If I got a pound for every person that has asked me if ‘social media’ is better than SEO I’d be very rich indeed.
Sadly alas I get asked the question but don’t get a pound for the answer.
So without any further questions, I’ll answer the question of SEO and social media in this blog.
Firstly, social media is no way a substitute for SEO. While you can gain extra presence with a few social media profiles, they are no competition for your actual website and having that indexed well on the major search engines.
Just because your company name in Facebook shows up on Google, does in no way demonstrate it as a reason to see it as a better marketing option than SEO itself.
The most important thing to consider here is that people don’t necessarily search for your company name online – usually when people are looking for services, they will seek out search terms that might be relevant to your business.
For example, if you’re called John Smith Lawyers – new potential clients are not going to search for that. They may opt for ‘Lawyer in a town somewhere’ and a multitude of other potential search terms.
Well for starters, search engines like Google are used to find information, professional services and of course products. Whereas social media platforms like Facebook are social networks where people can join groups, interact with their colleagues and friends and post links to videos etc.
So from this point even, we can see that the purpose of SEO and social media is different.
Thus if you imagine that you have thousands of people coming to your website and you suddenly stop the SEO activity you may well get a few people to join your group but that won’t bring in anything like the same level of traffic.
Furthermore, with SEO you actually optimise your website for keywords that are relevant to what you do. Therefore, a good SEO programme can really improve your ranking and of course potential business leads.
With Social Media, you also have the added problem in that it is not designed to ‘sell’ in the traditional sense, which means getting a return on investment in this area can be very grey indeed!
There are of course benefits to using social media but not for the same reasons as SEO. Social Media can allow you to listen to your users, interact with them on a more social level and allow you to expand your customer service levels.
However, with any benefit comes a non-benefit. Social Media takes a long time to build up. It is not necessarily the best option for those looking for long-term commitment from users.
People who like your website and its products will return. If you are expecting them to find the time to do this via your Facebook channel then you are probably slightly deluded (no offence honestly).
Social media is also a relatively new medium, whereas SEO has been around for a fairly long time and we all know that it is still important to have a good presence for your website.
After all, if someone is looking for a new pair of boots, they aren’t going to buy from your Facebook page. They will undoubtedly buy from your website and therefore, that’s where your efforts should be focused on getting traffic to.
Don’t ignore social media – it’s a great supporting structure to everything else you do, but it is not a replacement for any kind of marketing activity.