If I only have the resources to pick one, should I focus more on search or social?
I read that search still drives about a third of all traffic to a website (still more than social). However, since I am just a one-woman operation trying to get my business idea started... Social seems easier for me to pick up. In the early stages of a startup with limited resources, is search or social going to make more of an impact on starting my business? Thanks in advance for all the advice. This community has been really helpful.
Search is a lost cause for a new website -- this is something that many will disagree with, but the fact of the matter is that Google has created an atmosphere that makes it nearly impossible to run a new website entirely from search WITHOUT significant, repetitive PPC for brand awareness (since nobody will know you exist, unless you forcefully jump into the picture). In other words, if you can't piggyback on another established brand to help you get the word out about your site, then your ability to appear in Google organic for any kind of worthwhile keyword will be an exhausting struggle these days.
It's borderline insane to not focus all of your attention in social with any new website these days - the ability to gather a niche audience is far more attainable than it is in SERPs. Paid programs like Facebook Ads are more granular and far more affordable than AdWords.
Much of the journey in social is to decide which venues are best for you (Twitter, FB or YouTube -- all, or some) and what the focus will be for your entry into each of them. Look at what your more successful competitors are doing on these social sites, and take note of what seems to be working most successfully for them. This will help you shape your own campaign. Don't be afraid of the more ridiculous/simple methods like memes, they get shares...and attention.
Search (Google rankings) will come when links are naturally built to your site, not when you manufacture them yourself. One of the few ways that a brand new starter can hope to get these links is through others who have noticed them in social networks. If your content is interesting enough to your niche community, you'll get regular links coming in. The rest is all up to your site's internal SEO and now naturally it reads (no more keyword stuffing!)
It is hard to answer this without knowing more about your business in terms of its size, existing online presence and goals. When you add to the fact that SEO and Social Media have a very strong relationship it is really hard to just choose one.
When it comes to on-page SEO for smaller pages it can be hard to find more on-site technical SEO advantages than using various SEO plugins or following some basic direction. Link building or off site SEO is all about gaining great links back to your website and investing in social media will help with this.
Social media is something that in some shape or form I would suggest investing in. This is because it changes so often and seen as a rather simple world as anyone can use these platforms but actually social media marketing is a completely different skill set. It can be hard though for many small businesses to know what services are best for them when it comes to social media - too many times have I seen an agency try to up sell a service that isn't right for the business. Hiring someone in-house has it's own challenges though too - it is a big investment especially if you want someone that is highly skilled and experienced.
At the end of the day it really does depend on your business, your budget and goals - that will determine the best course of action for you.
Sorry it is not a straight forward answer but digital marketing is a complex world
Depends on your startup type. If it's something interesting for people (games, music, literature, etc), you'd better focus on social media, because... People like to discuss what they are interested in.
If your startup is more business-oriented (boring for the masses, but still provides services that people need), you'd pick search optimization.
you really must choose the one that make you sing,
I Will survive
I am studying Google Adwords and to be honest if you are just starting out I would get a blog and Install jetpack plugin, Claim your Google Business Page and work on your social for now - I hate to see people spend money they dont have to get a business started ( Im a straight shooter ( start with what you can do and grow as your biz grows.
Hi Erica, I would say that you at least do basic SEO on your website so that over time it will hopefully rank but use social to bring in actual traffic now. For social, the more content you can provide the better, do articles, post in different social platforms, answer questions about your topic in forums and if you have some money, run paid ads on facebook or some of the other social media platforms.
Given the stage of your business' development and target markets the short answer is Social Media, for now anyway.
Search is a quantitative platform: How much? Where? When? etc.
Social is a qualitative platform: Is it best? Do others like? etc.
If you absolutely must have a birchbox today, you'll use search. If you are interested in ideas regarding books, authors, etc., you'll see what other "like minded" folks think and you'll gravitate toward social.
Building a following on social takes time and multiple platforms. The key is "engagement" of your friends, followers, etc. You must capture their interest with compelling content that they will want to share with others outside of your immediate network. Then they become followers and your network grows.
Social is more than Facebook. Women dominate users on Pinterest. Instagram is more popular with young audiences vs. older ones. Snap Chat is big with millennials. Managing and touching each of these platforms can be overwhelming so you may want to check out a management system like HootSuite that will distribute your posts out to multiple platforms.
Nevertheless, you need a website and soon. Don't worry too much now on SEO. Do some keyword research for sure. Google's Keyword Planner is a great tool. Create your title tags (10-70 chars) and meta descriptions (70-160 chars) based on your keyword research. Take a shot at structured markup at schema.org. Your site doesn't need to be perfect from the start. In fact, it's best to edit, tweak, revise regularly. Search engines like it when you do that (fresh content).
Connect your blog (,more fresh content) and let your six months of effort get more attention. Seek out other blogs relevant to your product, target market, and post and/or repost from there. That will get you some relevant backlinks to your site over time and introduce you to like-minded folks.
