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The other day I was reading a thread in a LinkedIn entrepreneur's group I belong to; a business owner was wondering where she could turn for help with search engine optimization and social media for her small business.

The first response suggested she'd need to talk to a couple different people as SEO and social media marketing were completely unrelated.

In my opinion nothing could be farther from the truth. Search engine optimization and social media are both powerful marketing tools for small businesses, but when you combine them they become even better: they're the peanut butter & jelly of Web marketing. Coordinate your search and social media campaigns you'll get more bang for your buck.

By performing a keyword analysis (an essential piece of any search engine marketing campaign) you'll discover what your prospects are actually searching for; it's a powerful form of market research. The keywords you uncover can then be used to improve any social media campaign you run.

Those keywords should be leveraged in your LinkedIn profile, your tweets, and in the title and description of your YouTube videos, just as some examples.

Keeping an eye on "emerging keywords" through Google Trends and Google Insights can also provide you great fodder for your social media campaigns, and can be sprinkled throughout your status updates.

On the flip side, your YouTube videos, you (and your employees') LinkedIn profiles, your blogs, your HubPages and Squidoo lenses, and other social media activity can show up on appropriate searches done by your prospects. The more well-optimized social media activity you're generating, the more opportunity you have to push your competition off the first page of a search result.

Search engine visibility is quickly becoming an archaic term. Online visibility is what small businesses should be striving for to build their businesses online. Although search will continue to be an important part of a company's visibility, given the constant flux in the search engine landscape, small businesses need to invest time and energy into social media as well.

Not only does SEO and social media go together like peanut butter and jelly—two great things that are better together—they also cover up for shortcomings in each other.

When flyte launched a brand new Web site for Alaska Fly Fishing Goods last year we knew that it wouldn't receive a lot of traffic from the search engines immediately. (New sites need time to build up trust at the search engines.) To counter this, we submitted the site to StumbleUpon—a social bookmarking site—in the flyfishing category. After a couple of weeks the site had received about six visits from Google users, but over 2,000 visits from flyfishing enthusiasts who use StumbleUpon.

Search and social media are essential parts of Web marketing for small businesses; throw in email marketing, a blog, a Web site that helps convert prospects into customers and analytics to measure your activities and you've got an unbeatable marketing strategy that will help your business grow for the long-term.

Rich Brooks
SEO & Social Media for Small Biz