Lee Odden

SES Chicago Social Media Optimization Panel

At the upcoming Search Engine Strategies conference in Chicago I’ll be sitting in on a panel about social media optimization. Panelists include Rand Fishkin, Neil Patel, Andy Hagans, Todd Malicoat and myself. The SES San Jose version of this panel included Chris Pirillo and Danny was nice enough to allow me on the panel. I am very much looking forward to hearing and participating firsthand with some of the top SMO practitioners.

At Pubcon in Las Vegas WebProNews did a great interview with Rand, Todd and I where we touch on the whole social media optimization and marketing topic. I won’t be giving a Powerpoint presentation at SES, but I will get few minutes to share my thoughts on SMO.

One the one hand, it’s a bit of a departure not being able to make a presentation as the audience does not get a structured sense of your credibility. On the other hand, you don’t have to prepare a presentation and get to slug it out with the other panelists to answer audience questions – possibly doing more than a PPT could to show you know your stuff.

In this regard, here are a few ideas that come to mind for companies and marketers when considering marketing with social media:

Active SMO – More aggressively drawing attention to truly unique and useful content with the opportunity of driving massive amounts of traffic. This typically comes as a result of first page visibility on social news and bookmark services such as digg, Reddit, YouTube, MySpace, Stumbleupon, del.icio.us, etc. Gaining first page visibility on popular social news sites also has the secondary effect of exposure on popular sites like Techmeme, popurl and other blogs and news sites that syndicate social news.

Passive SMO – A function of an ongoing process that incorporates social bookmarking into activities like online public relations. Example: using social bookmark services to organize URLs of online news coverage, encouraging press release readers to share that content with others and encouraging users to share other media such as podcasts, images and video. The intention is not to gain first page visibility on social news web sites as much as it is to reap the benefit of the collective effect of hundreds of shared links over time. Typically, each bookmark creates a static url that promotes the company brand name and in many cases, offers a crawlabe URL for search engine spiders fostering link popularity, ie “long tail” link building. Otherwise, the links provide opportunity to capture “long tail” link traffic.

SMO Spam – The increasing popularity of any kind of concerted promotion and opportunity for visibility will bring opportunists drawn to quick and easy results, through tricks and manipulation, ie spam. In previous posts about SMO spam and spamming social media, it has been my position that the communities taking part in the popular social media sites would be adequate in squalling any significant spamming activities. However, people like Nial Kennedy show that is not necessarily the case. I believe a combination of algorithmic and social “policing” is necessary to maintain good enough quality worthy of current participation levels.

If you will be attending SES Chicago, please consider sitting in on this panel as it’s top rated from SES San Jose and should be a great source of information on marketing with social media.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. I watched the WebProNews video – good stuff. I will also be at SES and look forward to this session.

    What is your view on large companies “encouraging” their employees to bookmark pages on their corporate sites? Or any planned effort to get a lot of bookmarks quickly. Could even be a school getting their students to bookmakre specific pages. Active SMO or SMO Spam?

  2. Arnie, as far as companies encouraging their employees to bookmark pages, I think it only make sense if this activity serves a functional purpose. For example, having people in the public relations department bookmark media coverage. Just having employees bookmark pages on the company web site does not serve any practical purpose unless it’s content that is worthwhile. Doing so only as a linking tactic would be SMO spam.


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