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Social Media Vs SEO – Which is Better?

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From last few days there has been a lot of buzz in blogosphere and amongst online marketers about which has better ROI – Social media or SEO. Well, this debate is not new as similar questions have arisen a lot of times in past including the recent blog post on pro blogger “Why Social Media Is a Better Investment than SEO”.  The post basically covers the author experiences about why Social Media is better than SEO. And, in this article we’ll try to look a bit deeper to understand the difference between both approaches and which one is better.

What is the main difference between traffic you get from search engines and Social media?

People search for what they need at that moment. If someone searches for “Camera reviews” it means that they are planning to buy camera. On other hand, people do not join social media sites to search something. They join Facebook or Twitter to make connections and to network with their friends. And through this network they may discover some new content which can grab their attention.

Now how this Difference can Impact your business –

In SEO, a person optimizes his website for certain keywords so he basically has an idea about where the visitors are located in commercial cycle. Like as mention in our previous example, if your website ranks for keyword “Camera reviews”, you know the visitors you get from search engines are interested in buying cameras. But, in social media you do not have any idea regarding the intention of traffic you get from social media sites. They come to your website because they have seen a mention of your website or your content through your social media networks and may turn to your customers in near future.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Social Media

After looking at the traffic quality and how it can impact your business here are the benefits and drawbacks of Social Media –

Benefits –

  1. Of course you get more exposure for your business.
  2. You get a chance to build a community for your products which is not possible or comparatively more difficult with search engine traffic.
  3. It is easier to interact with your target audience – you can get their feedback and your potential customers can also contact you whenever they want. So it is a win-win situation.
  4. Your reach amongst your target audience would increase exponentially.  For e.g. – If your follower tweets about you then your follower’s followers will also come to know about you. In a way you’d be getting free promotion among your follower’s followers.


  1. Social Media is not an overnight process. It takes a lot of time to build a following on social media sites like SEO.
  2. Social Media is not effective for all kind of businesses. Businesses who deal in premium(expensive) quality products or B2B business can’t expect sales from social media platforms ( though they can use it to build credibility)
  3. ROI (Return of Investment) and Conversion rate of traffic from social media sites is low as compared to search engine traffic.
  4. Traffic you get from social media is for short time. For e.g. – If you are promoting your content on twitter, you’d be getting traffic only till you get tweets and re-tweets. But, in SEO you’d get traffic for longer period if your content ranks on first page for your keywords.


The conclusion to all debate is that both SEO and Social Media have their own benefits and drawbacks. Both Search engines and social media are the biggest source of traffic no marketer can afford to ignore any source of traffic. Also, you need to have patience and work hard to be successful in both search engines and social media. So there should be no “either SEO or social media” approach, instead of that there should be “Social media and SEO approach”.

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