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SEO Still Has Long Term Value

A lot of the focus of internet marketing has shifted in recent years to counting how many ‘likes’ you have collected, and what the social media reach of your brand page wall posts is, but the fact is that the bulk of online traffic originates in the search engines. It is still more important to have a highly visible corporate website to successfully build your online presence, than it is to have thousands of followers on Facebook, therefore making SEO more important and relevant than ever.

Statistics show that 91%1 of all people use search engines, and some estimates put the amount of traffic that visits most websites that originates in one of the SERPs as high as 70%2. With over 50% of people now using mobile devices to find things in the real world, being visible in the SERPs may have an immediate and positive impact on your business’ revenues. This means that in many instances the last thing that customers did before making a purchase was to find the business online, and the place that they found it was in the SERPs.

Similarly, online marketers measure the success of their campaigns on the basis of how many click-throughs they have had, and generally assign more value to the last click visitors over the first click visitors, because the former are more likely to convert to sales. Of all of the avenues that drive traffic to the checkout on your website, search engines are more often the last click that customers use to find your site to make a purchase, while social media and PPC ads are more often the first click that customers make to find your business in the first place. Both are equally important to generating online sales, but the search engine is the one that is most likely to be driving actual sales because when users find your links in the SERPs, it is because they are specifically looking for it.

The real advantage that having good SEO has over social media marketing is its longevity. With a short shelf life, social media posts fade from the top stories list within a few hours in most cases, requiring a new message to be posted to maintain a presence on the medium. A blog post or a product page that is visible in the SERPs will remain visible at the top of the SERPs for years in some cases. The long life span of search engine listings means that the content that you have worked on to represent you and your business remains relevant for much longer and keeps working for you long after the links to it on Facebook have faded into history.

All of this reveals that the value of social media marketing is mostly in the potential that it has for directing traffic and building links to the content that you have listed in the SERPs, like your corporate blog. With less than one in twenty Facebook brand pages enabling their shopping cart3 it is apparent that almost all online sales are occurring on a corporate website, so it makes sense to maintain the visibility of that page in the search engines where the majority of customers will find it. In our enthusiasm to embrace the benefits of social media advertising, it is easy to lose sight of the things that have proven to be reliable sources of traffic. Neglecting your SEO efforts because you think you can drive traffic away from Twitter may be a mistake that could possibly require a lot of effort to repair later, when you have dropped out of the SERPs.

References:
1.Search Engine Use 2012, Pew Research Center, Kristen Purcell, Joanna Brenner, Lee Rainie
2.http://www.roi.com.au/beginners-search-engine-marketing/percentage-of-website-traffic-generated-from-search-engines/#.T54-PbPzuSo
3.http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/facebook-twitter-and-the-state-of-social-commerce-infographic_b19026

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