Larry Brauner

Social media sites are rapidly altering the web marketing landscape. Now you can use social media to drive targeted traffic to your websites.

You may be trying to determine whether social media is a viable alternative to search engine optimization.

After all, search engine optimization requires extensive keyword research and ongoing content development to achieve top search engine rankings. Is it possible that social media sites might provide a more expedient web marketing solution?

I’ve found in my experience that social networking sites and other social media can generate a modest level of response much more quickly than search engine optimization initiatives. So why not focus exclusively on social marketing?

Social Media AND Search Engine Optimization

Please read The Long Tail and Social Media, and you’ll start to appreciate the extent to which search engine optimization can enhance social media.

Not only does search engine optimization help you promote your website, it also helps you promote your social media content. Your website and your social media together constitute your web presence, and search engine optimization helps you to market your overall web presence.

Interestingly, the converse is also true.

Social media helps your search engine optimization efforts. It adds to the links back to your website generating both referral traffic and credibility with the various search engines.

They key is to coordinate your social media and search engine optimization, creating the maximum synergy between the two through an integrated approach.

The New Online Marketing Professional

It’s no longer enough for online marketing pros to be fluent in search engine optimization technique. They must also fully understand social media sites and their role in building both your online presence and the desired backlinks to your website.

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24 Responses to “Social Media vs. Search Engine Optimization”

  1. Andrea Goodsaid on June 21st, 2009 11:36 pm

    Yeppers Larry -

    Totally agree with you that these are two parts of the same puzzle and some of each makes everything flow.

    So important to learn how to do keyword research even if you’re planning mostly a social networking approach - it’s the best way I know to get a real handle on what’s going on online; what markets are hungry yet underserved …

    Great post as always :)


  2. Nimesh Shah on June 22nd, 2009 1:46 am

    I agree with you Larry. Both feed on each other and are required to produce optimal results.

    Social media has other advantages like receiving feedback about one’s brand, discussing about a campaign etc which is more than just visibility.


  3. Jeanine Mercer on June 22nd, 2009 2:40 am

    It would be nice if all of our social media sites interlinked with all of our websites bringing it all together so that we won’t have to! Do you think that will ever be done?

  4. Larry Brauner on June 22nd, 2009 10:57 am


    Web 3.0, the Semantic Web, is already taking shape.

    Web 3.0 will make information that is diverse easier to access and to aggregate, and it will facilitate the “bringing it all together” that you and other social media enthusiasts are looking for.

  5. Debbie Morgan on June 22nd, 2009 1:34 pm

    Hi Larry!

    Thanks for a great post. I agree too. I like social marketing for the chance to interact with potential customers and give them a glance at the humans side of my business. They get to meet me and know my heart for helping people stay safe.


  6. Neal Schaffer on June 22nd, 2009 1:57 pm


    Thanks for your insightful article. A lot of business owners still don’t understand social media and how it can help their business, but you have described it ever so concisely and eloquently. Social Media (for some) = SEO is a great way of looking at it, although, as you mention, the two really do complement each other and in Web 2.0 you shouldn’t have one without the other.

    - Neal

  7. Roy Jannis on June 25th, 2009 5:40 pm

    Yes, social media is one method of off-page search engine optimization. I prefer to combine SEO techniques and share the links at numerous social bookmarking sites.

    Thanks for sharing, Larry.

    Roy Jannis

  8. Mike Logan on June 25th, 2009 6:19 pm

    Hi Larry,

    You just gave me an idea, to discuss SEO in my social media presentations. I need to pay closer attention to that.


    Mike Logan

  9. Mark Sintong on June 27th, 2009 3:21 pm


    Creating good SEO techniques will be perfect if they go with an excellent social media campaign. But both of them are worth working hard to do. Thanks for sharing mate. Your article is written in an enjoyable style.

    Mark Sintong

  10. Yuva on July 1st, 2009 2:08 am

    I do agree that SEO and social networking sites are indispensable commodities in Internet marketing these days with both going hand in hand.

    The social networking sites like Twitter give lot of exposure to our businesses and lots of traffic to our sites, but the conversion rate is dismal compared with search engines.

    Hence both are helping each other by itself by one increasing traffic and the other increasing leads. So we need both of these things!

  11. Larry Brauner on July 1st, 2009 1:24 pm

    Thank you Yuva for your comment.

    A social media campaign should not have either traffic or leads as their main focus.

    The main focus of a social media campaign ought to be community building.

    As I stated in What is Wrong with Ning:

    Communities are the essence of social media, not lists, and social marketing must therefore favor community building over list building.

  12. Another Blogger on July 5th, 2009 1:46 am

    Yup. I need this article to maximize my social networking to get more visitors ;) thanks brother!

  13. Another Blogger on July 5th, 2009 1:46 am

    Dropped EC too ;)

  14. Boris @ Arizona SEO Services on July 9th, 2009 5:54 pm


    I have only ever acquired one client through social media. All the rest of my SEO business has come through Google.

    I use social media for branding purposes, for networking, and for link building. I have about a 98% bounce rate from social media traffic.

  15. Larry Brauner on July 10th, 2009 11:03 am

    I think Boris that there are many ways to use social media. I have enjoyed lots of success with it.

    The main point I was trying to make in my article is that social media and search engine optimization can make great partners.

  16. Steve Downes on July 28th, 2009 11:53 am

    Larry, I was re-writing my website when your tweet popped up. Great article. Would you mind if I used it on my site, if I reference it properly of course?

  17. Larry Brauner on July 28th, 2009 12:22 pm

    Steve, feel free to use parts of articles with references.

  18. Larry Brauner on August 12th, 2009 4:02 pm

    Read about Social Media vs. Search Engine Optimization from a totally new angle:

    The NEW Search Engine Optimization

    According to the spin in that article, web marketing is about to undergo its most radical change since the introduction of social media.

  19. sven on September 13th, 2009 4:52 am

    Interesting! Always looking for useful SEO tips.

  20. Michelle on November 16th, 2009 12:43 pm

    I’m a newbie at search engine optimization and I still need to study more on internal linking. Currently, what I do to optimize my website is just make as many backlinks as possible.

  21. Pretty Women Gallery on January 4th, 2010 5:02 am

    Search engine optimization is indeed an important strategy to increase traffic into your website. If you have an online business, more visitors mean higher possibility of buyers. And if you have a monetized blog, more visitors mean higher possibility of more people clicking on the ads. I do SEO for my websites and blogs. And this has helped me a lot in my success.

  22. Kimberly Moore on March 8th, 2010 10:20 am


    Great points - Social Media and SEO are like peanut butter and jelly - you can use them alone but they are better together!

    Have a great week!

  23. Social Media Marketing Impacts SEO on June 30th, 2010 2:43 pm

    […] wrote last year in The Long Tail and Social Media and Social Media vs. Search Engine Optimization about ways in which your social media marketing can be helped by search […]

  24. search engine optimization tutorial on April 12th, 2011 9:13 pm

    Hi Larry,

    Again social media is a great way to promote your site and get links but not that much traffic.

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