The Battle for Traffic: Organic SEO vs. Social Media Marketing

When it comes to driving traffic to your website, there are a variety of ways to get visitors. The primary two that individuals and businesses almost always have a struggle with investing their time and money into are search and social. 

SEO and SMM are like pizza and cheese.

Nowadays SEO cannot be effective without well-executed content creation. And that’s where social media kicks in — it helps you unlock untapped potential. Compared to other marketing channels, social media benefits SEO in unexpected ways. It’s not surprising that SEO and SMM have slowly become closely intertwined activities that all businesses want to take advantage of.

1.      How Search Beats Social

First of all, let’s look at the reasons why you might want to choose search engine marketing over social media marketing.

More People Look for Business on Search

Think about your own habits. Whenever you are looking for something, from an air conditioning repair company to a zumba instructor, where do you go first? Most likely, you will go to a search engine – Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask, AOL, Blekko, or one of the many other options available.

A report by E-consultancy found that 61% of consumers use search engines to help them in product research before making a purchase. This means that if you want to get discovered, you will want to rank well for your target keywords.

Know What People Are Searching For

When it comes to search engines, while the numbers might not be exact, you have a lot of great tools to use in your research of what people are searching for Google Ad Words Keyword Tool is a great start in this process. While “pet supplies” may not actually get an exact one million searches per month, you will know that “pet supplies” is a more popular keyword phrase over “pet supply” that comes in at only 368,000 monthly searches.

2.      How Social Beats Search

Now, let’s take a look at where social media marketing meets or beats search engine marketing.
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Peer Recommendations Happen with the Click of a Like

In the same report by E-consultancy mentioned earlier, they found that 75% of people in the 18 – 26 age group used recommendations on social sites in product research before making a purchase. One of the nice sides to social media is once you have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, peer recommendations will happen when someone likes your page, mentions your Twitter handle, or tags your brand name. When someone takes these actions, their connections will see them which may help your business get discovered by others with that perceived seal of approval.

Respond to Criticism in Real Time

One of the worst problems when it comes to search engine results, aside from not coming up in them at all, is having something negative come up. Online reputation management is a thriving service thanks to rip off reports, bad reviews, and other damaging articles about a business. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to counter these in search engine results themselves.

Whenever you are presented criticism on social media, however, you will have a chance to turn those complaints into compliments by responding back to them in real time. There is a lot of great information today, including books like The Now Revolution  that help businesses learn how to plan for, find, and manage real-time crises in the social media space. Knowing how to do this is essential to showing current and potential customers how much you care about everyone’s satisfaction with your business.

3.      Why You Should Choose to Invest in Both Search and Social

Search is great for informing customers of a service, describing a product, or targeting customers who have an immediate need and are actively searching for what you offer. Social is best for building brand awareness, showcasing your product, or retargeting customers and engaging with them. Social is all about generating discussion and sharing content that users find enjoyable, which can help you achieve these more efficiently.

 

4.      How Search Engine Marketing Helps Social

Search engine optimization doesn’t just happen on your website. Did you know you can use the same keyword research and on-site optimization strategies that you use for your website’s search engine marketing campaign for your social media marketing?

Keyword Research for Social Media

Keyword usage is important in social media. Although you can’t find the specifics on how many people search for particular keywords on social media, you can use different tools to get a good idea.

On-Site Optimization for Social Media

While On-Site normally just means on your own website, you can take the same principles for title tags, meta descriptions, image alt tags, and so forth to better optimize your social media profiles for search.

5.      How Social Media Marketing Helps Search

So how can social media marketing help with your search engine results?

Better Reputation Management

Want to bump off a bad entry in the first page of search results for your brand, or pre-emotively create a strong brand presence in search so a negative result can’t barge its way in? Social media profiles are your answer. Social profiles that generally rank well for businesses include Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Foursquare, and LinkedIn. If the only online properties created by you appear on the first page when someone searches for your brand name, then you are well on your way to creating a great first impression.

Confirm a Search Result is Trustworthy                                                                                           

While, as mentioned earlier, almost two thirds of consumers research products before buying them through search engines, I’d bet that the social media savvy ones will check out the top results (aka you and your competitors) on social media. I know that, when I come across a new company that I haven’t heard of, I will also go check out their Facebook page and Twitter account to see if they are active in their customer service. This means I want to see some recent status updates and replies to customers asking questions whenever possible.

When it comes to search engine marketing vs. social media marketing, which one do you put the majority of your energy towards? What ways do you think one is better than the other, and what ways do you see one helping the other?

 


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