Lots more could be, and probably has, been suggested. But hopefully this will give you some starting points. Good luck!
BTW...a client of ours is promoting a free online activity for kids in grades 2-5 to teach the four genres of creative writing. Could they be a resource for you and vice versa? We are redesigning their website now but you can get an idea of what they're all about at the old site ewritingforkids.org Let me know if you would like an introduction.
great question, Assuming your asking SEO vs Social media and I know you don't want to hear it, but you need both. Social Media Citation are becoming more and more an important factor when it comes to SEO. And to be honest, there is no reason why you can't do both.
They are plenty of free tools, one that I give to my clients, that you can use to post to social media channels that you can schedule out a head of time. Also if your website is built on Wordpress, you can post to your site and it can be sent to various social channels.
SEO will result (over time) in better ROI, but unless you know what you are doing, SEO is can take longer and is harder to get going. You have to deal with onpage SEO, inbound SEO, NAP, Social Media Citation and so much more.
So the question is, which would be easier for you to do? I still say with free tools, you can have and will need to do both.
Good luck if you need any other help please ask
Search might be better for building up numbers, social is better for long-term relationships.
Hi Erica. Well that's a tough one as both are intertwined and created to work in conjunction with one another. This read might be able to help you with your understanding of SEO and how it relates to social. SEO CRASH COURSE...http://www.socialmindmedia.com/socialmindmedia-social-minded-blog/2016/1/19/seo-crash-course-10-tips-for-beginners
I am assuming that your work life is "mixed" in with non-work life. With that initial premise, I would suggest putting work resources into search. There are numerous aspects of your online business presence that can be optimized for search, all of which consume time to build, validate and grow. Much of this work is limited in visual appeal (relative to social), so the content required may be a bit easier to develop in the constraints of a work environment. The social aspect of your startup I see as a bit easier to mix in with your non-work online presence. I think social media is more visually oriented than search, so a 'better' visual environment could lead to better visual content, which in turn could well attract more eyeballs to your social efforts, some of which could trickle into increased awareness of your startup. People tend to like stories. Reading about and seeing pictures/video of interesting places and activities forms a good impression of you as the leader of a startup. That good impression could lead to new followers, friend requests, and connections, any of which could benefit your business. Do not post pix of you out drinking with your buddies. That's not quite the right content for a good impression. Finally, I'm a fan of email newsletters. They're now moldy oldies, but I think they continue to provide value. In your case a newsletter could offer a venue for collecting contact info and building awareness of your startup as well as a platform to tell a mix of stories, both business and non-business.
Search engines don't see all pages as equal. Google, for example, does NOT apply the same weight to social pages as others. Just because a link is pushed out on social doesn't mean it will necessarily be factored-in to search.
However, if that linked is widely shared, then search engines WILL take that into account with ranking - but still not at the same level as SEO.
All other things being equal, Search (i.e. SEO) will give you a higher ranking than social. Why? Because Google does not currently use signals from Facebook or Twitter to influence its search results.
How do I know this? Because both Matt Cutts and John Mueller, senior Search engineers at Google, say so:
Be on social media not for search rankings, but to build up your brand and help drive qualified traffic.
What I understand from your question without knowing your product is that you are comparing your Website or Search Engine Optimization - SEO visibility to your potential customers against your social media like Facebook, Linkedin etc. visibility to your potential customers.
If I am right then in my opinion you should move in the direction where you feel confident but don't get yourself stuck in a single comfort zone only.
In order to build businesses you have to be dynamic and should be able to optimize all fronts.
I would suggest that you first define your success to yourself in your venture and the time in which you feel you should achieve it. Then compare your business development strategy overtime.When you feel you are lagging behind just increase your efforts on visibility and marketing.
One thing which you have to keep in mind is that you are the ultimate risk and reward bearer so the more your reach to your potential customers the better chance of getting a business. And once you get the business the better chance of propagating your goodwill.
If at any point in time you are not reachable by any potential customer anywhere in the world its your opportunity cost. And someone else who reaches the customer at that point in time can encash the opportunity.
So keep your strategy dynamic with multiple channel interaction to customers.Creativity in terms of marketing to customers will be the key to success.
Hope I answered your question.
Best Of Luck.
North York, Canada
Good evening Erica,
Listen, the last thing you need is for anyone to waste your time. Your time is valuable! With that said, let's be brief and to the point.
Taking the time to actually look through your profile, the questions and every response you have received over the past 3-4 months really gave me an insight into how serious you are in pursuing your idea...your business.
You are certainly persistent Erica, and your 'birchbox for books'...yes I'm a bookworm too...has the potential of being a viable business.
First of all, remember that nothing is ever easy...however most everything is indeed SIMPLE. The only reason I say this is because of the vast array of 'advice' you have been given here and on other questions you have asked over the past 3 months had me confused on what you should do...you may have been confused as well?
