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Social Media vs SEO

Social Media and SEO – Do Search Engines Still Deliver a Punch?

There’s been quite a competition between social media and SEO lately. The social media support group has been growing steadily throughout the months. And it’s no wonder.

Unlike some 6-7 years ago when the only kid in the blog was Facebook, we now have literally dozens of places to network, build relationships and to market our blogs and businesses…

And there comes a question that evolved from a post on my Facebook page that I shared – is social media turning into the better medium for finding prospects, creating leads and generating sales or do search engines still hold their ground with surges of highly relevant traffic?

That is exactly what I will try to answer in this post! Let’s get going!

Obtaining Backlinks Nowadays…

Backlinks… Although other factors such as using the right keywords or interlinking your posts play a role, as we all know backlinks are the lifeblood of any good SEO campaign.

Truth be told if you don’t have enough links, pointing to your blog, even the best possible on-site optimization might not get you the rankings you were hoping for.

And what’s the problem with backlinks?

Well there are several:

  • “Organic” backlinking is pretty much non-existent – People prefer to like and retweet, rather than link to a blog post within an article they are writing.
  • There’s no easy way to get those links – Methods such as submitting your site to directories or leaving comments on other blogs are not effective anymore (have they ever been?).
  • You need to spend a lot of time – One of the few genuine ways to obtain backlinks is guest blogging. Articles must be unique and that means that aside from your blog’s content, you need to find time for at least two-three articles for other blogs every month. Not everyone is capable of achieving this.
  • There are the big players – You can hardly beat the ones who were there before the social media era and who were able to get full benefit of link building back in the days. Since such blogs hold first page positions for many of the “hot” terms, you must focus on long-tail keywords, which requires extensive research.

Google’s Frequent Algorithm Changes

From one problem to the other… Algorithm changes – aren’t we seeing those far too often lately?

And although according to Google’s Matt Cutts, the idea comes down to satisfying the need of those who search, I am not sure if that’s really happening. Without doubt thousands and thousands of bad results were cleaned up from the SERPS with the last algortihm changes, but a ton of quality sites were affected as well.

Basically, in order to stay on top of Google’s game, a webmaster has to constantly adapt to all those “small” changes to how displaying results works. That means coming up with new ways to acquire backlinks, putting a lot of time into editing already published blog posts and all kinds of other tweaks.

Social Media and Quality of Traffic

Until I got my hands on social media, I thought that referral traffic wasn’t all that good and organic was the key.

Then I got into Twitter, I created a Facebook fan page, a Google+ account, filled in my LinkedIn details and it all started.

That was when I began changing my mind. As of now, Twitter is not only where most of my referral traffic comes from, in fact Twitter is responsible for almost three times more traffic than what search engines are driving to my blog.

Although it was only a couple of months back that I dug into Facebook and Google+ more seriously, numbers are pretty decent and constantly growing. The same can hardly be said about search engines, as numbers tend to fluctuate all the time. One day I see fifty clicks, the other day there are only a couple…

And what about quality?

Facebook probably gives me the most targeted traffic – low bounce rates and good time on site metrics. Twitter scores slightly lower and still not bad. In general metrics reveal that social media and SEO traffic aren’t that far apart in terms of “targeting”.

Social Media and SEO – the Verdict

I guess we can’t say there’s really a “winner” as to which traffic source ( social media or search engine optimization) is better.

The really good thing about social media is that getting into it, making new connections and converting all of this into basically what you want (i.e. the usual goals – traffic, subscribers, dollars) is all up to you. The only requirement is being present – day in and day out.

As for SEO – many say that once you get the wheel spinning, traffic is pretty much passive and you simply sit there and wait for it to come. When we talk about small blogs and sites however, keeping that flow of highly targeted traffic, requires constant link building, constant search for the best-performing keywords and a bunch of other daunting rituals. And in the end you can never be certain whether or not that article you optimized so well and linked to a couple of times will reach the elusive first page…

The guest blogging quest I started recently will be the definitive proof to whether or not link building is the way to go. And as hard as ranking on the first pages for the right keywords might seem, I’d strongly recommend you to cut the hesitation and start writing guest articles! They might just happen to prove more valuable than the content you publish on your blog!

After all in the blogging world it all comes down to trying, testing, failing and succeeding.

Final Words

So, all in all as far as my opinion on the social media and SEO topic goes, I believe that now is the time of social. Now is the time when being real, making connections with real people and proving that you can be trusted matters. Now however is also the time when you should put real effort towards achieving your goals and a guest post or two are definitely not going to hurt your reputation.

Now on to you guys!

