Search Becomes #1, Again
Search Outpaces Social Media by Nearly 10% in 2017
By Jeremy Ashburn
May 23, 2018
“Everyone” knows that social media is a better source of organic web traffic than search engine referrals, right? Wrong! This “conventional” wisdom has become unconventional, as search outpaced social media in 2017 by nearly 10%.
The last time search beat out social media was 2014, according to a Shareaholic report, cited in a recent Evernote.com article. 2017 search referrals were 34.8% of site visits, compared to 25.6% from social networks.
Why has this occurred? Some pin it to a growing distrust of clicking on social media ad links due to the proliferation of “fake news.” Throw in the now infamous Cambridge Analytica fiasco, which dragged Facebook’s CEO to testify before a puzzled Congress. Since that happened, Facebook visits have declined nearly 12%. However, even with such a big drop, Facebook remains the top social media marketplace.
Google is Still Top Dog
Google is the largest search engine on the web, with an average net share of search engine use nearly 75% in 2017, according to Net Market Share. The sheer number of web users is almost unfathomable, meaning the other web browsers, such as Yahoo, Bing, and others, with an average of 5-10% each, still retain some very respectable numbers in terms of sheer volume.
Don't Bail on Social Media
What does all this mean to businesses looking for online traffic? Should you cut back on social media advertising in favor of upping your SEO game? Not necessarily. The best approach is to cover all your bases. If you’ve been relying heavily on social media for website traffic, please note that the industry is undergoing fundamental changes. Organic reach is becoming more difficult as Facebook and others change their algorithms to favor ads and boosted posts. Translation: your business page will see greater reach with paid social media ads than with organic branded content marketing. However, don’t give up on social media content, and be sure to continue using “best practice” strategies to keep social media content at the highest level of quality. Your audience will thank you for it.
What about your SEO? Is your website positioned to take advantage of the rise in search traffic? Can you deliver a mobile friendly experience for the majority out there searching via their cell phones and tablets? Those who can answer yes to both questions are ahead of the game. If you’re not sure, you’d better find out before you get left behind.
5 Simple SEO Tips
In addition to the importance of working with an expert to hone your SEO score, here are five tips you can you take yourself to see an improvement in search traffic.
1. Remember the cliché, “Content is king.” Good content draws visitors to your site, and it gives them a favorable experience once they get there. Start a blog, and be sure to keep filling it with valuable insights and tips to keep your visitors coming back for more. Good content is shared often, and that provides backlinks to your site, which means increased traffic.
2. Find your keywords and use them wisely. Sometimes finding the best keywords is best left in the hands of a pro. Either way, find them and use them. Don’t just throw them into your pages, but be sure to get them into your content “organically.” Remember, you are writing for humans, not for search engines. However, why not do both?
3. Think locally! Since nearly 60% of searches are done on mobile devices, it stands to reason that many of these searches are aimed at finding local products or services. So don’t overlook using locally targeted search terms in your content.
4. Be mobile responsive. If your site is old, creaky, and doesn’t translate well on mobile devices, it’s time to have it updated or rebuilt. Google’s algorithms place a strong emphasis on mobile search. Be sure you’re in the game.
5. Don’t ditch your social media strategy. Traffic from social media still plays a strong, supporting role in driving traffic to your website.
Keeping your SEO score high means being trendy and following the trends. Even though details may shift like desert sands, good common sense remains the same. Finding the right blend of organic search and social media may seem like a juggling act, but you’ll find this strategy always pays off in good SEO karma.
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