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The future of SEO: Is Social Media Optimization a threat to Search Engine Optimization?
28th May 2011

futureWhen I came into the SEM (Search Engine Marketing) industry I was crazy about Search Engine Optimization & I studied as much as I could about it. I was immensely lucky that I got the most open-minded boss possible, who always encouraged me and gave me the freedom to experiment. I learnt a lot  by experimenting and exploring.

However  in the  last few months, a question has been nagging me, IS SOCIAL MEDIA A THREAT TO SEO??

Many of you would be inclined to label me as crazy for entertaining such thoughts. SEO after-all has been the backbone of the SEM industry, whereas SMO is a relatively new feature; so how can it threaten SEO?

According to me, Social Media has come of age, and today it has the potential to outdo SEO in effecting website rankings. Look  at Google itself; it has incorporated real-time feeds from various social media platform into its Universal Search results. It's an example of how the wind is changing, and Social Media is gaining more a more acceptance and popularity.

Website rankings are no  longer  about putting meta-tags and  link building. The ranking factors have expanded their horizons to include the Social Media too in its kitty. Today the number of 'Likes' a page receives, or the number of 'Tweets' it draws, significantly affect its ranking. The entire internet is gearing towards greater people participation, while in past being Search Engine friendly was enough; today the norm is to be 'Social Media Friendly' too. The adage 'Customer is King' has finally come of age in the Internet today. Search Engines give better rankings to pages that receive customer acceptance via likes/ tweets / social bookmarking etc.

So is this the end of SEO? Are all SEO'er going to perish like 'Dinosaurs'? Hey No!! I'm an SEO'er myself, and I'm just beginning to grow, I for one am in no mood to perish. So what's the alternative? ADAPTATION. Change is the only constant, and to survive in the changing scenario we SEOers too have got to change and adapt. SEO itself has evolved tremendously; from merely putting Meta keyword in website to complex three way link building.

Now it?s time for a revolutionary change, time for SEO  New version which is a combination of SEO+SMO.

As SEO experts, if you want to see your website on the top in Google rankings start involving Social media in your SEO activities, it's no more only a game of link building & Meta tags.

Frankly I was not a fan of Social Media myself, but the changing scenario has prompted me to start digging deep into it. As I have already mentioned above that Facebook sharing, likes and twitter tweets are affecting rankings significantly. Google has foreseen the future and apart from moving to 'Universal Search' it has also launched its new tool the '+1' concept of like, designed on the footsteps of Facebook 'like', this tool too is gaining popularity.

Its not just me, even the Veterans of SEO have started speaking more about SMO than SEO. Here are a few links to add weight-age to my argument:

 SEOMOZ- Facebook & Twitter influence Google Search Ranking

SEOMOZ - The next Generation of Ranking Signals

SEOMOZ - Great New Stuff

SEOMOZ - Google, Bing Confirm, Twitter Facebook influence SEO

And with that I rest my argument. Now here's a question for you: Do you still think SMO Is not a threat to SEO????

Waiting for your comments

Shashank

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