Which one of the two plays a more important role in your strategy – is it social or is it SEO?

Which is in your opinion better at connecting people?

Let me know in the comments section!

Daniel Sharkov is an 18 year old student, marketer, blogger and a social media enthusiast. Make sure to check out Reviewz N Tips - the place, where he shares his insights and experience!

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{ 26 comments… add one }

  • Lei Broch April 2, 2013, 6:10 am

    I think both SEO and social media marketing are necessary to promote a certain business or website online.
    Lei Broch recently posted..Price Wars: What app prices really work?My Profile

  • Jennifer Cunningham April 2, 2013, 12:04 am

    Social media is here to stay in one form or another. I am not getting a lot of traffic from social media but I continue to find tune my efforts there. Thanks for the advice.
    Jennifer Cunningham recently posted..Send a Little Traffic RegularlyMy Profile

  • Rose March 23, 2013, 1:43 am

    Interesting post Daniel and certainly gave me some food for thought. In the past i have focused mainly on SEO and organic traffic, but with all the Google updates, one gets dizzy trying to meet supposed requirements. I had been dubious about going the social media route, but your post has given me a bit of a different perspective, so suspect I need to expand my horizons to include twitter, facebook etc.

  • Lalita Bisht March 14, 2013, 6:40 am

    In my opinion social media and SEO both are equally beneficial. We only need to utilize them in right manner. Besides of these things quality content is also important for a blog success.

  • noman March 12, 2013, 1:01 pm

    Hi Daniel Seems to be a perfect place to learn something new.. Here I can pick many things for my blog as I have recently created and its in progress. My blog is totally different from your blog. But still I want the admin to suggest me that how can I attract visitors to increase traffic on my blog. I would be really glad and any suggestions would be appreciated.

  • Sujit Dubey March 12, 2013, 6:32 am

    know you can not make fool to search engine each and every post is counting especially in social media where likes and share on different IP. Even Facebook is also regulating website url so it’s very tough to get thousand of like and search engine ranking….

  • Adil March 12, 2013, 6:20 am

    What a wonderful post daniel.

    All points you raised have some wight, however I am very much concerned about the ever changing google Alogrithm. I Believe that if after so hard work I am able to optimiza SEPR and then Google alogrithm updates moves me down so then it is not good return of my efforts. I would definately prefer to go with Social media and do efforts on it to get the real result of my efforts.

    Thanks.
    Adil recently posted..Social media policy – A Complete Guideline for every BusinessMy Profile

  • Tushar Thakur March 10, 2013, 12:28 pm

    Social media is a powerful tool make the blog successful but we should and we have also be more concern about the organic links to our sites as they are more good for a blog and to improve the organic link we to be care full in choosing the keywords……

  • Mike Smith March 9, 2013, 7:57 pm

    I agree with you. one of the things large companies do all too often is not listen to the customer. With Facebook we are hearing more and more disgruntlement from users, it’s only a matter of time before another ‘Facebook like’ comes around and will over time take over, that’s simply the nature of things. Everything is a cycle and everything has it’s day, and if you look at why big business crashes, its more often than not because they fail to listen to the people.

  • Jon March 8, 2013, 12:39 pm

    I think both work well. If you’re building an audience and monetizing from there, social media is great. The downside, which you mention, is social media requires ongoing effort.

    SEO is awesome for generating passive by targeting and ranking buyer keywords. It really can’t be beat. I wouldn’t solely do SEO, but it’s really good as part of overall traffic generation and if you can make it work, can be extremely lucrative … but it can be variable as search engines fluctuate big time.

  • Philip March 8, 2013, 10:03 am

    Hi Daniel,
    Well I can honestly say that I’m a huge fan of SEO. For me the traffic I get from search engines seems to be the most targeted. The on-site time and bounce rates from that traffic are great.
    But social media now plays a big role in SEO as Google is constantly tweaking the way it ranks websites so having a social media presence is also very important.
    I wish I had the time to start guest posting but for now all my time is devoted to writing articles on my own blog.
    Enjoy your weekend Daniel.Cheers.

    ~Philip
    Philip recently posted..Mastering the Art of Keyword Optimization and On-Page SEOMy Profile

  • Nishadha March 8, 2013, 3:06 am

    I think a combination of both will the be the way to move forward. I think you wont have success focusing on one thing only. Combining both should work just nice. The complement each other perfectly.
    Nishadha recently posted..free downloadable SWOT templatesMy Profile

  • Tayyab March 8, 2013, 2:31 am

    Social media and seo is the backbone of your blog now days and you are right there are frequent algo changes if we concentrate on our basics we can survive :)

  • Pat Drummond March 7, 2013, 10:19 pm

    I think it really depends on your blog and what you are trying to sell. I’m trying my luck with social media this time around and trying to create an ecosystem or ‘online word-of-mouth’ advertising. Although I still work through the old fashion back linking strategies, I truly believe social media will have a greater influence in the years to come.