From what I've learned through reading your profile, your questions asked and the responses to each question, I would like to give you a summary of simple choices that will not challenge your 'limited resources'.
---Erica, you had stated that you want to reach "young, new and old Authors" to have them contribute to your business. Is this still a need? If so, this will be simple to achieve.
---You also had concerns about the best social platform to reach millennials. This too will be simple...
---You have concerns here wether to use social or search, with limited resources, to gain the most impact for your business. Again, This will be a simple crystal clear solution to get your idea up and running as a profitable business.
Forgive me Erica, I promise that from this point on, I'll be brief and to the point...
1st-- I know you really did not care for your first 6 months of blogging because of the time strain and little results...You're budget is tight and so is your free time...I completely understand however getting a domain name that you own costs roughly $10-$15 a year...and hosting for your domain costs roughly $4-$8 per month. I GUARANTEE you that using ANY free service such as Wix, Weebly, Tumblr etc etc. will completely waste your time, whether you choose to focus on Social or Search.
2nd-- Your focus should first be on reaching out to the Authors who you want to contribute to your business. Don't worry about the 'Millennials' and where they are on Social media...unless they are the Authors you are looking for?
Honestly, to attract the Authors...who will make or possibly break your business...you will only need to show these Authors your ability to communicate, organize and effectively Market a product.
Remember, this is not easy however it is simple. Learning a couple of new skills may take a little bit of time...depends on just how much you want this business to be successful.
Erica...it is very important to think and form the "Big Picture' in your mind, as I truly believe you have done yet more importantly it's the small simple pieces of the puzzle that bring out the beauty of the picture.
Listen, if you need help such as obtaining a domain name, Hosting, someone to guide you through setting up your own blog/website, creating content that nearly forces people to read or watch, build your blog into it's own Social hub...all you have to do is contact me here on MosaicHub. Don't Worry...I did not ask you for money and never will...I only asked if I could help.
With Sincere Gratitude,
Hi Erica, as has been already noted by several colleagues, this depends on your target market to which your product or service is focused. SEO will always be an important strategy to consider, but it takes time to get results and there are several practices you can develop by your own without involving costs; very important : to maintain a blog within your website and constantly changing content based on the profile of your customers. Likewise there are many Social Media strategies that you can develop yourself, the key thing here is to define a strategy in line with your marketing objectives and target your social media communication to achieve those objectives. A good standing practice in Social Media will help your SEO
It's an interesting question! If we were sitting in the same room discussing this, I might recommend you rethink the actual question. What I mean is just the clarification of what constitutes resources. Do you mean you "think" you have a set budget and can only afford one or the other? If thats the case, I think you're on the right track. With a little help, you can use your time resources to advance your social footprint but most likely, you don't have the training to do the same thing from an organic search perspective. This being the case, I would use those financial resources on a certified digital marketing professional and at the same time, get some guidance on some social media strategies. You can handle the time consuming social strategies more than you can handle the search (SEO, blogging, analytics) demands.
Building your reputation on the internet with social media is key - depending on your target market - you will need to be on the networks that they are - if your target audience is younger - you need to do a little research for the social media networks they are on - with social media it is more then posting about your dog or having a good day - though you should mix a bit of personal in with the business aspect.
With the social networks it isn't about selling! It is all about the relationships - how people connect with you - they need to learn to trust you and your opinion, your tips, your business sense. They need to know what your cause is - you may favor a specific type of non-profit or volunteer at the hospital or help with hospice -
Many want to learn much more about you - this is a key factor - I can speak for myself - I have built my business totally on referral - I do not advertise in the traditional way nor in any way - yet I am very very busy - that is because I have built up my internet reputation - Word of mouth is powerful -
Set up your social networks - make sure you are on Yelp, Foursquare, Squirm, Google + - register that business with other internet directories - depending on what you are using for a website - if it is wordpress you can install plugins that will sync and verify with the key internet networks - Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, Alexa and Pinterest
Hi, Erica, SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing work together to get you on the first page of Google. Here's an article I wrote on LinkedIn that explains how it works and why you can't do one without the others:
AZ Social Media Wiz
Focus on Social.
But wait.. You can get search benefits too. Just make sure your website is properly optimized with the targeted phrases. Make great use of blogging. This will sort your SEO worries to a huge extent until you're ready to hire a good service.
I don't know all the details about your business, but in my opinion you are making a common small business marketing mistake by implementing marketing TACTICS without grand MARKETING STRATEGY.
The selection of your media should be based on several things, one being, where is your TARGET MARKET hanging out online. Have you developed a profile of your IDEAL CLIENT?
Before you go spending money and time on marketing you need to answer some basic questions, whatch this video: https://youtu.be/IRpgIc7B-VU
Just a few of my thoughts.
To your success,
the Marketing Coach