I reconnected with a childhood friend recently on Facebook whom I haven't seen for nearly 30 years. That's happened a few times recently, and it always makes me feel like I'm in a time warp, because "Facebook," wasn't even a concept back then. So, she asked what I'm doing now, and one of the things I mentioned was SEO/SMO.
"Can you explain what you mean by SEO/SMO? I looked it up online, but I'm unclear on the concept," she wrote back. I think I may have gotten a little overenthusiastic in my reply to her, because I haven't heard back from her. I now understand that a Facebook exchange probably wasn't the best venue for sharing my excitement about the importance of what I'm learning about search engine and social media optimization. So, I'm going to break it down into smaller chunks, and blog about it this week. Perhaps this will find its way into the feed readers of folks who are currently seeking the information, and be a future reference for WebRevelation readers.
What is SEO/SMO?That stands for Search Engine Optimization / Social Media Optimization. In a nutshell, it's helping people get their websites, research, stories, and names to the front page of the search engines.
I became interested in this when I started back to school in 2002.I began to notice that students were relying mostly on the search engines (more than the libraries, or any of the sources we used to use) for research, and that most of the stuff that came up on the front pages of a "Google" search, or a search on any of the other search engines (Yahoo, AOL, etc.), was mostly junk - it was inaccurate in many cases, full of propaganda in others.Increasingly, the news media, educational institutions and the general public were getting their information from these search engines.Yet, the much of the information readily available there was worthless.
So I set about learning how to "fix" that.It took a long time, but eventually I learned that there was a strategy that internet marketers were using that they referred to as "search engine optimization" that helped them get their websites to the front pages of the search engines.Mostly, at that time, this was done on a competitive basis, and for profit.Either the websites were selling something, or they were sharing information, but making money off the advertisements on their websites.
I started learning their strategies, and applying them to my own blogs.I practiced, and learned a lot through trial and error.I also learned a lot from a group of political activists that I became involved with before the last Presidential election...They were applying these same techniques to get their candidates' and political-activist websites to the front page of Google - some with more success than others.
Most recently, I've decided to concentrate on helping Christians, churches, pro-life groups, etc., use the search engines for outreach.Most of these places have websites, but they aren't fully taking advantage of techniques that are available to have a greater influence on the information flow - on our culture.
In upcoming posts, we will discuss the difference between SEO, and SMO, and how you can apply some very easy SEO/SMO techniques to your online activities to help make the information you have to share more accessible to your target audience.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is a trainer and tech writer in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. Her weakness is the mocha frappuccino.