10 Misconceptions Why SEO is Better than SMO Refuted
Some bloggers argue that conventional SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is better than SMO (Social Media Optimization) for average small businesses.
What’s the difference between search engine and social media optimization?
As I do not advocate a pure either or approach but rather the “SEO as a side effect” approach of SEO 2.0 I am not against traditional SEO altogether.
In fact my blog is called SEO 2.0 and not SMO whatever because I believe that SMO is just a as set of practices inside a larger discipline: SEO 2.0.
SEO for a social Web does not only consist of SEO of course. In case you would ask me for numbers I would say 70% social media and 30% search optimization.
On the other hand the time and effort spent on search compared to the hours spent for social media in SEO 2.0 I would reply 5% for search and up to 95% for social media.
Dealing with nostalgia
This does not mean that SMO is to hard to implement, it means that in SEO 2.0 you take standard SEO best practices for granted.
That said I still have to refute the points such pro SEO 1.0 bloggers voice. I respect them and often they are web and technology experts, practicing
- web design
- search engine optimization
and actively using social media. As a blogger they may have a good grip on the larger picture while
I sometimes am too much in love with my own niche of traffic generation.
I have the impression that bloggers who prefer old school SEO are driven somehow by a strange kind of nostalgia to the easy days of SEO.
Back when you optimized once, added some links from directories or link exchange and then you got traffic for an infinite time via Google and other search engines.
The change that social media brought can’t be ignored
The online world has changed in the recent years where popular social media sites and blogging have become omnipresent.
The new Web is still predominantly populated by bloggers, early adopters and Internet enthusiasts.
The John Doe webmaster uses, on the other hand, still a simple website if at all, and maybe has not even heard of terms like SEO so you won’t teach her or him SMO right away either.
It’s not impossible to succeed on the social web as a small business webmaster though.
The contrary is the case, you can compete with the big guys if you use the tools of Web 2.0 right. You get both direct traffic and as secondary effect the traffic via Google and the likes.
One blogger states that “99% of businesses will never benefit from Social Media or Social Networking” which he underpins with basically only 5 claims.
False claims about social media for small business
So let’s take a look at the main points, I have to narrow them to an easily digestible size:
Claim 1: Small businesses do not need much content, they need websites with 5 pages
In reality: Small businesses need the so called “long tail” to compete with the big guys as in SEO 1.0 in most cases you can’t outperform the big sites optimizing for the same main keywords.
Claim 2: Small business owners and employees are too
or not web-savvy enough to blog or engage in social media
In reality: Business people can very well explain what they do or report what happens in their industry. Blogging is as easy as checking web mail right now so what’s the problem?
In case they can’t blog themselves they only need someone to write for your blog three times a week for one hour, do you think you can afford that?
Claim 3: Small businesses dealing with or selling non-sexy products or services will never succeed on social media
In reality: this is a widely spread misconception, as if only Apple is allowed to push their products via all social media. Well, it’s not true.
When you look at Facebook you can be much more successful as a plumber there than as a SEO.
Just look at the many funny pictures dealing with toilets. I know plumbers are not all about toilets, but people love to laugh about them.
Claim 4: More than a few profiles at social media services are useless for small businesses
In reality: Ever heard the term reputation management? Do you prefer disgruntled clients or former employees slandering your business in the google top ten or do you prefer to control the first ten or twenty search results?
Just look up my “company” onreact or onreact.com in Google.com, I dominate the first 20 results for both!
Claim 5: Befriending people online does not make sense for small business owners or employees
In reality: Do you think email is a good way of communication? Why don’t you meet all your clients or at least call them personally each time you have a message for them?
The same applies to social networks an other online communities. Social sites are another way to connect with people. They make it easier to connect with people all over the world.
Key differences between SEO and SMO
Additionally I want to ad several key differences why SEO 2.0 techniques are better than outdated SEO practices:
1. When reyling on search traffic you’re dependent mostly on Google. You can get banned over night for no apparent reason.
Google employees or rather nameless algorithms can destroy businesses with a blink of an eye! Social media engagement drives traffic from many sources and via people not robots.
Even if one site bans you or goes down, the people you networked with will still know you and probably socialize with you elsewhere
2. With SEO you sometimes have to wait up to one year to see some good rankings as Google places you in the so called sand box filter for new sites. You optimize for a year and then see some effects.
With SEO 2.0 or SMO you’ll see traffic from day one, if done right. The links you gain via social media will push you in the rankings too so sometimes you’ll overcome the sand box much quicker.
3. In SEO you have to write long copy in a really boring repetitive style using keywords in such a way you rank well, so that people will get bored with your copy.
While in SEO 2.0 you write with passion for the people and you want to attract them right away, they love your copy.
4. Socializing on the Web is just another way of forging business relations with your existing business partners or new ones.
While you would never befriend an Australian living there while you’re in Europe in real life unless you work as a flight attendant you can do it with social media.
Did you ever befriend anybody at Google or Yahoo or search? You can’t even email someone if you’re rankings drop. Google does not care for small business owners.
