Blog marketing: Do social networks outrank search engines?

An interesting article over at Promotion World declares why search engine traffic is not vital to blogs, outlining the strategies bloggers should already be using to drive traffic and, eventually, loyal readers to their blog.

At first I jumped to a conclusion, thinking that the author (TJ Philpott) was saying that search engine ranking and traffic is not important at all.

In fact, that’s not what’s being said — more that SEO (search engine optimisation) and ranking in itself isn’t a necessity for a successful blog.

This should be music to the ears of most bloggers — in fact, any web site publisher — because anyone who has been publishing online for even a modest amount of time knows how fickle search engines can be. One day, you’re riding high on Google, the next you’ve been mysteriously dropped (you probably didn’t do anything wrong, either).

It’s probably fair to say that most passing traffic comes to blogs from search engines — and the majority of that from Google — but the article suggests that spending a bit more time focusing on social networks and social media can pay real dividends.

It does depend to a certain extent on the purpose of your blog, of course.

If you’re merely trying to get footfall in order to increase revenue from advertising, then search engine ranking equals better traffic and more profit.

If, however, you want to build reader loyalty and sense of community (and in turn, perhaps, sell via affiliate marketing, which tends to do better once a level of reader trust has been built up) then SEO may not be enough.

Inbound links from other blogs certainly help, but they can be hard to achieve.

The article suggests that using social media to encourage visitors to your site may not only increase repeat visitors, but can give you a better insight into what readers actually want as you “socialise” on these sites.

It’s interesting food for thought, but the main take-home point for me is that, like income, diversification of visitor sources is vital for the success of most blogs.

I personally don’t think one type of marketing is better than the other, but both should be used in balance to bring visitors to your blog.

What do you think? Are you switching more towards social media marketing, or is SEO still very important?

8 thoughts on “Blog marketing: Do social networks outrank search engines?

  1. Yea blogs are great! It expresses more from the blogger, its much more entertaining to know what the blogger has to offer than such sites like Twitter where you tweet and its forgotten. Where as a blog it lasts for the viewer and much more helpful, especially if you have great content.

  2. I think both are needed and required. Sure you can build up a loyal subscriber using both because they both contribute traffic in different ways. SEO is so unpredictable at times and there’s always new social media sties popping up everyday that you can branch into for more subscribers. 6 in one hand half a dozen in the other.

  3. I think blogs, or any other form of social media has become very popular especially facebook and twitter. I believe that social media is very effective in driving traffic to your site and it is not expensive compared to SEO but still I believe using these two in marketing your business would really be helpful.

  4. It’s rapidly evolving, but from the small businesses that we work with, I’d say that a holistic strategy that covers both search and social discovery is the best bet for finding new customers. I wrote about this in a related post here on the back of the data a couple of weeks ago showing that Facebook now accounts for 1 in 4 pageviews in the U.S.

    There is also a deeper side of the story around repeat (vs. new) customers. In that context, social media coupled with email and sms engagement of an existing base is far more important than search. I’ve posted quite a bit on that topic also.

  5. It is very clear to me that social networking is the key to blog traffic if loyalty is your goal. Blogs are about building a reputation and personality with a loyal fan/friend base and as long as you are adding value, you should be able to do that very effectively via social networking efforts. I do find, however, that my statistical data shows my blog being viewed by passers-by Googling for people and things I have mentioned in my blog.

  6. They have outranked search engines for me, by far! I see social promotion as the place where word-of-mouth takes over and search engine marketing as the place where the big fish dominate.

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