Is social media outreach superior to organic search engine optimization? With the continually evolving techniques of getting businesses and their brands noticed on the internet, social media versus SEO remains a subject of debate among marketing experts.

Your online presence is based on people who are looking for your services and products and mention them on the web, or if you appear in search engine results. Some businesses hire an SEO (search engine optimization) service to increase brand awareness, and may not use social media as a marketing tool at all. Others decide to market their service and goods through social media without using SEO. What marketing medium best fits your business–search engine optimization or social media?

How are SEO and Social Media Different

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – SEO promotes your website by increasing web traffic through search engine result pages (SERPs). One of the many effective SEO methods is building links. Links inform Google and other search engines that your website has quality resources. It’s a great strategy if you want to have a higher place in SERPs.
  • Social Media Marketing – Social media marketing creates content that attracts your target market, and that they want to share with their contacts. Social media lets you publicize your business through different platforms. Increase your digital presence by honing how you promote your service and managing your social channels. Be consistent. Share informative and quality content through blogs and posts. The more people who share your content, the more can see it.

A study conducted by GE Capital Retail Bank found that 81% of consumers use search engines to look for products and services online before making a purchase. On the other hand, 74% of people trust social media networks as a guide for purchasing decisions. With this data pushing us in (seemingly) two different directions, it’s difficult to make a selection.

Let’s compare both of these approaches to understand which of them provides a more significant advantage in reaching your target audience.

Target Market

A marketing channel is most effective when you target a specific audience. This is how you get website traffic and sales. Targeting a particular audience is more beneficial using social media compared to organic SEO. Any social media channel has a built-in target market. These channels can be used as a template for companies looking for ideal buyers.

There are many resources online to help you zero in on the best platform for reaching your target audience. For instance, PEW Research Center has published its research on social media use for 2018. This data includes the type of discussions your target audience might be interested, and how you can reach into those discussions.

Organic SEO, on the other hand, focuses on people and the discussions they are having, regardless of what social media channels they are using. It might be challenging to start SEO, but hiring an expert SEO service in Kitchener, for instance, can help you achieve a more detailed profile of your target customers and their online routine.

Targeting your ideal buyers in social media depends on personality while targeting with organic SEO relies on customer behaviour. Ideally, you would use social media to identify your target buyers and, once you have found them, use SEO to lead them to your website.

Marketing Efforts

Effective marketing requires a commitment to a focused plan – Credits: Studio 7042

One needs to have an extensive amount of time when it comes to social media marketing. It requires preparations, commitment (updating blog posts and content), and tools (such as Buffer, Sprout Social, and Hootsuite) to keep the campaign operating.

Although the kind of content you create plays a role in how you attract customers, the average lifespan of a single post remains the same, no matter its type. According to Moz, the average lifespan of a single tweet is approximately 18 minutes. With the number of tweets published per second, your tweet can easily get lost. Your tweet will quickly lose its value once posted.

Being consistent on your posts and responding immediately to customers is necessary for social media. In this way, you make sure that you’re reaching your target buyers. Social media management tools will help you see how many followers you have reached.

Do your research when creating your social media content

It’s important to do your research when creating your social media content. Even though social media requires more effort, it’s worth it to make sure that you are producing content that engages your followers.

On the other hand, organic SEO take months for you to start seeing results and it requires continuous effort (e.g. baseline traffic, meta descriptions, geographic location, target audience analysis). Your SEO endeavours play an essential part in gaining search engine traffic, allowing you to compete with other brands, products, or services out there.

Organic SEO grows over time, and the results depend on what your business is looking for (local, national, or global SEO reach). Having a professional SEO team will help you decide what type of strategy you need to maximize visibility and drive traffic. After all, organizations that rank highly in search results receive more than 80% of the clicks.

When done correctly, search engine optimization requires less effort and may drive high-conversion traffic. As long as your content and SEO strategy gives your audience what they’re looking for, you can expect to see high conversions and sales. Contrarily, social media marketing requires more effort, and its value is primarily brand awareness.

Content Forms

Longer content is more beneficial in the long run – Credits: Pixabay

There is a debate over which types of content have more value for SEO, and which work well on social media. Regardless of type, however, size matters. Long-form content (greater than 2,000 words) can gain higher rankings on search engines when contrasted with short-form content. Founder of Kissmetrics and Crazy Egg, Neil Patel reported that long-form evergreen content works best for SEO.

Longer articles generate business leads for a longer timeframe. This is because they attract backlinks and organic traffic from Google timelessly, organically making it evergreen content.

Social media posts can be much shorter in length, and are optimized for their platform. They are also frequently less complicated than blog posts or case studies.

SEO and social media marketing depend on a whole different type of content. The exciting part of this is how they rely on and complement each other–for example, an infographic on Facebook that links to a long-form blog post. The infographic acts as a gateway to drive traffic to your website through the link.

How to increase customer engagement

Another essential aspect of social media marketing when it comes to content is how to increase customer engagement. The more people share and comment on your posts (that are linked to your website content) the more they drive traffic. You can increase traffic when writing long-form content because people will share it and engage with it.

They key is to use social media to drive traffic to your web content, and optimize it for search engines. A study by Jeff Bullas reported that Facebook posts with 80 characters or fewer receive up to 88% more engagement. Post short and precise content in your social media accounts, and link them to relevant long-form content on your site.

How to integrate your social media marketing and SEO for maximum results
  • Update your blog regularly
  • Use long-tail keywords
  • Optimize meta tags and description
  • Optimize your images
  • Write long-form content

You also need to master social media to attract more people to that content. Social media sharing can spread like wildfire, remember to post your content on your different social media networks.

Search engines like Google and Bing are making customer engagement as a ranking factor. Therefore, mix social media marketing to your SEO efforts for an extra marketing boost. The more people that visit your website, the higher the likelihood that they will engage with you on different social media platforms. In this way, you can convert traffic into buying customers.

Learn how to use search engine optimization and social media marketing together to grow your business. No matter what your results are, an SEO professional can help you improve your performance. Choose a team with expertise on integrating SEO best practices with social media outreach, and maximize your results.

Featured Photo Credit: Mohamed Hassan

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