by +martin shervington


ⓖ Acknowledge - Acknowledging others encourages engagement, reciprocation.

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Acknowledging others is not only socially critical, but inevitably causes reciprocation. Important forms of Acknowledgement that have now come to exist since the early days of social media are: Plusses, Likes, Sharing Circles (of thanks, value, or interest).

The more of this engagement you receive the better and the higher the Authority and Reputation of those giving it, the greater its value is, and will come to be. The simple act of acknowledging others regularly throughout social, shows that you are sociable and it encourages others to be so as well. That said, don't waste your time, or money, on buying fake acknowledgement, whether it's 100 +1's for $5.00, or a thousand Likes, fake acknowledgements are not only worthless, but that's devolving into the oldest forms of spammy SEO.


ⓗ Contribute - Find ways to contribute desired value and quality to your audience.


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Consider ways to contribute to your communities and social networks. Contributing value to those around you in social media is the surest way to guarantee your success, and the more you are able to successfully do so, the more you will see your social reach blossom and your investment will return to you exceeding wealth.
SMO in here   → ▢ →   = SEO out there.

There are many ways one could contribute, extensive and time consuming projects like this guide would be one of the more extreme examples, yet it is the well invested and exceptional projects, that usually provide the best return. Content that is interesting, entertaining, or useful and provides value to the receiver is all a type of contribution. Content that is self-promotional, or even just undesirable and uninteresting is the exact opposite, that's what we call "dumping," it is also a waste of time and will not provide positive results.

The concept of contributing is especially useful in communities and groups. For example, those who give to others in communities by, engaging others on their content, provide high engaging discussion, answer questions and provide feedback, or volunteer moderators, are usually considered contributors. These kind of members may even receive positive reception if they do slip in an occasional promotion.


ⓘ Influencers - Identify key influencers (movers), to foster connections with.


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Identify key influencers within your networks, the movers and shakers. These people are the gold of social optimization, in this regards, "it's not what you know it's who you know," is still true. This again, is another basic principle of socialization that is just as true in the real world as it is here in cyber. Attracting and connecting with influential people requires genuine social skills, I'm sorry there's no app for that. If you can get the attention of (*dare I say indulge), engage and cultivate relationships with these kinds of people, your sphere of influence and reach can be multiplied manifold. There are some ways to find out quickly who these people are and to get their attention, starting with commenting on & sharing their content. I'll be writing more about that soon.
  • *Don't overdue, there's genuine appreciation, then there's insincere flattery, pestering.
  • Don't send personal notifications for general content (that's an instant mute).
  • Don't plus every single post they have, or tag them excessively. 
  • Be real!--They're probably smarter than you are and have thousands of people vying for their attention, but at the same time they recognize quality and sincerity when they see it.

The other social relationships you'll want to foster are with sharers and engagers, the people who regularly comment on and/or, share your content. So where do you find these people if you don't come across them already? Well, they're connected to your movers and shakers, because that's the kind of people they surround themselves with. While you're at it, you might pause to ponder if, the reason you may not have many of them, is because you are not one of them. Bottom line? Be social in social.


ⓙ Communities - Existing communities can expand your reach and effectiveness.


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Pre-existing communities, groups, forums are a good way to expand your reach. - With several important caveats: In my opinion, the vast majority of users posting to communities are neither leveraging them for optimal reach, nor for expanding their social connections. Typically they are posted to by many people who are not very social in social media, maybe they are new and still learning, or they just never got it. A result of which, they don't have enough followers, hence they need to post there for anyone to see it. This is one of the reasons many of these communities tend to be shunned by most of the prominent and experienced social users. 
However there are some very good communities, but you MUST follow basics:
 ✓ Communities are for meeting people and discussion, not announcements. 
 ✓ Before you post in a community, read their guidelines and don't stretch them. 
 ✓ Practice good Netiquette, +Ahmed Zeeshan has an excellent post on this.
 ✓ In all cases guaranteed, they are not for advertising, or any self promotions.
 ✓ Make sure what you're post is both relevant to that specific community & engaging. 
 ✓ As much as lieth within you, put some real effort into writing directly in the post. 
 ✓ Address members directly, ask questions, expect a response, engage the other posts.

I have written extensively about this in a unique CommunityGuidelin.es post I created for a community of mine and this is some of what I cover in it:
 ✓ My Community Guidelines To Help You Succeed in Social.
 ✓ Soapbox posting is a total social media fail: Link dumping to blogs and news articles, to "teach."
        It does not increase your followers, or your networks.
        It does not improve your Google search rankings.
        It drains PageRank, wastes time & makes you look naïve.
 ✓ The power of real people social networking.
 ✓ Specific tips for improving social networking & rankings.


ⓚ Reputation - Build personal reputation and brand, as a reliable qualified source.


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Build the reputation of your brand and your personal online identity, this has become a crucial part of social media and now with the advent of Google Authorship has become indispensable to search. Who you are, what you represent, what your causes are, what you provide, your customers satisfaction, real-time feedback, are all a part of this.

