SEO has been a part of our world for many years now, same for SEM – both efforts solely geared for attracting traffic to your website from the search engines. One way through organically ranking for different keywords, the other by bidding for text advertisements that shows up for different keywords (most commonly known as pay-per-click). And now, a third very important technique to deliver new visitors to your site and that's SCO – Social Connection Optimization (the acronym isn't mainstream yet, so we just sort of made it up). In a nutshell, it's designing your website so that it is easily connected to all the major social networks, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

User data is coming in more and more frequently now and more studies are being conducted these days about how and why people are finding websites. In the past, they either remembered the domain name, they searched a term on a search engine or they clicked a banner ad or maybe a link on another site. Today, the social networks are sending more traffic to websites than ever before. And it's at such a point now, that website owners who optimize their site for users to share information among their friends, or even discuss items about the website are winning the game today and setting themselves up for even greater success down the road.

Think about how much information we are exposed to on daily basis. And how much a friend or colleague's advice or suggestion influences your decision about where to shop, what to eat, where to go this weekend, etc. That's what's happening more and more on the web with social networking growing at its rapid pace. Connectivity with circles of influence has never been easier and people are changing they way they absorb information – instead of sorting through all the advertisements and news stories on their own, they wait for the filter that is their social network.

This means that Social is the next Search and it's an opportunity for the quick-minded website owners to reconfigure some of the ways they do business online. Not only should you use the search engines and click-thru advertising to drive traffic to your website, engaging and connecting with the social communities is just as important and vital to your future success.

Three things to do for SCO

  1. Add the appropriate social connections to your website. Facebook Connect, Twitter sign-in, and LinkedIn links are easy tools to add – but they aren't the only ones and many others are available to add. This may require high-level technical knowledge because of the use of API's, so be prepared for that and use our team at lifeBLUE for tasks like these.
  2. Continually make improvements and adjustments to the social usability on your site. Provide your site visitors with the tools to share your content with their social network. Let them sign-in to your website with their social accounts, avoiding an entirely new registration process.
  3. And as always, study the data. Dig into the analytics and identify the best social communities that are working for you along with the areas of weakness that can be improved. Interact with the social networks and have a solid grasp on how much of your site's information is being shared and really understand your own success – identify the things that you are doing that is translating into social networking GOLD … and keep it up because these social sites aren't going away anytime soon.