Search has traditionally been driven by SEO, or search engine optimization. However, since social media has emerged on the scene, it has been making headway in importance to online business. The problem is that, because of how new it is, people are still trying to figure out how to best leverage its power. So which is the best investment of your time, money, and energy? Online marketing expert Hubspot chimes in with their analysis.
Advantages of SEO:
1) Content creation. Content is the core of any SEO strategy. Utilizing keyword rich content will always provide a boost to search-ability. And the content created for SEO can be repurposed for other business needs, such as email, lead generation, etc.
2) Long term gains that don’t diminish. Search engine indexing means that a page has the potential to return in search engine results pages for any amount of time (assuming the content remains relevant). This implies long-term ROI.
3) Long-tail search yields targeted traffic. If you are optimizing for long-tail search (long keywords that are more targeted) your traffic will be more easily convertible.
4) Inbound links help your website and reputation. One of the best ways to get inbound links is to serve as a guest blogger. This provides links and relationships with others in your area.
5) SEO gives an edge to local business. Using SEO for mobile will put your brick-and-mortar ahead of the game, as you will be targeting people traveling in your area who are searching for what you offer, on the go.
6) SEO is easier than it used to be. Google’s algorithm is getting smarter, meaning it’s focusing more on content designed for readers, not search engines. Coming back to the first point, it is more and more coming back to creating amazing content.
Disadvantages of SEO:
1) It takes a lot of time. Simply put, good content creation takes a lot of effort and time. For some, it is overwhelming.
2) You still have to invest in technical SEO. Unless you are an SEO expert yourself, you will need to hire someone to handle redirects, site structure, meta tags, etc.
3) You have to worry about multiple search engines. Google is not the only one out there. Particularly in the case of niche engines, you may find yourself having to deal with SEO on multiple levels.
4) Too much is out of your control. Offsite SEO is the biggest part of SEO. But this also happens to be the part that is most difficult to control.
5) You can’t measure everything. After some changes in 2011, marketers lost serious insights into their sources of organic traffic. This has impacted anywhere between 11.36% to over 50% of searches.
6) Requires long-term upkeep. You need to be constantly updating your content in order to maintain your placement. This once again brings us back to the first point: you need to be constantly creating new content.
(Source: Hubspot, “SEO vs. Social Media: Which is Best for Your Marketing?”)