SEO vs Social Media: Is the One Better Than the Other?

SEO vs Social Media in South Africa

Discussions between SEO’s and other digital marketing experts occur often. We are creatures of the internet, and we tend to find each other everywhere we go online. Strategies and the effectiveness of different digital marketing strategies are often discussed among these groups. Lately, I ran into the age-old question “Is SEO better than social media?” and after leaving my two cents in the comments, I decided to expand on my way of thinking in a blog post.

These types of discussions are super valuable to me and other digital marketers, because this is how we learn and troubleshoot each other’s digital marketing theories and practices. What makes it even more valuable is that it gives our clients insights into why their digital marketing agency do certain things. So, let’s unpack the discussion of SEO vs. social media.

 

Is SEO Better Than Social Media?

Short answer: You are comparing apples to oranges.

Yes, both are fruit (or in this case digital marketing channels) but they differ in crucial ways. Even though they are different, the two go together well in a fruit salad. Think of your overall digital marketing strategy as the fruit salad.

 

SEO vs. Social Media

The main difference between SEO and social media is user numbers. That said, these are not two opposing teams. They are two teammates that should be working together, rather than facing off against each other. If two teammates can’t work together, the whole team will lose.

 

What is the Difference Between SEO and Social Media?

SEO is work that is done to increase organic rankings on search engines like Google. Social media marketing is a combination of organic and paid media being distributed to an audience on a social media platform like Facebook.

From where I’m standing, the biggest difference between the two is the number of users. Google gets about 92.5 billion visits per month while Facebook only gets 25 billion visits per month. The other big difference is that the majority of users on Google are there searching for information, products or services, while the intent with users on social media isn’t always exactly this clear.

 

What Is the Relationship Between Social Media and SEO?

One of the most important factors to keep in mind with the relationship between social media and SEO is the that your company’s social media profiles are a representation of your brand online. For that reason, it is of utmost importance to ensure that your website is optimised for SEO and your social media profiles are tailored to perfection.

 

Some Social Media Profile Optimisations That Are Important

  • Consistency: Your contact details, physical address, and website address should be the same on all your social media profiles, your website, and your Google My Business Listing
  • Valuable links for your backlink profile: Your social media profiles have sections for a link to your website and those are valuable follow links that anyone with a digital presence should have.
  • Optimise social media profiles using your target keywords: The keywords you target should be used in your social media profile’s “About” or “Bio” section. Don’t just stuff keywords in; make sure keywords are used in a natural way.

 

How Will SEO be Affected by Your Social Media Activity?

When people see your brand on social media, it subconsciously becomes something they recognise. This type of brand exposure has many advantages, but what it does for your SEO is; it indirectly increases click-through rate in the organic search results. When a potential client searches for your product or service on Google, they are more likely to click on the result of a brand that they recognise, over simply clicking on the result in the number 1 position.

When someone clicks through from a search results page to your website, you can retarget those visitors on social media with ads. Not only will you know what pages of your website they clicked through to, but you will also have a much better understanding of how to target those users, based on their specific needs. Retargeting ads are a powerful digital marketing tool on social media, that can be refined right down to offering the potential client what they need from your product or service range, based on what products and services they engaged with on your website.

Back to That LinkedIn Post

“Social media is decent for branding but it’s child’s play compared to organic search for transactions”

 

I have to disagree. The two should not be treated as separate pillars; but instead, two legs of the same structure. Creating content for SEO is great, but not utilising social media (organic and paid) to drive traffic to SEO content, is a rookie mistake that a lot of digital marketers make. Especially considering the fact that you can retarget people that have already been on specific pages of your website with social media ads. If a user consuming content on a specific page on your website doesn’t indicate intent to you, you are doing something wrong.

 

Social media users also have intent, they just don’t spell it out to you as SEO does. You have to be able to think a little further, create the meme that triggers them based on what you know they have shown interest in, and then you make their intent clear to them.

 

This is a gap that I have seen many SEO specialists have in their game. They have unbelievable technical understanding but lack the creative finesse to make SEO what it should be: one part of a greater digital marketing strategy that includes crafting content for platforms other than Google, your website, and websites you want to gain links from.

 

To find out more about how you can improve your digital marketing strategy, contact our team at Starbright.