Not going to make a long list here, because it's a big topic and that's just a taste. We'll be discussing this further in the future as I have a lot more to write about it. For now here are some excellent overviews of these topics which are put together quite well on Wikipedia.



ⓛ Engagement Tag - Cite - Respond - Comment - Proactively seek to engage.


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Engaging with and being engaged by others is what makes social media social. If you're not responding to comments and engaging others on their content as well, you're missing the point of social altogether. Building engagement through verifiable platforms such as Google+ is more important than it ever was, because first it's a necessity for social relevance and then there's the algorithmic aspect. Actual measurable engagement is a critical element of all social and search ranking algorithms. More simply put in this case, a bird in the hand is worth an infinite number in the bush, because when trying to measure audience reception algorithmically, any reaction that can't be mathematically measured is worthless. If no one plus, shares, likes, or links to a good article, then algorithmically it's still not far from worthless.
Types of engagement include, Commenting on other people's posts, Replying to comments, Mentioning (is a kind of Citation) other users (especially +Tagging). I'll be writing more about all of these, because they are an integral part of both SMO, SEO and the future of search as I see it.

Meanwhile I have written an extensive 6 part series called PageRank in Google+, on the technical aspect of what all this activity provides algorithmically to SEO, how and why it can be extremely effective. I will also be writing a second edition of the PageRank series here on this blog and including several more parts that I have not yet had covered.


ⓜ Authority - Become a notable authority in a particular field of expertise.


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Become a notable authority in a particular field of expertise. This one is so fabulous that if properly mastered can outshine many of the other principles we have discussed so far. Look around at the prominent people in social, many of them have become renowned authorities in social media by just writing about their favorite topics, even learning and eventually mastering new topics from scratch, just since writing about them.
Everyone can be good at something, it is especially effective if you can find something that you like to do and is also in demand, then write about it in an interesting way, or find an interesting angle.

Get creative, brainstorm, dream bigger, believe in yourself, try, try and then try again!

Choose your topic, choose your audience, do your research and yet keep some reasonable expectations on what results will be achieved by them. It is not likely that you will become the most popular person on Google+ writing groundbreaking research on the mating habits of the Turritopsis nutricula jellyfish --actually, this interesting little bugger may hold they key to immortality, but I digress. Point is, there are so many interesting things you can learn about, talk about, write about and just maybe, you can write about them like they've never been written before. Finding the right key to unlock this door may reveal treasures unparalleled.


ⓝ Leadership - Lead in social with new and original ideas, be a Thought Leader.


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Lead in social, don't just do the same things everyone else is doing. You can be a leader of ideas, direction, creativity, networks, communities and much more. Lead with your original content, or writing, provide quality, value and perspective that no one else within your fields of interest has yet provided. Look, listen, evaluate and learn, what has no one else provided that you may be able to bring. Be proactive, not reactive.

Thought Leader: "Leadership by an active media user who interprets the meaning of media messages or content for lower-end media users. Typically the opinion leader is held in high esteem by those who accept his or her opinions."

Building thought leadership is one of the highest & advanced levels of these principles. Have a good look around in social and you will see all of the highly popular people and businesses fall into this category. Typically thought leaders have proven themselves in the business, academic or political sphere through successful implementation of their ideas. Thought leaders often publish articles and blog posts on trends and topics influencing an industry or directed internal to an organisation. Through effective communication and clarity of purpose, they effect change and are considered exemplary leaders.”

Know when to lead, but just as important know when to follow. 
Remember, arrogance is not a leadership quality.

See also, Presentation: Building Thought Leadership Beyond SEO, by Kunle T Campbell, Apr 03, 2013


ⓞ Social - Be sociable, try to reach the individual person, visualize the reader.


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Be social in social media, picture the people you are talking to. No, the irony of this topic is not lost on me. LOL. Yes, it is almost bizarre that I have to write about social as a specific topic, in a social optimization guide, on a social media platform, to my social networks, but frankly I have perceived the inability to consider the real person personal connection as one of the biggest deficiencies to achieving SMO.

Be Genuine and Authentic: These are real people you're talking to in social, not cyborgs (you'll have to wait a bit for that). I frequently observe a kind of impersonal detachment, especially with business users beginning to use social and I believe a lot of it is sub-conscious. I'd like to theorize that this impassionate state may even have something to do with the users emotional detachment from their nonreactive equipment and user interface. I only mention this because, this social detachment is one of the biggest causes I see of business not being social in social, inevitably leading to dismal results.
Be Modest, be real. Grandstanding and showing off includes, but also goes a step further than just self-promotion, and all of these are not popular anywhere. Show us what you can do, don't talk about it. That might go over well at some exotic cocktail party, but where everyone is sitting in front of the Internet with the knowledge of the world at their fingertips, it just doesn't cut the mustard.



ⓟ Media - Learn to master the media platforms you need to reach your goal.


