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Like it or not, sites like Digg, Facebook, Flickr! and the such will be around for awhile. As the wise man at the hot dog stand would say: “Get ’em while they’re hot!” Statistics show increasing numbers in social media, which means larger audiences, better resources, and no signs of these highly active sites dwindling. Of course, all this information is useless if you lack the networking skills.

One might argue that social media sites have a characteristic to not last over a period of time. This is true, however, as the short history of SM has shown us, when one site falls another will rise, and with greater numbers. One of the greatest examples of this is Friendster > Myspace > Facebook. I should probably clarify that all three of these sites are still around and functional for members to use, however, looking at the history, one can see a wave which once peaked at Friendster, then Myspace, and is now peaking with Facebook.

One might also argue that social media sites are only beneficial for personal use, not for businesses. Most SM sites do generally target personal users, but there is really only one quality needed for social media optimization – networking. Businesses are made up of people, and people network all the time. Someone from your business can take it upon themself to share their knowledge with a given community, and as a result, spread the word. Forget what anyone has to say directory listings – quality link building is the foundation for SEO, and networking on an SM site can accomplish this naturally. I should point out, however, that many sites frown upon the use of their sites as link-building tools, so ethically speaking, you should only utilize these sites if you plan on interacting with the community as any other user would, and linking only to pages on your site that are relavant to topics of discussion.

Some would say that it would be a hassle to maintain multiple social media profiles just to build a few links. Why spend all those hours making and optimizing profiles when you can buy links? The key is targeted traffic. Buying links is not only unethical, but there is no guarantee as to the quality of these links. It may seem like a good deal to get a bunch of links at a low price, but it’s just a waste of money. A few links from a few good blogs will do far more for your natural search than an infinite number of random links from irrelavant sites containing nothing but links. And part of having blogs post about your site is networking with them.

One aspect of social media that one would never argue is the fact that it’s free. Sure, certain sites will offer a “premium membership” for a small monthly or yearly fee, but this will rarely, if ever, be any more useful for SMO than the basic free membership. This makes SMO a powerful tool not only because millions upon millions of people will be using it based soley on the fact that it is free, but because it costs you nothing more than the time you put into it, or if you don’t have the time to put into it, the fees you would pay your Internet marketing firm to utilize it.

Most people know that Adwords is a valuable marketing tool, but some are still concerned about using it, based solely on misconceptions of how it works, or what it actually does. Here are some of the more common misconceptions concerning Google Adwords.

Believe it or not, many people think that Adwords is an auction, and that top bids get top spots. This would mean that only the top businesses in each niche would have a change to make an impression, let alone a sale. This line of thinking would be sure to scare away small businesses, but lucky for them, Google Adwords cares more about providing relevant search results than awarding higher bids. Sure, most cases will require you to bid a bit higher on more competitive keywords, but there is more factored in to the price you pay per click. The relevance of the keyword to your ad and the destination page, to name a few. The key here is to focus on you keyword list, and worry about adjusting bids later. There is no need to create a massive list of keywords just to direct a large amount of traffic to your site – this will actually lower your quality score and force you to pay more per click on these keywords, most of which will not render any sales.

We’ve had a lot of clients that ask us to bid whatever is necessary to keep them in the #1 spot, and some times, this is the best strategy. However, you may be surprised at how often #2 or #3 spots will render more conversions than #1. This will be true more often for eCommerce sites, or sites in niches within which people will tend to shop around. If your target audience is the type to visit a few websites before settling on a purchase, being the 3rd or 4th result may be to your advantage, and chances are, you are paying much less for clicks, and therefore paying a lower cost per conversion.

Smaller businesses tend to shy away from Google Adwords, in particular, because the research they have done has shown that they cannot afford the cost per click of Adwords, versus competing PPC services. Usually, this is not the case, but there is a possibility that your niche would not benefit as well from PPC as it would from SEO or traditional marketing. The main things to consider are the average conversion rate within your niche, your maximum cost per conversion and your monthly budget. Sometimes, certain niches will prove to be a pointless investment, but consider this: Even if your research shows that you will break even, your campaign will generally improve, and it may be possible to achieve your desired ROI. The problem with most Adwords PPC campaigns that do not improve are those that are managed by the inexperienced.

This leads me to the final misconception, that most people think Adwords is easy to use. In all honesty, the interface and the concept are a piece of cake, but when it comes down to micro-management, bid adjustments, split-ad-testing, and so on, the best result will normally come from hiring an Internet Marketing Firm like Reciprocal Consulting to manage the campaign for you. Unfortunately, many find out too late that Adwords is not a cakewalk.

For more information on an Internet Marketing Firm that can provide your Google Adwords Pay-Per-Click services, please visit ReciprocalConsulting.com.