social vs. seo…and the winner is?

tweets-seo-rankingAnyone that has any type of online business needs to carefully consider the way they do online marketing. Many businesses choose to use search engine optimization (SEO) to drive traffic to their website, while other businesses choose to mainly use social media to drive traffic. Social media includes Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.

When a person types a query into a search engine (Google, Bing, Safari, etc.) and clicks Search they get a list of websites as their results that contain the query they typed in. Most users visit websites that are shown at the top of the list or on the first page. The reason a website makes it to the top of the list is because they  have very good SEO strategies.  SEO is a technique that helps the search engines find and rank websites. Using proper SEO techniques greatly helps a business get traffic from the search engines.

There are businesses that claim that social media drives more traffic to their website than SEO. With online retail, for example, social media may change the way people shop. This is because friends can easily recommend places that people should shop through social media, such as Facebook. For this reason, we have decided to check to see if social media is the best avenue for businesses to take to drive traffic to their website, or should they continue using or start using SEO strategies for much-needed traffic.

Measuring the current traffic that social media brings to websites is not a definite indicator about the future, but it does show us how social media stands against SEO strategies.

Social Drives Far Less Traffic than SEO

According to Adobe, billions of website visitors from more than 500 different retail websites over the holiday season and only two percent of those visits came from social media, and 34 percent of those visits came from search or SEO. Another study from Monetate shows very similar findings where the social media was approximately only two percent.

According to these two creditable studies, it is very clear that when it comes to website traffic, social media is only driving a very small percentage of visitors to retail websites. Current fact, users use search engines instead of social media when it comes to online shopping.

It seems that people use social media to socialize and exchange product information or endorsements, and they turn to their favorite search engine, such as Google or Bing, when they want to go shopping. This may very well change in the future, as Facebook has promised to make some changes, but for now SEO is the way to go for any online business to bring much more traffic to their website.

Businesses need to understand that social media is much more than socializing in many cases. Brand development and customer service for brands is very important to consumers. Consumers do socialize but brands benefit from the impact.

If someone needs to buy something online, they turn to Google or their favorite search engine, which leads them to a website where they make their purchase. They came to that website from a search engine and not from a social media website. For the most part for now, social media is…social!

randy bowden – t | f | g+



9 thoughts on “social vs. seo…and the winner is?

  1. This is what we see too pretty much across the board. Social does have an impact on search from the perspective of personalization, but purchases on the main still come from search and email.

  2. As you point out, Randy, companies use social platforms to interact and engage with their customers while employing SEO strategies to drive them to their website. Two different strategies for two different goals.

    What will be interesting to see is how these two strategies will merge. While SEO practices change to favouring content and authorship, will the content creators on the social platforms our page rank the companies themselves?

    • They will merge or more so converge. Natural search and social brand platforms should be major priorities of a brands owned media. Thanks for your insight Ray. rcb

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