What the heck is Self SEO and SMO and Why Do I Care?

A common belief or line of thinking is that  SEO is only for big brands and corporate websites competing in the ranking arms race on the search engines, vying for who is listed on the first page and who gets top honors for being #1.  That may have been true a few years ago, but advances in search engine technology and algorithms have changed this.  Social Media has also changed the landscape of SEO, search engine rankings, and results and led to the birth of SMO, Social Media Optimization.

So why is this important to you as an individual, professional, or small business?  Simple, the new search engine algorithms now index on content, relevance, and are more real time; plus the fact that the search engines now index Social Media such as blogs, blog comments, and even Tweets has democratized search results (at least for now).  Now even regular people show up in search results.  Granted you aren’t going to pop up on the first page against highly competitive key words where the big brands have spent millions to dominate the results; but you can turn up and rank highly on very specific results that are important to you personally.

Why are search results important to you personally or as a small business?  Simple, what is the first thing you do when you want some information, information on anything?  You probably go to Google and do a search.  Whether you are looking for an address, phone number, a how to question, a book, a movie, whatever… most of us go straight to Google and look it up there.  The impact of this to you personally and professionally is that Google, Yahoo, and Bing are now effectively your personal portfolio or a virtual resume.  Granted this may not be critical to some professions, but for others these search results could be the difference between getting the job or client or being silently pass over because your web-presence is underwhelming and unimpressive.

SEO and SMO have made search engine ranking and results a possibility for everyone, if you are willing to do a little bit of work.  By becoming active in Social Media you can turn up in search results almost immediately.  Some very effective ways to get started are by commenting on blog posts in your industry or area of expertise and joining some industry groups on LinkedIn.  If you are really interested and committed you can even start your own blog.  Even Tweets are showing up on Google search results which means you can use Twitter to get your name out and on the web.

All of the above is the positive side of this.  There is a downside and risk too.  The search engines pretty much index everything.  So if there is some embarrassing information on the internet about you it is bound to turn up in a search.  Even worse, if there is embarrassing information or negative information about someone or another business with a similar name, that will turn up too and can cause some real problems.  So it is important to manage your online profile and presence and the best way to do that is to actively be creating content under your own name that reflects who you are.  In fact, Alex (@geilt) discussed the consequences of identify confusion in his recent blog “Bad SEO- Government Escort Services” and what he had to do to clean up a clients search results.

If you are questioning the importance of your social media image and online presence, consider this a NY Times article cites a Harris poll that said 45% of employers are doing Social Media background checks and 35% have turned down a candidate based on the results.  I recently wrote a CareerXL.com blog on this, “Will Social Media Background Checks Turn Free Speech Into Secret Speech”.  Obviously your online image is now part of your portfolio and resume, whether you intend it to be or not.

Alex (Alexander Conroy, aka @geilt) and I (aka @own_your_future) will be blogging and Tweeting about how to develop and enhance your online presence and image, we will also be adding more content to the SelfSEO.com website and we are working on an ebook too.

As always, I wish you the best and brightest future

Bill Grunau aka @own_your_future

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2 Responses to "What the heck is Self SEO and SMO and Why Do I Care?"

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