We can all agree that social media and search engine optimization are two of the very best sources for internet traffic. Both are the most effective methods that drive and generate the most traffic to any website. Unfortunately, not all marketers or businesses possess the resources to prioritize both options. If you happen to be among the ones unable to accommodate both social media and SEO, you are in a tight situation of having to choose between both options.
You’re probably already asking in your head right now about which is better in generating traffic. So, for that reason, this post will be looking closely at both social media and SEO to determine the best source of traffic.
Going Through The Numbers
For the past decade, social media has been consistently growing and developing into a relevant source for generating traffic. Though there were times where it seemed to decline and deteriorate a bit, however, it never really affected its overall growth and progress. Today, it is widely considered to be among the very best sources for website referral traffic. However, those are only general figures, and your top referral traffic driver might be different.
For that reason, it is really complicated to choose a clear-cut winner for social media vs. SEO. We should keep in mind that the stats are changing significantly and at a constant rate. Other elements would include who is conducting the research, and which site you’re referring to. This means depending on who is doing the research, the results may vary in a lot of ways. Let’s weigh in on the potential advantages of each one.
Social Media: Advantages & Disadvantages
Getting More Benefits
Probably the best feature of using social media marketing to generate traffic is getting side benefits other than just being able to drive traffic efficiently to your site. Being proactive on social media, for instance, helps in the improvement of your brand awareness, as well as building trust and loyalty among your potential customers. It is also an ideal way for generating more engagement and customer service management.
Another advantage of utilizing social media marketing is gaining more and more influence, as well as growing your business’ reputation. Though social media will have nothing to do with impacting your overall search engine ranking, it can help with your search engine optimization efforts, though not directly. By what means, you may ask? By promoting your business, as well as gaining more and more traffic for your website, which will result in the improvement of your domain authority. By doing so, your search engine ranking will also improve.
Social Networks as Search Engines
With the popularity of social media marketing being used to drive traffic, another consideration that experts are looking at is the belief that social media networks are starting to become search engines of their own. Let’s use Twitter as a solid example.
Using Twitter, you can identify what the most trending news of the day is. Aside from that, you can also search for some great content with ease. Much like Google, you can search based on your current location, tinker on different available languages, and if you click ‘advanced search,’ you will be presented with more options to mix things and make your search a lot more customized (see image below).
One thing that differentiates social media from SEO is the ability to maintain a small bit of control over your overall success. What makes social media more attractive than SEO is the fact that you will always find new ways of improving your traffic-generating strategy. You can even get to learn from your lapses and grow from your success, which will position you in a better place and improve your overall traffic in the future. SEO, on the other hand, isn’t very clear about what you should and shouldn’t do. SEO is quite complicated when compared to social media, where the strategies aren’t clear about what can and can’t help you improve your search ranking.
The Impact Of Algorithms
Another significant advantage of social media over SEO is the fact that it doesn’t have to be updated with the latest search engine algorithm changes to stay relevant. We all know how search engines like Google are incorporating algorithms to better control the flow of search results in every particular search topic. A slight mistake in complying with the latest algorithm update and you can potentially destroy your entire strategy. That being said, Facebook, on the other hand, has its very own algorithm, which gives timely updates and changes that have been affecting a lot of businesses over the past few years. The Facebook algorithm has been a constant struggle for some businesses to get their posts on their fans’ and followers’ news feeds.
Downsides Of Using Social Media
Despite the unusual features that were just said about using social media for driving traffic, it also has some negatives of its own that also needs to be acknowledged. Despite it being easier to pull off than SEO, using social media can still be time-consuming to manage and establish a significant audience for your business. Though the same can be said about SEO, social media also has its challenges.
The Fierce Competition
Also, the competition is pretty steep on social media. Keep in mind that there will be other profiles similar to your business, and you will also be sharing the same content and targeting the same audiences. With that being the case, it’s rather hard to gain some attention and make your content be noticed consistently by quality traffic.
SEO: Advantages & Disadvantages
Now let’s turn to search engine optimization. Now similar to social media marketing, SEO also has some benefits of its own to brag about. In fact, it has a few advantages other than just being a traffic source. Other benefits would include:
- A great option for brand awareness (if, and only if, you manage to secure the top results)
- Huge help in the creation of a better website for readers (optimum readability is vital to search engines).
- Builds trust with your target audience
- Improves domain authority (high DA can open towards new opportunities for your site).
- Very targeted (helps you consistently acquire high-quality traffic compared to social media).
Keep in mind that although these benefits are great, the tradeoff is that you also need to maintain a high search ranking.
Measure and Quantify With Ease
Another advantage of using SEO is being able to calculate and calibrate your results quickly. However, there is another tradeoff to this: how much money SEO will bring to you and your business is not easy to determine
Constant Algorithm Changes
Now let’s move to the downside of SEO. As what has been mentioned earlier, the biggest disadvantage of SEO is having to follow Google’s constantly changing algorithm. These updates come out of the blue and will instantly affect your strategy if you don’t submit to its demands. These algorithm updates can also affect your domain authority in an instant, hindering your current rankings. Some updates can also take a huge blow on your SEO efforts that it would seem like you need to start all over again. For those reasons, there is really no denying how tiresome and frustrating SEO can be. Also, despite your efforts, results won’t be visible in an instant, making your frustration more and more severe than it already is. However, if you do get the entire SEO process right, it can truly be a useful source of traffic generation.
We all want to know which of which has the edge over the other. However social media and SEO each have their own unique advantage and disadvantage, making it a much harder decision to determine who the winner of this showdown is. In our own experiences, we have had a lot of success using both social media and SEO, though we must admit that social media does have a lot more benefits on reserve than SEO does. However, that does not make social media any way better than SEO.
There will also be a lot of varying factors depending on each particular business type. Different business has different needs, with various approaches that need to be considered. If you want to know which among the two works for you, you should start by looking at your own traffic and determine what your primary traffic source is. You should also look for the quality of your traffic. Determine the overall bounce rate for your social media vs. your SEO traffic. You should also answer questions like, ‘how much times do visit from each traffic source last on your website?’ And ‘what’s does your conversion rate look like for each of the two sources?’
Overall, determine which of which is giving you more value. From there, you can determine which among the two traffic sources is the most ideal for you. Let’s also not forget the fact that both social media and SEO work hand-in-hand and complement perfectly with each other. So in the end, no matter what results you might come up, we should acknowledge that both traffic sources have their own unique benefits for your website, and, when combined together, can give you the best results possible.
Which source of traffic do you prefer? Are you having success with social media, or is optimizing or organic search more of your type of thing? Share your experience now by sending us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.