Which One Should You Use?

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There are many ways to gain visibility and drive traffic, with search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing being the top strategies used by marketers. What are the differences, and which one should you prioritize?

Here’s a comparison to help you decide which one is right for you.

When To Use SEO Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing

SEO is best for research-based, long-form, in-depth content such as how-to articles that answer your audience’s questions. Meanwhile, social media marketing is more effective for content that triggers an emotional response and contains visual components.

Search is better at targeting people based on what they’re thinking at the moment (i.e., what they enter into the search box), and social media platforms help you reach people based on who they are (i.e., demographics, interests, preferences).

SEO is more likely to help you get in front of people with a high purchase intent—especially if you target long-tail keywords. On the other hand, people who see social media posts are less likely to buy but more likely to share the content and spread awareness.

It takes time for SEO to generate results. Even the most effective strategy could take months or even years to build up a brand’s credibility. Meanwhile, you can see results much faster on social platforms after you have grown a following.

Organic search can become an ongoing, passive source of visitors—a high-quality evergreen blog post can bring you traffic for years to come. Meanwhile, social media marketing involves many short-lived actions and requires ongoing efforts.

It’s easier to measure visibility and traffic with search marketing but harder to gauge engagement. Conversely, engagement metrics are easy to track on social media platforms, but total visibility is more challenging to report.


SEO and Social Should Work Hand-in-hand


SEO and Social Should Work Hand-in-hand

The answer to the “search or social” question is not black-and-white. In fact, the two channels work best when they create a virtuous cycle that builds visibility and drives traffic. They’re interdependent and should be used complementarily to increase your brand’s visibility and discoverability.

When you share click-worthy content on social media, you drive traffic to your website. The increase in traffic signals to search engines that your content is relevant and your brand is credible, thereby improving your SEO ranking and driving more organic traffic.

When other website owners or brands see your social media posts and share a link to your blog post on their websites, the backlink can help increase your page authority and move up your search engine rankings.

SEO and social can work together hand-in-hand to help you gain exposure, build brand awareness, nurture relationships, and boost credibility.


Putting the Online Marketing Puzzle Pieces Together


Putting the Online Marketing Puzzle Pieces Together

Online marketing has become more complex. Companies must understand how different marketing touchpoints work together to deliver an omnichannel brand experience that moves their audience down the sales funnel and drives conversions.

For many businesses, making sure that all the moving pieces work seamlessly together to maximize results can be challenging. Hiring in-house resources with expertise in every discipline may not be feasible if you have a small team and limited budget.

That’s why more savvy businesses are turning to our integrated marketing solution to ensure that their digital marketing strategies complement each other to achieve the best results.

Learn more and get in touch to see how we can help you navigate the complex world of search and social.



The news and editorial staff of the Bay Area News Group had no role in this post’s preparation.

SEO vs. Social Media: Which One Should You Use?