I wrote a couple of days ago how the war between the traditional search types (how funny to say that now, ten years on) and the new social media search evangelists. It’s been on the boil for a while, but search: social media optimization still only has 295,000 hit returns on Google whereas search:search engine optimization has – well gosh! over 30 million! – 30,700,000 returns. That imbalance will change soon. Notice the funny spelling of optimisation? :p
If you aren’t uptodate on the basic premise, it’s this. Search Engine Optimization: Using Google, will return you a large amount of hits on a keyword, based on Google’s AI. And Yahoo! search and MSN search don’t work that much different. At least for the purposes of this exercise. Google’s search returns are organic on the left hand side, and sponsored on the right. They are listed by relevance (what Google sees as relevant) and that relevance is based on the title you give your document, the content of your document (the stuff Google can read) and with some search engines, the MetaData tag (hidden description and keyword field) . Google counts how many outgoing links you have, how many incoming ones and the value of those links (the PageRank). And that’s about the limit of my knowledge but there’s tonnes of accurate and inacccurate stuff on the ‘net. Oh and one final detail, the returns in plain Google Search are based on relevancy not date. Unless you use Google Blog search.
Social network search or Social Media Optimization on the other hand is both easier and harder to do. What is social media optimisation and why is it important? Well one aspect of it is that every time you use your social network to search and not a search engine, you are performing a social media search. Think searching of a photo of me (ED:why?:p) on Flickr. Or Coke And Mentos on YouTube. Or clicking on a tag in del.icio.us or technorati. You have bypassed Google’s main search (though within site search maybe powered by them) and are relying on that site’s users (social network) to give you relevant information back. I often preface my search on Google with the target network for example wiki Social Media Optimization or Flickr “laurel papworth” to find the stuff from the social network I trust the most. Why do I go to Google instead of searching on the site itself? Well I have the Google Search toolbar installed, and I can’t be stuffed installing a bunch of toolbars. So while I am not doing a ‘net’ search, I am still using Google to manage my search. In other words, don’t worry, Google isn’t going anywhere soon.
Why not start with the Wikipedia page on search engine optimization to find out more? This page was started in August 2006 but the edits have gone through the roof this month (March 07). Oh and, as always with my posts, caveat emptor dahlings (i.e. do your own bloomin’ research! :p). Some clickety-clicks to get you started : Danny Sullivan at SearchEngineWatch Social Media Optimization: It’s Like SEO, For Social Sites and there is a featured discussion on “Social Networks and Vertical search” on their forums.
Oh and if you are desperate to become the search guru in this newish, hottish, area have a read of 5 Rules of Social Media Optimization (SMO) by Rohit Bhargava. Which has now increased to 17 (some naff) rules:
- Increase your linkability
- Make tagging and bookmarking easy
- Reward inbound links
- Help your content travel
- Encourage the mashup
- Be a User Resource, even if it doesn’t help you
- Reward helpful and valuable users
- Know how to target your audience
- Create content
- Be real
- Don’t forget your roots, be humble
- Don’t be afraid to try new things, stay fresh
- Develop a SMO strategy
- Choose your SMO tactics wisely
- Make SMO part of your process and best practices
- Don’t be afraid to let go of a message or idea and let others own it.
Or SMOMashup.com I might just be persuaded to join you – it’s a fun area!