5. While it’s utter bullshit most normal people assume that SEO is shady manipulation only somewhere along the spam you get via email.
At the end of the day many business owners are often very hesitant to even admit they practice search engine optimization.
In fact that’s one of the reasons why SEO has such a bad rep. You only notice the bad quality one as a normal user.
Nobody will tell how the New York Times optimizes it’s website. SEO 2.0 or SMO is out there in the open.
In a way it’s about showing off you and your business or company. You do not have to lie to your clients about it.
Do not depend on Google’s monopoly
I could go on like hat but I have to do some SEO work now, but I can convince more and more clients that SEO 2.0 with its set of SMO techniques is the better choice.
It’s also obvious to many more people why buying or exchanging links and dependence on the Google monopoly (95% market share in Germany by now) can amount to suicide sometimes.
I can convince them although blogging and social media are still underdeveloped in Germany with far fewer people actively participating.
Last updated: June 27th, 2017.
SEO is getting quite boring if you ask me, on every blog you look you see it, so only for that and I’d vote for SMO.
Both is important. For a large website, optimising for keywords and long tail can bring in tons of traffic. Do both I say.
I agree with David. Do both!
But why do months of link building when one link bait brings more of them within days?
[…] 10 Misconceptions Why SEO is Better Than SMO Refuted – Check out this great article from SEO 2.0. Tad responds to Wayne Smallman’s article touting the advantags of seo over smo. […]
Agree its not an either/or. But:
Linkbait for unsexy companies is hard, time consuming and difficult to implement right within the website; good optimised blogs about boring subjects take way longer than 3 hours a week to maintain (3 days?); reputation management is rarely a problem for small businesses; Google doesnt ban you if your white hat; good seo optimised copy isnt repetive and boring….
Also, lot of SM generated traffic isnt useful if you are selling products and not clicks.
So I would spend more time on seo.
SEO extends more than link baiting. Its includes meta tags, urls etc. Alot could be done on the site internally to get high rankings in google.
I would not like to sacrifice any opportunity to get hits. No! You need to try all routes.
Interesting points Tad, you make a lot of comments that people seem to have forgotten now they are in this ‘social media bubble’
Hi Tad, there was so much to be said in reply, a comment simply wouldn’t do.
Also, I find it saddening that you chose to paraphrase me inaccurately in such a way as to discredit me.
A lively discussion is one thing, but to bad-mouth me publicly isn’t really what I consider sporting.
You really can’t build any kind of cogent argument around such things.
I have an article prepared for Monday which meticulously puts to rest your every claim and counterclaim…
Wayne, I did not bad-mouth you. I just made your points more clear and added the common prejudices.
Also remember that your articles do not really deal with what I said, but with a skewed impression you got.
For instance I wrote about outdated SEO practices like meta tag optimization and you made me say “SEO is bad”.
In comparison my article at least attempts to parapharse your points while you just took your general interpretation of my article without even going into detail.
Last but not least you know that I am passionate writer and an emotional person who does not stick to understatement but often simplifies certain aspects to be easier to understand.
Also I’m kind of disappointed with your reaction as you started this controversial discussion with accusing me of “misleading” the public while I haven’t disrespected you at all. The contrary is the case. There is a whole parapraph dealing with you and what an expert you are:
“That said I still have to refute the points Wayne voiced. I highly respect Wayne, he’s in my CLIQ and he is an web and technology expert, doing web development and design, blogging, SEO and actively using social media. As a blogger he has a good grip on the larger picture while I sometimes am to much in love with my own niche oftraffic generation.”
If you can’t stand people refuting your claims do not engage in discussions in the first place.
I am curious to hear more detail on how the local plumber can use Digg to his advantage. I get the whole reputation thing and residual SEO benefit, but from a resource allocation POV I wonder if there aren’t much better online marketing tactics that would be better for getting that plumber in front of a more qualified audience. It seems pretty unlikely, unless the plumber was going for a SEO play with Digg, that someone in the plumber’s service area who also was in need of the service would find them via Digg. And if you’re just using Digg for a SEO play then there are plenty of other alternatives.
What say ye?
I agree. You have to do both. As a web designer and small business owner any opportunity to increase traffic to your web site is golden as long as it is the right traffic and it is targeted traffic. A good SMO and SEO campaign can do just that.
Local SEO/Andrew: Just a short reply. Especially businesses targetting certain areas can benefit from SEO 2.0 methods including SMO. You don’t need Digg to do that. You can use several Web 2.0 services to push your position in Universal Search and Google local results and be found directly via those.
I would have to strongly disagree with you on the SMO importance. It most definitely depends on your niche as to how effective it is.
Golf for instance is horrible for SMO! I say this strongly as I have done DIGG, Netscape (Propeller), Twitter and others with minimal success.
Why? My market does not frequent these social sites at all. My market the 60 year old golfer doesn’t even know about DIGG, Twitter, Propeller, etc…!
I wish it were different but it isn’t. So SEO is the BIG deal for that market still.
