SEO or Social Media: Which Matters More
This topic was already on the plate for this week, but in my daily blog reading I came across an interesting post by Cori Padgett on Big Girl Branding that does a great job of raising the question. She beat me.
She wraps up the post by explaining that both SEO and social media matter, because they both exist to make you “popular” or really, to drive more traffic to your blog or website (or even an article; any URL, really).
I view the issue differently and take a slightly different approach to answering the question.
SEO vs. Social Media: Science vs. Art
SEO is important. But is is a science, not an art form. It can be exacting, and there are certain things you should always do and there are certain things that you should not do.
Social media is different. Using social media as a way to increase readership for your blog is more an art form that a science. Each of you will find that you have a unique taste, an original way of connecting to your readers through social media. It’s not one size fits all.
SEO vs. Social Media: The 20/80 Rule
Spend 20% of your promotional time on SEO and 80% of it on social media. Another way of saying this is that for every 1 minute of time you spend on SEO, spend 4 on social media.
Why: SEO is cut and dry, so it shouldn’t take you as long. As a blogger, especially if you are using WordPress, you have a plethora of tools available to you for optimizing your blog and its posts for search engines. Create a system for doing it right and then follow that system.
Social media is not cut and dry. It is always changing. There are new tools, new theories and new influencers popping up weekly. Not all flavors of social media will appeal or even apply to you. So, reserve the extra time to get it right. Additionally, your social media habit will soon turn out plenty of back links to your blog, which will improve SEO.
When SEO Matters More
SEO and social media are not equal players all of the time. Sometimes, SEO matters more than social media. Here are the situations in which I think SEO wins:
- Product review blogs that are monetized: If you write reviews with the intention of making money from them, you will really need to focus on SEO so that people looking to buy your product will find you in search engine results. You could adopt a strategy that incorporates social media, of course, but your reach is simply far greater with search engines.
- Real estate listings: Agents and brokers have a challenging situation because the nature of their business is largely based on personal connections. With so much search engine competition, however, it’s essential that real estate listings be optimized.
- Promotional/Sales blogs: If your blog focuses on a niche product and its sole intention is to sell that product, spending more time on SEO than social media could be the way to go. I’m torn on this one; this is a gray area that really depends on the product.
What Social Media Really Is and Why It Matters for Your Blog
Social media is not a synonym for social networking. I define social media as a broad, umbrella term for media that is shared in a community and the methods by which it is shared (hence the term social). Videos, music, podcasts, art, articles (including blogs) and photographs are just some of the forms of media that have been part of the social media movement. The channels for distributing media socially are sites like YouTube, Flickr, EzineArticles, Last.fm and Scribd (and many more).
What you need to know about social media is that it has the potential to be one of the fastest ways to get your blog noticed – even faster than search engines.
If you publish a new post, sure, you should optimize it for search engines, but considering how many new posts are published on any given day in your same niche (and possibly with your same title and keywords), you can’t really afford to sit around and wait for it to be indexed and ranked by a search engine. Instead, use sites like Twitter and Facebook to broadcast your post, with the intention that your following will like it and continue broadcasting it to their following and so on (viral marketing).
Keep in mind that SEO and social media serve very different purposes. SEO is to improve search engine visibility, indexing and rank. Social media can actually help with that, when used properly. It’s not so much a matter of either/or, but a matter of priority in terms of effort and energy. My advice is to find a solution that will assist you with SEO so it is out of your mind, and then focus on your blog, its content, and how you can increase its importance among your readers through social media.
Thoughts? You know I want to hear them, so feel free to agree or disagree, or ask questions below!
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