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There are plenty of excellent Internet marketing firms out there, but when it comes to newer forms of marketing, such as Social Media Optimization, few of them know the best way to carry out a successful campaign. The reason for this is largely based on the fact that SMO is rather young, but also because a lot of the sites that are kind enough to host users for free, are constantly guarding against their sites being utilized for such purposes. A good example of this is Flickr!, which I mentioned a few weeks ago. Cracking down on photostreams was their solution to the problem, but other sites like Digg and Stumbleupon may become trouble with friend adding. However, this is not due to the administration.

The key to any natural-search-oriented form of marketing is natural linking. If the links appear natural to the search engines, they will be more effective, and since we aren’t all so fortunate to have the support of the Internet from the beginning, we often must take it upon ourselves to spread the word, through relevant (and therefore natural in appearance) linking.

So, the key to utilizing Social Media sites for online marketing is also natural, however, natural to other users. Since the quality of internal links on a site like Digg depend on the users accepting requests to become friends or contacts, your adding of friends or contacts must first appear natural to the users. Having an incomplete profile, offensive content, or a low amount of activity is the best way to send out un-reciprocated requests. Focus first on building your presence, then your contacts, and lastly, quality, external links to your profile, as well as internal links to your site.

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