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Learn to master the media platforms you need to reach your goal. You know about Google+, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Linked-in, but how much do you really know about them? There are so many technical details that when learned to use properly, can increase your efficiency and effectiveness many times over. There are also many more useful social platforms as well, depending on your particular industry and needs.
Then there are blogs and blogging applications galore, which have become more and more integrated with the social platforms, to the point that they have become an almost inseparable part of the experience. I would like to suggest that you spend a little time each day learning about the technical aspects that can help you use your time better and reach your target audience in more ways than you thought possible.


ⓠ Optimization - Technically optimize; target content, keywords, integral to SMO.


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Technical optimization is and will still continue to be an integral part of SMO. Evaluating target audiences, product and market reception, researching target keywords, making plans to effectively incorporate this knowledge into your content creation, to give you the competitive edge you seek, is all just a part of the technical aspects to be considered if you have specific goals you wish to accomplish. You could spend all the time in the social media you want, but if you don't know exactly what it is you're doing there and where it is that you're going, your efforts will be futile and you may find yourself wandering aimlessly without doing whatever it is you thought you were going to do.

This is another very broad topic and you may read the related topics below which I will be covering later.

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Reputation+ Engagement+ Authority+ Leadership+ Social+ Media+ Optimization

REALSMO

I saved the final 7 above till last for a reason, they are not only primary, but also my favorites of the SMO guides on which I themed and am debuting this all new SMO for SEO and Future Search blog.

Reputation - build your reputation as a reliable qualified source
Engagement - encourage more engagement, sharing & reciprocate
Authority - become a notable authority in your field of expertise
Leadership - harness originality & creativity, be a Thought Leader
Social - be social, find and engage sociable experts in your field
Media - know your social media platforms to maximize influence
Optimization - improve technical aspects to increase optimization




⑧ Authorship & Google+ is a royal romance, the marriage of Search & Social Media

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The eventual union of the two long running dynastic lines Search and Social Media, was finally realized in the royal marriage between the promising young heir apparent Arthurship and the captivatingly delightful socialite Goowen. These two would later come to be known more formally as Google Authorship and Google Plus, respectively.

Long had the autocrats of Search ruled their domain with unquestionable power, whilst the small kingdom of Social Media was governed by the will of the people. In time, the decadent kingdom of Search began to crumble as people flocked to the increasingly popular Social to find what they were looking for and not the answers they were told.

The kingdom of Social Media grew more and more powerful as everyone from the lowliest peasant, to the wealthiest merchants and eventually many of the lords and nobles of the land, moved to this wonderful new kingdom in search of a brighter future. Before long many began to wonder out loud what would become of the once great kingdom of Search? Who would there be left to rule over? The royal treasury would soon run dry, for none would be left to pay taxes, or even collect them? Surely the coffers would not be filled from empty fields and pastures?

Yet over in the land of Social fine treasures poured in from distant lands, wealthy merchants arrived daily on ships ladden with abundance from the furthest corners of the earth and exotic places unheard of. Soon there came a fear that all would not be well and the time of peace and plenty would draw to an end, as kings grew envious from lands beyond the great sea.

The great Queen Goowen of Social was more beautiful and loved than any who came before her. Many tales of her beauty had reached the wise King Arthurship and at long last he sought two unite the two kingdoms through a royal marriage that would bring peace and prosperity for all, for he had finally come to understand that it is the people who make a kingdom great and that he would rule for his people. Queen Goowen who adored him greatly, also understood that uniting their two kingdoms would bring the kingdom of Social the protection and knowledge they needed to ensure peace for her royal line for many ages.

At last these two great kingdoms united with as grand a royal wedding as had ever been seen, or heard of from the beginning of time, and the new age of unprecedented science, knowledge, art and wealth was begun, and they all lived happily ever after, until...

The great new dynasty of Authorship and Google Plus to be continued...


⑨ This is just my Pilot Episode, here's some of the related SMO topics coming soon.

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This Complete Guide to SMO for SEO and The Future of Search, is actually an in-depth Pilot Episode for a comprehensive series of articles I will be expounding on, covering all of the following closely related topics. My goal through writing this guide is to give you as complete a basic knowledge of this field as can be fit in a one time reading, in that respect this is a broad spectrum crash course of a depth that I do not believe you will acquire anywhere else in a single session.

  • Social Media Marketing
  • Viral Marketing
  • Customer Engagement
  • Online Identity Management (OIM)
  • Online Image Management
  • Online Personal Branding
  • Personal Reputation Management
  • Impression Management
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

  • Authorship and Relationship with Social Media
  • Semantic Search
  • PageRank and Google Search
  • PageRank in Google+
  • Google+ Optimization for SEO
  • Personalized Search
  • EdgeRank
  • TrustRank

So stay tuned for these important topics to see your business grow.


⑩ Let's travel 10 years into the future and see where Google Search is going.

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To end on an interesting note, let's watch what +Matt Cutts imagines in the future of Google:

Matt: I would expect Google to be... maybe not sentient, but pretty far along the path of being a good assistant.
I can imagine multimodal input: Maybe you have a phone, but you probably have an ear piece, you might have some Google Glass... at that point you have augmented reality, not just a video overlay. A lot of great sensors, so... voice input... in theory there could be a brain interface, so you could be having a dialog where some of it is audible and some of it is not...