Last Tuesday my colleague Will and I attended the Denver sessions of the Search Engine Strategies Seminar. Will took in the On-Page Optimization class in the morning, while I attended the Social Media class in the afternoon.

The class was interesting in that the Social Media strategies were presented with the application being geared towards small businesses that were looking to do some Social Media work for themselves. Most of the people in the room, I would learn, were indeed from smaller business and were attending the seminar to try to get a grasp on how they could better position their own business in the online world. By the end of the class I myself had a better grasp of just how many companies need SEO outsourcing to enjoy all the fruits of the process while maintaining their sanity!

It was interesting watching the reaction of many in the class as they didn’t have much of an idea about what exactly Social Media entails. Some seemed overwhelmed as our instructor, Liana Evans of Search Marketing Gurus, went through the material and all the time and energy it really takes to effectively utilize Social Media in a way that is beneficial to a business. I on the other hand already had a good grasp on the time and effort part, since Social Media is something we utilize for each of our clients as part of our Link Building service.

As the Social Media explosion continues, there is little doubt that the days of simply getting by with on page optimization and pay per click to obtain top rankings are over. It is not just “computer people” using these Social Media sites- it’s everyday people. It’s not just computer centric businesses that need a solid Social Media strategy- it’s attorneys, homebuilders, and doctors. Even traditional PR firms need to harness the power of Social Media to supplement their existing business structure.

At first I was a bit disappointed that the session was geared towards individual business as opposed to an SEO company. However as I reflected on the afternoon and my conversations with others in the class, I think I came away with a better understanding of just where business owners are on the Social Media map. They know they are in the right place, but need a compass and a guide that knows what they are doing to make sure these businesses have a customized Social Media strategy to suit their specific business. For many, I could tell, the best way to effectively accomplish this will be to utilize Social Media as part of their SEO programs.