  • Rashmi Sinha March 7, 2013, 1:59 pm

    Social media is the next big thing for sure. With Google making stringent rule to nab the black hat techniques, marketing on social method is safer and highly effective nowadays, all thanks to our virtual addiction.
    Thanks for this insight.
    Rashmi Sinha recently posted..What is Google Shopping ExpressMy Profile

  • Darnell Jackson March 7, 2013, 9:29 am

    Good post Daniel.

    People forget that Google after all is in business to make money.
    The most relevant LINKS are always their sponsored listings, this should tell you something.

    I alos have noticed on my blogs that referral traffic out performs SEO traffic anyway.
    Have you noticed SEO brings lower quality visits than referrals visitors from social media?

    Or is it just me?
    Darnell Jackson recently posted..Link Building: You’re Doing it Wrong pt. 3My Profile

  • akhilendra March 7, 2013, 7:45 am

    I think it’s also depends upon niche. In fact even within social media, different sites produce different results for different niche. I think facebook is slightly better for non-IM based businesses whereas Twitter is tilted more towards IM. But again, it depends on how one approach them. As far as SEO is concerned, we still need it. Thanks for sharing this.
    akhilendra recently posted..Why Social Media Marketing is Better than SEOMy Profile

    • Daniel Sharkov March 7, 2013, 9:08 am

      Yes, the niche one chooses certainly plays its role. I do agree with you that Twitter is far more internet marketing-oriented than Facebook. The latter is more of a place to hang out and spend some of your free time. It can be a good traffic source nonetheless.

      Daniel

  • Dipra Sen March 7, 2013, 6:51 am

    Social media will play a vital roll in the future. Now most of us have at least one social account and if you get in Facebook you’ll see how big companies are promoting there brands there. After Facebook’s huge popularity Google introduced Google Plus and now trying to convert all Gmail account holders an active Google+ member even Gmail’s “Compose mail” has been changed like Google+ share. Bing and Yahoo have incorporated Facebook in various ways to compete with Google.
    Dipra Sen recently posted..Top Article Directories After Panda UpdateMy Profile

    • Daniel Sharkov March 7, 2013, 9:10 am

      Dipra,

      There is no denying that companies are embracing social media. And social media sites are indeed big traffic sources. The real question is which kind of traffic converts better. And even though search engines are taking into consideration social signals, their weight as a ranking factor is rather insignificant at the moment.

      Daniel
      Daniel Sharkov recently posted..11 Reasons Why No One Listens to You and What to Do About ItMy Profile

  • Erick March 7, 2013, 2:03 am

    In my sense seo content optimization is best source to find out more valuable plat form.

    Thanks
    Erick

  • Larry March 6, 2013, 10:38 pm

    Writing guest posts seams to be the best way to get good quality backlinks. It is only a matter of time before Google squashes guest blogging as an effective SEO method. Social media marketing is being used more and more because it is becoming very difficult to manipulate organic traffic.
    Larry recently posted..Useful Tips For Creating A Google+ Business PageMy Profile

    • Daniel Sharkov March 7, 2013, 9:13 am

      You definitely have a point Larry. Due to the huge abuse, guest blogging will probably become a bad link building strategy in the eyes of Google very soon. And still I really hope that not all value will be lost, since genuine guest blogging that adds value isn’t something bad and the authors do deserve some link juice their way.

      Just my two cents!
      Daniel
      Daniel Sharkov recently posted..Social Media is Becoming more Visual than Ever [Infographic]My Profile

  • Yasir Khan March 6, 2013, 8:36 pm

    The goal of social media, as far as search engine optimization goes, is not necessarily to increase your site’s traffic through traffic from the social network. Instead, it’s to get as many people talking about and sharing your content as possible.

  • Randy Pickard March 6, 2013, 6:13 pm

    In many cases the content of a blog post is going to determine whether social media or search will provide more punch. A post that is not target keyword rich has little chance of getting much search traffic. However, if I had the opinion of choosing between the two (which only occurs if the post gains good rankings on search engines), then I would choose search engines due to the longer lasting impact. The value of social media activity degrades so darn quickly.

    But of course, it is not an either or situation. In fact, the best prospect generation often comes when social media and search engine traffic work together synergistically

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