A digital marketing strategy has several important components, including search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), website, CRM system, social media marketing, chatbot, and many more. And in the age of social media, it is not surprising that some brand marketers, who may have limited marketing budgets, would focus on social media marketing. It is an important selling tool, not to mention that for new businesses, it helps establish their brand to their target audience.
So these businesses would proceed to hire a social media manager and an entire creative team to boot.
But here’s the catch: they may capture a social audience, but how about those beyond their network, especially audiences whose first instinct after learning about a product or a brand is to go Google and type in some keywords to search for more information?
This is the crucial step many brands miss out on: understanding SEO’s importance in business first and foremost.
Search engines generate more traffic than social media sites
Not many people or companies realise the importance of SEO vs. social media, but a quick look at the ranking of the world’s most visited websites by Alexa shows that Google (the top search engine) is the undisputed top website, with Facebook (the top social media site) trailing behind at rank seven.
But in general, search engines generate more traffic than social media sites. The Shareaholic Traffic Report reveals that out of 400+ million users who visited more than 250,000 mobile and desktop sites in a range of verticals including food, tech, design, fashion/beauty, marketing, sports, parenting, religion, and general news, 34.8% of total visits went to six search engines, while 25.6% went to 13 social networks.
The same report also predicted that search will continue to be the largest and most efficient traffic driver, adding that because there are fewer search engine sites than there are social media sites, the investment on search efforts will be more efficient as you only need to focus on one or two platforms.
People who have an intent to buy will turn to search engines
True, practically everyone today has a social media account, but social media users are on the platform with the mindset to connect with friends or be entertained.
This is where SEO has an advantage vs. social media, because people on a search engine would often have a mindset of buying. In fact, 81% of buyers perform an online search before making a purchase. If you want to buy something, you will most likely go look for a product through search, not through a social media site.
Social media content has a short shelf life
Search engine marketing efforts, particularly SEO, become stronger over time as search engines crawl your content. On the contrary, social media efforts tend to decay because what you post today may no longer appear on your audience’s newsfeed tomorrow. Thus, one of the benefits of SEO is that content created for search can be more of a long-time investment because, over time, more people will be driven to your site and will see your post, whereas, on social media, fewer people will see the content you produce the farther it goes down your timeline.
So, who wins the battle of SEO vs. social media? To be honest, we think you need both and other digital marketing components such as a website optimised for great user experience, display advertising, SEM, content marketing, and etc, to complete your digital marketing strategy, but it takes thorough strategic planning to be able to know where to focus your efforts on, especially when resources are always limited. In a nutshell, big and small businesses alike must understand the role of SEO vs. social media to be able to plan the allocation of their marketing budget to ensure maximum return-on-investment.
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