Search Engine Optimization Versus Social Media – Pros and Cons of the Marketing Avenues

No matter how to look at it, social media is here to stay. With the growth of Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets, it has become one of the primary methods of driving traffic to websites and web pages in recent years. But is this to the detriment of traditional SEO practices? Are those practices counterintuitive to using social media or do they actually complement each other?Traditional SEOTraditional SEO practices are focused entirely on driving and increasing traffic to websites. Traditionalists insist that you need to carefully research keywords, write quality keyword-rich content for your site and depend on search engine crawlers to successfully increase traffic to your website.All of these are great methods for effective SEO, but in the early stages of setting up a website, they can be labor and time-intensive and still take time to see measurable results. Even if you take the time to submit your web pages to search engines yourself, instead of waiting for crawlers to discover your great content, it still often takes a series of labor-intensive activities before you begin to see measurable and significant traffic to your website. Ultimately, you want traffic in order to increase sales and exposure of your website. So what is another way to accomplish this in a much faster and more effective manner? Enter social media.Technical Aptitude: SEO definitely requires more web technical aptitude of the two. Approximately 25% of SEO are web development type activities. Inserting meta data into HTML, maximizing page load speeds, SEO friendly content management system setup, etc. Nothing that can’t be self-taught in 6 months or it may be a good idea to take a web design 101 type class before you dive in the SEO worldPros: Massive potential markets of interested people (Aka buyers!). A lot of small niche keyword searches will still a search volume of many thousands every month. If you get the dead on domain for a particular search phrase (Search phrase: New Cars Domain: NewCars.com) it’s surprisingly easy to get onto the first page of search results.Cons: Some would argue that sustainable traffic with SEO is an oxymoron. Depending upon SEO for business can be a roller coaster. Due to Google’s constantly changing algorithm you may one day be on top of the search results getting lots of traffic and attention and the new day be mysteriously dropped to the 2nd page. You may be a back in a day, a week or never. Search engines have been around for a while & some of the most lucrative search niches are so well established that its next to impossible to get a new website ranked.Social MediaTwitter, Facebook and other social media sites have been part of the webscape for the past several years. They are a primary method of getting social interaction going and are excellent for generating backlinks and traffic to your website. Once you have a sizable following, sending out a Tweet or Facebook update makes it easy to quickly and easily develop quality backlinks and new traffic to your website.You cannot get around the fact that humans are social beings and we like to connect with others via social outlets. Social media is one of these outlets. Those who follow social media tend to be more quality visitors to websites and will bring sales in because they follow websites and blogs on a regular basis.Developing this kind of social connection is valuable, especially in the early stages of developing a web presence, when you are establishing a connection with your audience. Social media gives you a voice and a presence that cannot be accomplished with traditional SEO methods.Technical Aptitude: The basic functions of social media (Example: making friends, sharing content) are as simple as using email. You can get be a good social media marketer without ever knowing the first thing about technical web development. However, really effective marketing does require a high level of understanding some of the more complex functions of social media (Example: Group building dynamics, Content sharing techniques, overlapping networks). It also requires an understanding of social media etiquette so you don’t piss people off with your marketing. You will also need to be (or hire) a decent copywriter to get attention on social mediaPros: Since social media is so huge with so many people, groups and interests represented you can be almost certain that you will be able to find a niche group or network of people that will be interested in what you have to sell. While paid social media marketing can certainly yield a good return on investment the free features of social media can be used very effectively for marketing.Cons: Give it away, to get attention on social media you almost always have to be giving something away that is of high value to you. Whether it is valuable knowledge you have on a niche subject or actual products or services that you are in fact in the business of selling. Time consuming, to be successful w/social media you have to invest a lot of time in actually being social, making friends, showing genuine interest in them.Marketing and Training ProgramsIf you are considering taking a marketing and training program in either social media or traditional SEO, neither is better than the other. They simply have two different goals and are both appropriate for developing a website presence. You will find that both offer you the ability to drive traffic and increase sales to your website and, in actuality, they complement each other.Creating really high quality content is still king which means relevant, interesting articles, useful graphics and engaging videos. These two avenues are just a means of distributing that excellent content. You need to know traditional SEO methods because this is the foundation of how to develop a website and how to develop quality content on your web pages. Social media will help you get visitors to your website and keep them coming back for more if you have the quality content in place. Together, you have the best of both worlds.