SEO vs. Social Media vs. PPC vs. ?

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Photo credit: anniewong

There has been a really tough battle going on in the blogospere between Social Media and SEO. Experts from each side of the fence valiantly defending their specialty and claiming theirs is the best solution for your business. In most of the arguments, I have seen blown out of proportion statistics or some wildly uncommon case studies but what about us? What about the regular people? The business owners and marketers who are trying to determine where to put our efforts and where we can scale back?

First, I really think you should check out this article from SEOmoz on the Social Media vs. SEO issue – Comparing SEO & Social Media as Marketing Channels

I love the article from SEOmoz. As many of you know, I love numbers to back up a statement and SEOmoz delivers (as usual). What his final points are is that all of the internet marketing pieces work together so we should treat them as such. Social media is about relationships and not ‘marketing’ in the traditional sense. SEO still delivers because we are constantly actively searching for answers, products and services. PPC still kills it in conversion rates but knowing the company before you click increases that even more. All of the pieces work together.

In SEOmoz’s article he explains that people don’t currently use social media to discover new products (as much as social media experts claim they do) but it helps us build relationships with those people, products and services. It is also interesting that he noted that people who have been exposed to a business’ social media presence have a much higher click through rate on those businesses when they show up on the search results page. Social media then plays a role in the quality of those clicks because this is a person who is already familiar with you and perhaps farther along in the purchasing cycle than a person just looking to do some work in the research phase of their search.

To really know you need a plan

With actual results from measured efforts we can tell that this shouldn’t be a one versus the other situation, but we should look at internet marketing more holistically. How each of these pieces work together and how they benefit the next piece.

No matter which internet marketing path you venture down, you have to start with measurable goals and determine what success will look like and what would be the points to measure along the way. As you measure those points you can determine what is working and what is not. Many marketers and businesses don’t take the time to measure results and find themselves guessing about what is delivering and what is not.

The debate will continue, of course. But what we know, the marketers and business owners – is it doesn’t matter how Starbucks uses social media but it matters how we do, it doesn’t matter how Subway optimized it’s web pages or the click through rate Kate Spade got on their PPC spend. It matters how we do and by treating each piece as an extension of the next, we will help ensure that each piece is showing us more return.