We’re willing to bet you know at least enough about SEO to be dangerous; it’s probably more likely that you know a bit more, but for the purposes of this post we think it’s safe to assume that everyone is competent enough in the basics of a 20-year-old practice. But as with everything that is digital, we’ve seen evolutions of SEO and other strategies, and expect to continue to do so for as long as the internet exists. However, with that being said:
SSO is unofficially but nearly officially Social Sharing Optimization, and it’s the process by which content is configured for distribution across prominent social media channels.
SEO revolves (in part) around the strategic implementation of targeted keywords; SSO is all about facilitating the sharing of content to Twitter, Facebook, and other popular social media channels.
About five years ago, Facebook created an open source project which later became known as the Open Graph protocol. Simply put, Open Graph works much like meta tags for search engines in that it allows web content to surface in a social graph as a rich object. In other words, it’s a way for a website to tell a social media platform how information should display without having to rely on metadata that might not otherwise render properly.
The difference in what a content manager should include in meta tags versus open graph tags is to remember that search engines want keywords, and social media site users want calls to action. The user is already on a social media site, he or she will scroll past your post regardless, but whether or not this person clicks and/or goes on to share will be a matter of how clever the copy and how visually appealing it is.
Considering the average American spends about 20% of his or her time online exclusively on a social media site, there’s a huge opportunity for brands to foster engagement and drive traffic to their respective websites. Here’s what you’ll want to do to make sure you can start optimizing for social search:
In the event that you use a content management system such as WordPress, you’re in luck; there are plugins that you can easily download and implement. We’re fans of Yoast, as not only does it provide awesome SEO tools, but integrated Open Graph tags for SSO as well.
If you use another CMS or a custom-developed platform, simply see your webmaster or IT professional. He or she will be able to add a few lines of code to your site that will provide similar functionality, or find the plugin that’s right for your website.
While fairly new to us digital strategists and practitioners, there are some front-running best practices with which you’ll want to familiarize yourself.
Different social media sites have vastly different users and interests; the content that you include in open graph will determine the success or failure of your SSO efforts. A bit of research now will assist you in understanding how to compose socially optimized content later.
Again, we can’t stress the CTA enough. Your content will be competing with Aunt Cindy’s post about meatloaf and that annoying retargeting ad from those shoes you clicked on two weeks ago – your title, description, and accompanying image need to be enticing and accurate. Consider using #hastags, unique images (such as memes), or UPPERCASE (sparingly, nobody likes a loud-talker) to draw the eye.
Each social media platform has its own requirements for character count. Additionally, you’ll need to test and find what works for both desktop and mobile devices. However, unlike meta tags for search engines, you won’t be penalized for omitting information (such as a description) or not including keywords in the title. This means that you really can find what works best for you and your brand.
And of course if you have any questions about SSO, SEO, content or digital strategy, we’re here.