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The buzz surrounding social media has reached near hysteria. Every day there are tales of people earning fortunes whilst others are having their lives ruined by sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
Few would doubt the potential for generating new business that social media offers. There’s a huge audience to tap into and the freedom to approach them, you can start networking and create brand new opportunities for yourself or your company.
But how does social media help your website? Well, for the moment at least, it doesn’t. SEO still remains the dominant source of traffic, and here are a few reasons why:
1. Targeted Traffic – Social media provides (often) non-targeted traffic, many of whom may navigate away within seconds. SEO is about focussing on keywords and the people who tend to search for them, thus you receive more quality traffic.
2. 24/7 Search Engine Marketing – Search engines can provide huge quantities of traffic 24/7. Therefore, investing time in your SEO can be hugely advantageous and lead to far more long-term benefits than the equivalent time spent networking through social media.
3. Avoid Negative Publicity – SEO won’t work against you, ever. Poor SEO rarely gains much in the way of coverage; a major social media faux pas can leave you red faced and low on visitors.
4. Social Media Prone to Attacks – Social media sites can’t always be relied on. As shown by the recent DDOS attacks on Twitter, there are weaknesses that can see valuable data and hours of marketing time wiped out.
5. Optimise for many Search Engines, not just one Social Media Website – Whilst social media covers a wide array of sites – Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube – you need to update each one individually in order to gain the fullest exposure (despite being able to multi-post). This leaves you reliant on developing relationships across many forums, all of which may be prone to issues. There are numerous search engines on offer; good SEO should provide a rewarding ranking on them all without any additional work.
6. Use SEO Optimised Content to Sell - On site content can provide far more information than a 140 character message can convey.
7. Long-Standing Record for Success - Whist SEO has been around for almost as long as HTML coding, social media is still relatively new. It’s a volatile market where users can swap between different sites in a moment; just as we highlighted in the earlier post ‘Is Twitter in Danger of Losing Relevance‘. What’s popular today, may not be tomorrow; however, SEO should always provide your site with the strength and authority to rank on major search engines.
This shouldn’t be construed as an attack on social media as a whole. It has a major part to play for forward thinking companies and is something we ourselves look to promote with our social media services.
However, it shouldn’t be viewed as a direct replacement for onsite SEO, far from it in fact. The two are very different entities and should be treated as such. But whilst SEO can be used almost as a sole marketing tool, social media can only really be used as a part of an integrated strategy. Of course this can be hugely successful, just ask Starbucks’ marketing department who discovered exactly how much social media can boost revenues, however it can’t be seen as an out-and-out replacement for thorough SEO work, at least not yet.
The Internet is developing though and real-time is very much coming to the fore. But regardless of how this may affect search in the near and distant futures, SEO remains the only way to get your website ranking where you need it most, on the search engines.
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