Online social media marketing methods often hold benefits for SEO (Search Engine Optimization), especially when companies intentionally combine these two strategies.

Social media based SEO marketing improves search engine rankings, increases immediate link-based traffic, and helps to expand public awareness of a specific brand or product.

Some potential venues to combine SEO and social media marketing include social networking (MySpace), the comments section of blogs, social bookmarking sites, and micro-blogging services like Twitter.

Each of these systems will yield a significant promotional benefit, but only when the marketers carefully avoid “spam” and other blatant sales tactics.

Let’s suppose a company has introduced an unusual new service that is not available anywhere else, and now wants to increase the awareness of it among Internet users.

It could combine social media and SEO marketing by submitting links on social bookmarking sites (Reddit, Care2, Digg, etc.) to an article on its website about the service.

If people “upvote” the link mentioned above, they will appear on more important pages of the bookmarking services as well as provide an increasing SEO benefit.

Some of these will be successful, while others are ignored. Either way, the submission of these links often helps a new web page become indexed in search engine results more rapidly.

Another way businesses and organizations combine these two forms of marketing is to operate their own blogs, MySpace pages, or micro-blogs.

On Twitter, for example, an interesting post may be “retweeted” by other users, enhancing its visibility and making the associated link appear on additional user pages across the site.

The marketing benefits can be magnified when social media content itself is optimized using SEO techniques.

A page on MySpace or Twitter, for example, will do more to promote a site if it uses keywords the correct way or has its own inbound links. A link posted to Digg or Reddit will help SEO efforts more if it has popular search keywords in its title.

Some methods to combine social media and SEO worked well in the past but have become less effective. Blog comment areas that have added the “nofollow” tag to their links are of little use to SEO, although they can still produce direct traffic. The same goes for Wikipedia links and most sponsored blog postings.

Although social media based marketing requires some time and effort, one major advantage is that it doesn’t directly cost any money. It has also been known to combing fast results with an effective and attention-getting format. These benefits will probably ensure that marketers continue to develop new ways to promote businesses and enhance SEO using social media.