The Rules to SMO

The term Social Media Optimization (SMO) was first ‘invented’ in 2006 by Rohit Bhargava when he released his five rules for conducting Social Media Optimization. Those rules are:

1) Increase you linkability

2) Make tagging and bookmarking easy

3) Reward inbound links

4) Help your content level

5) Encourage the mash-up

The list quickly grew after Bhargava shared his ideas with the world via his blog:

6) Be a user resource, even if it doesn’t help you

7) Reward helpful and valuable users

8) Participate

9) Know how to target your audience

10) Create content

11) Be real

12) Don’t forget your roots; be humble

13) Don’t be afraid to try a few new things; stay fresh

14) Develop an SMO strategy

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

Social Media Optimization can be a simple as embedding a “Digg This” button on your blog or as complex as spending time writing a piece of compelling linkbait. The right linkbait at the right time can bring inconceivable amounts of traffic to your site; or it could have no effect at all. You must remember that SMO is not guaranteed.

SMO can benefit companies in many different ways. It gives instant exposure and an influx of inbound links. Though there is always the possibility that these inbound links will be short lived and that those visiting your site are not creating conversions.

Some of the most popular social media sites include:

Digg

Del.icio.us

YouTube

Newsvine

Stumbleupon

Wikipedia

Flickr

MySpace

Reddit

Spurl

Sphinn

Facebook

Mixx

Furl

Technorati

Social media gives companies a way to gain visibility to their sites without relying solely on search engines. Even though SMO adds to your sites visibility, it is in no way a substitute for search engine optimization (SEO). SMO is another marketing tool that should be added into the mix.