Being a website owner or just writing a blog, like I do here, seems to be getting scarier. SEO – “Search engine optimization”, SMO -“Social media optimization”, “Content is King”, the right content to the right audience … wow, it could be frightening and it sounds like a ton of gold. I am a programmer so I’m not so much into marketing as I am into coding and yet I’m a fan of this world of fluid interaction. Knowing it exists and the effects it has on your blog or site is a must.

Some time ago I wrote an article on Web 2.0 that I’ve submitted to digg. The traffic spiked up as I got another 500 visitors in a day. That has to get you thinking, especially if you are into making some money. Was that “social media optimization”? I think it was just a taste of it. It’s a hot buzzword that adds up to SEO and sounds like a lot of time required to be invested.
SEO is about clearing the way for search engines to fully index your site, as well as using keywords in your text as often as you can do so without making it unreadable to the “internet scanner”, which is the way most visitors read articles (I’m among them). Social media optimization is about allowing your visitors to take away your content. Say what?! Well, yes, your content has to be easily shareable and commented on, even if this means implementing only the “Digg This” button on your blog, like the one at the bottom of this post. Tough to explain to your CEO, this should be an objective as visitors usually link back to worthy content, as long as the content is accessible. Adding tags and a Digg button, “Add to del.icio.us” or Technorati chicklet are the least you can do and it’s virtually painless. You can use a neat service like the one provided by AddThis.

Don’t get too excited though, most of the articles submitted to digg will only get one digg, yours. It’s not a recipe for success; it’s a way to get noticed.

Getting on the front page of social media sites offers credibility and visibility and those sound good to a site owner. A nice article about their experience with one of their articles and social media is shared by Daniel Tynski in the Anatomy of a Super Digg where, within five days, they received a total of almost 234,000 unique visitors.

Tips and tricks on how to get there are everywhere as bloggers are trying to monetize on the subject (what a free marketing campaign for those sites, huh?) and here are a few I find really useful an easy to read:

 

 

A comprehensive article on Social Media Optimization outlining the “5 rules of social media optimization” by Rohit Bhargava gets the tough part out of the buzzword.

The effects
Usually short lived and the traffic is barely converted. Links may be coming in, though, from quality sites, and people will at least get your newsletter or subscribe to your feed. You need to get the initial wave of visitors and convert them. Very few blogs are enjoying a constant attention and most of them never get any hits at all.

Free training
One of the real benefits to blogging and applying SEO and SMO is the training it provides to creating readable and inspired keyword rich content, increase expertise and encourages a discussion. Using social media certainly gets you a free training on using tags, providing a clean and comprehensive image of yourself and gets the word out.

Get back on the horse
Social media is about real life and living people. Digg has a feature called “bury” so life can be bitter in those communities as well as it can be sweet. Success is totally dependent on participation, on engagement. Compared to Search Engine Optimization, Social Media is definitely demanding more time.

It’s the ham and eggs paradigm, where the pig is committed and the chicken is only involved, it’s up to you to determine where you stand.

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