Just a few years ago, search engines (and paid advertising) were about the only way to draw new visitors to a website. But a few years is an eternity on the Internet.
Now social media is all the rage. Everyone is talking about how connect with new people using Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Search engine optimization seems so… 2007.
So, has social media made SEO less important?
Yes and no.
In 2007, organizations had two possible sources of new visitors free search listings and paid online advertising (banners, sponsorships, pay per click search ads, etc).
Now, Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites provide great opportunities to connect with a lot of new people and draw them to your website. They have become a third major source of new visitors.
Let’s Check the Numbers
Last year we added a Facebook page which currently has 469 fans and a Twitter profile which currently has 3300 followers. We post links to all our blog articles on both Facebook & Twitter.
It’s difficult to tell how many visitors this blog gets from social media because most twitter users use an app instead of Twitter.com. In analytics & stats, visitors from Twitter apps often appear as “direct” traffic or as coming from one of the URL shortening services. But we estimate 2% of our blog traffic is currently coming from social media.
In January 2007, this blog was getting 6.8% of its traffic from search engines. That percentage has dropped to 5.3%. However, overall blog traffic has grown 70% over the last 3 years. Even though the percentage of visitors coming from search engines is down, the actual number of visitors is up significantly and still more than double those coming from social media.
Actual Results May Vary
Of course, your results may be very different depending on a number of factors including how much effort you’ve put into SEO and social networking.
The bottom line is search engines provide a greater opportunity for connecting with people and building traffic than ever before.
How about you? Have you checked your logs or analytics lately? What percentage of your website visitors are coming from search engines? Social media sites?
How much effort/resources are you putting into SEO vs social media?