Those who know me outside of my role as an SEOptimise writer are aware that I advocate a new approach to SEO called SEO 2.0 which encompasses both social media and SEO elements. I haven’t pushed my own agenda here on SEOptimise but I still believe that it’s true.
On the modern Web you don’t focus solely on Google or other search engines.
Some people mistake SEO 2.0 for a buzzword that means social media marketing but it’s not that either. SEO 2.0 is a holistic approach. Some experts call it digital asset asset optimization, some findability, some inbound marketing. The concepts are very similar. They all try to make sense of the current Webscape as a whole. Like SEO 2.0 they do not artificially differentiate between search and social media. They combine them. Saying SEO is better than social media or vice versa is like saying that
for cars using the wheels is better than the engine.
On the Web you need both search and social media combined to move forward in 2010. While it’s important to separate the two and to know how to deal with each one of them it’s crucial to always remember that they are both part of the bigger picture. Also even the search engines and social sites themselves combine both search and social media these days. Facebook and Twitter for example both focus on search as well and Google attempts to enter social media again and again with multiple tools. So there is no either or when it comes to SEO and social media.
Knowing that search and social media is one changes your whole Web strategy significantly.
You will probably bring together the two teams working on SEO and social media together to connect both sides of the equation. The results are obvious, your business will flourish. It doesn’t make sense to create content for social media and to market it when you don’t add some keywords you target. Social media traffic and attention last only for a short time frame but search will bring users in the long term.
Also it doesn’t make sense to create content solely geared towards the search engines spiders or even users. It’s not 2005 anymore and repetitive barely readable titles and headlines don’t work anymore. You may be lucky and they still work in your niche but soon enough you will wake up to high bounce rates and low conversion rates. Your sales will plummet.
So you need to stop comparing or juxtaposing SEO and social media to succeed. You have to combine both.
For almost two years I have been practicing a very radical approach of SEO 2.0 – I wanted to prove that in a Web 2.0 environment social media SEO is enough. I wanted to show the proof of concept that you don’t need Google anymore. It hasn’t worked out in the long run. I almost did it but it wasn’t sustainable. Still, the combined SEO 2.0 approach, good old SEO best practices and social media participation, outreach, optimization, marketing and strategy really work best.
As I’m a one man army it’s no a problem to take the two and get what I want. Your company or your third party service providers my struggle with it. There is no way to do either or though. Focusing solely on Facebook and Twitter or Google is a recipe for disaster. People search for and find your business using both social media and search engines and via other methods as well (yellow pages, local and niche directories e.g.).
SEO is not the same as social media marketing but there is no gain in artificially choosing one over the the other.
Whenever someone tries to convince that either SEO is better than social media or the other way around ask the person whether s/he prefers the engine or the wheels in a car.
Comparing SEO and social media optimization or search and social media can make sense once you decide to promote a business online. The purpose of such a comparison is not to decide whether you use one or the other but what tactics yu will use on each. Also what will come first? Last but not least you have to be able to plan resources and investments.
Denouncing either SEO or SMO does only make sense as a linkbait strategy to succeed on both social media and search.
* Image by Dodge Challenger1.