Please prove me wrong :)
In SEO 2.0 methods like SMO do not only work directly but indirectly too. So you get on Digg and get linked everywhere and thus you rank better in Google.
I’m no SEO expert, but I’ve got thousands of phrases that place in the top ten for google. I get about 1500 visits a day, nearly all from the engines. I think the primary reason I rank well is because my webdesigner set me up to ping everybody in the world (slight exageration) every time I post.
I don’t get alot of traffic from the social media sites – less than 5%, but I do think having all the profiles is the other thing that has helped me with my search results.
I’m working on an analysis at http://www.squidoo.com/top-ten-results-with-google/ and you can visit my site at http://thingsyoushoulddo.com
I’d be interested to see if you think my instincts are correct.
ps. if you know any good european english language travel bloggers send them my way, I’m looking for a correspondent.
You just cannot be serious?
I’m thinking you failed at REAL SEO, right?
Are you going to allow this post or don’t you like someone who disagrees with you in “every” way possible?
Oh, and further:
If you think for one second that real seo consists of “linking” and meta tags, you never learned how to do real SEO to begin with.
If I want my clients to generate traffic for traffic’s sake, I’ll hire you to get me Stumble traffic. If I want to get targeted referrals for my clients that might actually buy something, I’ll hire me. In other words; “generate good ROI”.
What’s your problem man? That I rank at #5 and #6 for your name in Google.com ? Who failed in SEO? You probably even don’t know what repuation management is!
Nonetheless this time you are at least brave enough to bring up your concerns where it matters and not hiding in your forums.
It’s exactly why I advocate SEO of the 2.0 kind because I got bored of the tedious, inefficient and obsolete methods like “link building” I had to practice for years while now the links come to me almost by themselves.
I got 16 “authority links” from weblogs in the last 3 days alone. In the last ten days my Technorati authority went up by 40 and my blog was featured 3 times on Sphinn.
Don’t tell me about ROI. I’m the avantgarde of ROI! Indeed my full name is Tad ROI Chef. While the usual suspect SEO will sell you link building I will a blog or site does gain links by itself. It’s like the GMO food industry who does want to resell the poor Indian farmers the seed each year.
I plant the truly natural organic seeds that will flourish as full fledged trees even after I’m not there anymore to earn money on you by link building.
I will review the book “Web Design for ROI” soon so then I’ll tell you about ROI.
But do you know what? I’m not angry at you anymore. I even plan to include your site in the follow up of
so be polite any play by the rules of SEO 2.0 – community, respect, cooperation and it’s a win2win situation.
Oh good. I have more sites coming up on my name now in Google. I like that PR Tad, so thanks!
But again; you actually seem to think that SEO = link building or meta tags or something like that. That is just blatantly false Tad. Totally false. You really should actually read in my forums when you get the chance to learn what real SEO actually is.
BTW: I know that it’s really not your fault as to why you think about SEO like you do. I understand totally about the utter lack of real teaching that goes on out there. I also understand about the totally crappy “so-called” SEO’s out there and what they offer and what they believe SEO is. Too many sites out there offer up “submission” and “linking” as their service offerings. It’s no wonder that people think that is what SEO is.
Do you know the date of when I last submitted a site anywhere? I can’t even remember when. It might have been back in the day of the “Infoseek” search engine….maybe 1997 ?
Let’s make some kind of truce; If you stop equating SEO to SMO, I’ll stop calling you out on it… ok? The reality is they are two very different types of “internet marketing”. Very different. They are not similar in any way. SMO is also “not” a part of search engine marketing either. SMO is a part of internet marketing.
Equating SEO with SMO is like equating SEO with email marketing…. just isn’t any comparisons to be made as both are very different forms of marketing.
I believe both methods (Tads Seo 2.0 and SEO in the traditional sense) should be employed if suitable to the website business. I don’t believe one is better than the other. These methods would compliment each other.
I don’t believe they compliment each other at all. I see a bunch of self-promotion within the industry that doesn’t look pretty in any way. I have to believe that a site selling real products like lights or jewelry, etc would look silly bouncing around from digg to reddit to stumpleupyours, etc. Not very professional looking if you ask me. I also see almost zero benefit SEO wise as well.
My teen-age daughter use to love myspace with all her “friends”….. with the word friends being used loosely, and now she also thinks it’s childish to play with. I think so as well.
At all: I’ll write a follow up on this, at least one ;-)
So be prepared!
[…] pre-social media days, webmasters wrote and optimized content for search engines. Now things are different. Traditional SEO has got a competitor: which is SMO (social media optimization). Social media […]
@ onreact: When will the follow up be released? I’m anctious to read it.
While it’s utter bullshit most normal people assume that SEO is shady manipulation only somewhere along the spam you get via email. So business owners are often very hesitant to even admit they do SEO. In fact that’s one of the reasons why SEO has such a bad rep because you only see the bad one as a normal user and nobody will tell how the New York Times optimizes it’s website. SEO 2.0 or SMO is out there in the open. In a way it’s about showing off you and your business or company. You d not have to lie to your clients about it. so it s great to read.