Thursday, 10 April 2014



I know, I know, this headline does sound controversial and I want it to be exactly that; controversial. I said in an earlier article, that the World Wide Web as a scientific body of knowledge and systems is conforming to the very definition of Science; a body of knowledge that is, tentative, cumulative and self-correcting. 
Tentative meaning nothing is cast in stone, there is always room to throw out the old and throw in the new. Cumulative, because useful additions are created almost on a daily basis and self- correcting because it has its own inbuilt capacity to tweak new and better ways of operating.

One could not dispute this assumption when you consider the myriad of changes that have taken place on the web since the last decade, including new and better operating systems and programs, the advent of web 2.0, the Google slap; its effect on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the ever increasing presence of Social Media Sites.

The point I am making is that Search Engine Optimization requirements and strategies, have not only changed significantly in the last decade, but seems to be becoming increasingly less significant in generating a constant flow of targeted website traffic, and by extension improve online income. I firmly believe that Social MediaMarketing is taking over. 

In this article, I would like to look briefly at how SEO works; the difficulty and costs involved in optimizing a web site and then look at Social Media traffic- generating capacity and the level of difficulty involved in optimizing social media usage for traffic generation.

What really is SEO?

In a nutshell, Search Engines-(sites which allow people to search for information by putting in Keywords), such as Google and Yahoo send crawlers  to websites in order to determine what position that site should be ranked in a search. Notice my screen shot below showing the top ranking site for my search: How does SEO work.

Optimizing a site to get an effective ranking is what is referred to as SEO-Search Engine Optimization. Basically this involves some standard methods. There is what is called ‘white hat’ and ‘black hat’ methods. Here are just five examples of white and black hat SEO techniques.

Five ‘white hat optimization’ techniques:
 Use of Meta Tags: these are data tags that lie between the opening and closing head tags in the HTML code of a document. The text in these tags are not shown but tells the browsers or other web services specific information about the page.
  • Use of Meta Tags: these are data tags that lie between the opening and closing head tags in the HTML code of a document. The text in these tags are not shown but tells the browsers or other web services specific information about the page
  • Include keywords in the title of your web page Include keywords in your headers.     
  • Include keywords in your content
  • Search Engines also use Link analysis: that is how many web pages link to your pages. If these pages rank high in Google they will improve your site’s ranking.
  • Provide high quality content.
     Five 'black hat' SEO techiques:

  • Key word stuffing; that is loading the page content with keywords
  • Including keywords not relevant to the text in an attempt to trick web crawlers by researching which search terms are more popular.
  • Use of invisible text by using text that matches the page background color
  • Using several web pages with popular search terms that redirects visitors to another page which has no bearing on the search terms.
  • Selling and farming links: this includes buying links from other sites to boost a page ranking. A link farm is a collection of web pages that links with each other in order to increase each page’s rank.

With the Search Engines fine tuning their web crawlers users of black hat techniques have paid their penalties. In about 2007 onwards the so-called Google slap put many of the black hat multiple sites out of business.

The difficulty with SEO

The biggest challenge in SEO approaches is finding a content balance that satisfies both the visitors to the Web page and search engine spiders. A site that's entertaining to users might not be appealing to a search engine's radar. A site that's optimized for search engines may be boring and unattractive to users.

One area of concern with the way search engine spiders crawl through sites has to do with media files. Most people browsing Web pages get bored withlong pages of text. Users want to see photos, video or other forms of media that can add to their browsing experience. Unfortunately, most search engines skip over image and video content when indexing a site.

To get a site fully optimized requires training and experience and usually webmasters end up paying SEO consultants tidy sums of money for optimization.(1)

Social Media marketing

Basically what this means is using social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest and the many other social networking sites to boost online marketing. 

Like anything else, there are also strategies involved in maximizing the use of social media sites. Nobody likes to be bombarded with advertisement so establishing yourself on a social media site has to follow a particular guide. The difference with this and SEO is that these techniques are quite ‘learnable’ by the average joe. Apart from enhancing business, all these social media sites involve exchange of individual live communication and socialization which is a plus in comparison to the tediousness of SEO, particularly if the individual is not a ‘techie’ or knowledgeable about HTML.

Let us now look at the potential for traffic from Social media sites.

The statistics below are taken from the eBizMBA website, showing the fifteen most popular Social Networking Sites and updated for April, 2014.

Social Site                                         Estimated unique Monthly unique visitors

Facebook                                               900,000,000

Twitter                                                   310,000,000

LinkedIn                                                 250,000,000

Pinterest                                                 150,000,000

Google+                                                  120,000,000

Tumblr                                                    110,000,000

Instagram                                                85,000,000

VK                                                            80,000,000

Flickr                                                       65,000,000

MySpace                                                  40,000,000

Tagged                                                     38,000,000                                                      37,000,000

Meetup                                                     35,000,000

MeetMe                                                   10,500,000

ClassMates                                              10,000,000

You may want to check this out!

I thought about tallying for a grand total but I am no math genius and I doubt whether my calculator could accommodate the zeros. Now, how is that for traffic? If a marketer could get on all of these platforms and eke out 1000 targeted buyers from each of them? You do the math-I told you I am no math genius.

My point of this long winded discussion is simply this: with Social media sites almost exploding the internet, springing up here and there; all of them accelerating their membership and with no seeming possibility of declining;WHO REALLY NEEDS SEO TO MARKET ONLINE?

Please include attribution to with this graphic.

A Quick Peek Into the Current State of Social Media Marketing [INFOGRAPHIC]


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