There is a craze that started not long ago known as social networking. Social networking sites go by names like MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Linkedin. These sites allow Internet users to share what they have and what they know with others. They can share links, content, opinions and advice. Using social networking to expand the business or personal contacts and bring in web traffic is also known as social media optimization (SMO). SMO can also be a useful tool for enhancing a site’s search engine optimization (SEO).

A big advantage of using social networking to enhance SEO is because it is free. Let’s face it, as a business you look for the most effective ways to advertise while keeping your costs down. Social networking is popular because it is mostly free. These include the social networks previously mentioned as well as others. The only thing that costs is your (potentially wasted) time.

Know how to use social networking to get the word out to your target market. If you have a local product or service, you obviously would not want to waste time targeting people worldwide. By using social networks to find others in your region and with the same interests, you can effectively get your message out to a specific target market. For example, there is a service known as Twellow ( that is like a Twitter yellow pages. It allows you to register and list your business in a directory of Twitter subscribers. You can list your business in a specific category where someone can follow you by finding you in your service area. How does this relate to SEO? Instead of focusing on competitive keywords for a wide geographical area, you will use them in a targeted manner. A combination of Twitter and Twellow allows you to get the link popularity for your region and niche which will ultimately get you higher rankings on SERPs as a result of the targeted keywords that you use.

Keep your blog relevant to your product or service. Blogs are an important facet of social networking, especially if you allow others to comment. Remember that you want people to come back to your website and one way to do this is to provide interesting, up-to-date, and relevant information. However this doesn’t just help create inbound links which is good for SEO. Your blog, if written with relevancy to your niche, helps others to respect you as an expert in your field. A way to find topics of relevancy is to go to Google News and see what is popular and trending in your business area.

You build trust and can study your target market by joining groups and making contributions.  What business entities usually do is make contributions such as articles to directories in order to give others in the community something useful. They announce their articles on social networking sites. Making contributions serves several purposes. First, it allows you to build respect as an expert in your niche area. Second, the process of building respect also builds trust. Third, it allows you to see what interests others in group have as you read their comments. When you get a feel for the demand, you’ll be better able to target your promotions.

Search engines check the social networks which helps a site’s SEO. Popular social media networks rank high in the Google index and therefore get checked regularly. While there may be some debate as to the value of the backlinks to your site from the social media sites, they are still valuable in terms of making them available for someone to click. As far as indexing is concerned, there are other factors to consider when talking about social networking. For example, with Facebook, if a person’s profile page is not public then the links on that page will not get read by the Google indexing crawler thus you would have to ensure the profile is public.

Don’t rely only on SMO. Traditional SEO strategies are still as important. Search engines are adapting as quickly as possible to the social media trend but there is nothing to replace good page design and relevant content focused on popular keywords.

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