A very good and interesting article by Ben Elowitz on PaidContent.org today on why a past emphasis on SEO should begin shifting to what he calls SMO, or “social marketing optimization’ for content producers. I’ve been thinking along these lines for a while now as I see publishers struggling with formating their site for search engines versus writing it for people. High bounce rates from search traffic going into content is a well known issue and, I think, it’s partially due to an over reliance in site design on what’s best for Google, not what’s best for audiences. It’s also the nature of the medium: searchers want an answer, not a full blown reading experience.
Here at Outbrain we talk a lot about how there needs to be a movement for DEO– or discovery engine optimization– which will soon be more important than SEO. This is probably our version of Ben’s newly coined “SMO”. In the content world, what’s important is constructing quality content in a way that helps people discover it in areas where they are in read mode: Facebook and twitter are certainly part of this landscape, as are other peer publishers and bloggers who will happily link to quality, interesting content (and who are heedless of keyword games used to fool bots). After all, how do people search for great content on a search engine if they don’t know it exists? They can’t. Search provides wonderful answers to specific questions but it is not the place people go to find something fresh, new and interesting.
Nice post Ben, looking forward to reading more.