What is more effective: Organic SEO versus Social Media Marketing

Peter A. Liefer II | Posted: December 19th, 2016 | Updated: July 26th, 2023

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Are you curious if SEO is better than social media campaigns? With the continuously evolving method of getting noticed on the web, which of the two methods can help in the long run? What is their edge over each other and what should you adapt? Can you both use SEO and SMM to get the traffic you want?

Online marketing paves a great road for a site or blog to be visible. Your presence in the online world will be determined if someone already knows about you and looks for you, if you are mentioned by another person or website or if you come up in the search engine results. It will then be a question what strategy will fit best for you: Search Engine Optimization or Social Media Marketing.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) utilizes a set of method and techniques to promote web traffic. It primarily works on search engines, helping your website to get more visibility and improving your chances to be found. It will improve your site’s ability to appear in the first pages of an organic search result. SEO focuses on building links and the traffic you get is all organic traffic.

Social Media Marketing (SMM) on the other hand, is focused on creating content that can attract attention and encourage readers to share or mention it in their social media networks. It will be a process of gaining website attention through social media channels. Here, you get to take advantage of social media platforms such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

There is an ongoing battle or bet then what method will be more effective to be used on a website. Let us check some of the insights and reviews of blogs from several websites about this face-off.

  1. “Social media signals don’t influence site rankings and SEO is not effective without harnessing social media channels”

    Social MediaOn one of the articles describing the battle for traffic within SEO and Social Media Marketing, it was mentioned that at some point, these two have closely become intertwined activities that all businesses want to take advantage of. Two vital points have been noted wherein (a) social media signals don’t influence site rankings and that (b) SEO is not effective without harnessing social media channels.

    The conclusion drawn in this article is that SMM blogs should be receiving the majority of their visitors from social media channels, as it is their area of expertise. And that SMM-focused blogs perform better in organic search than SEO-focused blogs. The high levels of engagement SMM blogs receive from social media allow them to get more backlinks and referral traffic, which, in turn, helps them rank higher organically.

  2. “SEO for people looking for products and services on the net, social media for peer recommendations”

    Organic Search versus Social MediaThis article may have been written years ago, but it provides useful insights and comparison versus boosting search or going social. A good point mentioned is that people look for business on search engines. If you want your website to get discovered, you will want to rank well for your target keywords.

    On the other hand, one of the nice sides of social media is that peer recommendations can absolutely happen when someone likes your page, mentions you on Twitter or another platform, 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.

    However, it was recommended to use both techniques like SEO and SMM will help each other out in getting the goal that is wanted by a website.

  3. “Social Media and SEO aren’t just different, in many ways they’re opposites.”

    Organic Search TrafficThis article from orbitmedia sums it up nicely in the very beginning. With the main point that Social Media and SEO aren’t just different, in many ways they’re opposites. Social appeals to people, search engine optimization appeals to a robot. The speed, the reach, the measurement and the content that performs well are all very different.

    When it comes to speed, social media can happen real-time as posts appear instantly while SEO can take years to build up enough credibility. A good point as well is when it comes to the audience intent. Visitors from social media marketing are typically less likely to buy since they were likely browsing through a social network when they found you. But they are more likely to share and spread awareness. Social fans and followers often influence potential buyers. Visitors from search are more likely to be ready to buy, but less likely to share and interact. These visitors enter with a specific purpose, need, or question.

    When it comes to effort though, social media marketing involves many short-lived actions. Most visibility and traffic happens within minutes. This is why social media requires a continuous, ongoing effort; while “search traffic can lead to durable visibility, creating an ongoing, passive source of visitors. Depending on the phrase and the page, high rankings may endure for weeks or months,” according to daystargroup.com.

    As to measurement, the “total visibility and traffic of all social activity is not easy to report on”. Many platforms exist and they may have each own report. For search engines, it may be easier to measure. The total visibility and traffic from search are centralized in just a few reports, showing key phrase, impressions, and clicks. But, it’s harder to measure engagement.

    Yet, SEO and SMM will drive certain interdependence. High ranking content brings search traffic that can drive follows, comments, and shares. 3

To sum up, there can always be an ongoing comparison amongst which of the two techniques or processes will help boost your website’s traffic and visibility. It can be SEO over SMM or vice versa, or at some possibilities, you can utilize both but should be done smartly. No matter what the face-off result will be, it will be best to adapt what works best for your online presence.