Social Media Optimization: Search Will Lead to Sociability

Rohit Bhargava of Ogilvy recently posted on "5 Rules of Social Media Optimization" and his effort was further riffed on by folks like Jeremiah Owyang and Lee Odden.

With nearly 2 weeks now passed (sorry, Rohit!), I would not try to add further value in the form of additional "rules" to consider for Social Media Optimization. I’d be out of my depth compared to Rohit, Jeremiah and Lee, anyway. But, I was struck by how "simple" many of these rules sounded — not simple as in, "Anyone could think of that!" but simple in terms of deployment.

It shouldn’t be all that hard to "increase linkability", "make tagging and bookmarking easy", "encourage the mashup", etc., yet, as I was explaining these concepts to a colleague, she sighed and reminded me that many of our clients have (her words), "lame-ass websites and cruddy online pressrooms."

In other words, the majority of companies still aren’t doing the basic stuff very well.

Still, as a "Bleeding Edger" myself, far be it from me to suggest that this lack of savvy is a deal-breaker for SMO. Actually, I think that SMO may become one of the leading reasons that corporations adopt Social Media’s tenets and tools. Why?

Even though many websites are still "lame-ass," the Corporate Marketer is now awake to the fact that SEARCH is the key to successful dealflow online. They now spend Big Money on SEO and SEM. Thus, if SMO is positioned as yet-another-way to guarantee that the greatest number of eyeballs find their corporate site, I think most marketers will embrace and allocate budget to SMO principles. In the process, they may even discover that " is not a porn site", "Technorati is not a gadget blog" and "Second Life is not about your midlife crisis." If the work of Social Media Optimization leads clients to such basic revelations, things will get really interesting.

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Posted on: August 22, 2006 at 1:11 am By Todd Defren
5 Responses to “Social Media Optimization: Search Will Lead to Sociability”


  • Todd,
    Great take on SMO. I wonder how long it will take major corporations to embrace SMO. I work for a Fortune 100 and they are barely starting to take notice of SEO.

  • david weiner says:


    I agree with your last comment and appreciate this post immensely. Everyone in PR is able to participate in and advance their client’s message via SMO, whereas SEO is often relegated to the geeks that speak another language. Once people understand sites like Digg, Delicious, etc., they will, in turn (and time), understand how to utilize it.

  • Todd Defren says:

    You guys make good points about how SMO will find its time. I think the good news for SMO is that it is less about “rocket science” (and for now, less dependent on outside influences like Google’s cryptic algorithms) than SEO.

    When SMO’s time comes, I think it will come easier and faster than SEO.

  • Lee Odden says:

    Great insights Todd.

    What are being called “basics” seems a bit subjective since so many web developers are still clueless on making SEO friendly web sites.

    For whatever reason, SEO is difficult enough for many web designers and the idea of SMO flies overhead. At least for now.

    The good news is that if a proper SMO strategy is implemented, the tactics will reap rewards in the social search/media context as well as SEO.

  • Rohit says:

    Todd – Great thoughts on this, I was looking forward to reading your take on it. As you note, clarity and attention to the basics is often what’s missing. There was a time when simply having a website was reason for celebration. Then it was banners and keyword ads that drove traffic. Now it’s all about helping people find and share your site with others. As that goal rises in importance, so will SMO.

Show some social media love would ya?

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