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Traditional SEO vs Social Media Marketing

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by Alan Rabinowitz

Social Media MarketingOne very good topic of discussion when considering the most effective campaign for a client to maximize the clients’ Return on Investment (ROI) is to determine whether to consider targeting Social Media Marketing (SMM) aka “LinkBait” or to use traditional SEO link building and advertising.

With as much hype as Social Media is getting, even to the extent of people talking about Google being replaced by social sites, there are still companies fueled by advertising and traditional SEO that dominate the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS).

Social media has its pros and cons and simply does not suit all sites. For instance, there are only so many people that are going to care about barstools. So a bar stool business considering the pricing of social media would not benefit from the costly campaigns that are sold from $5,000 to upwards of $20,000 per link bait concept. The barstool company would need to sell well over 500 barstools (depending on whether they drop ship or manufacture the product) to see an ROI. So it does not work.

Sure, there is the potential of traffic and blog links, but blog links get devalued in time as they get archived. The same can be said of a traditional link building based SEO campaign, that the client may not see an ROI and that with every campaign there are no guarantees and risks. The goal here is simply to determine what type of campaign would better suit the client based on his budget and the ability to achieve an ROI.

Social media does lend itself better to certain types of sites. Sites with larger competitors and generic terms will need to push the sites and use link baiting methods. So sites selling hosting, mp3s, iPods, computers, gadgets, etc. are better candidates for Social Media Marketing.

Sites like the barstools, dentists, real estate, and lawyers are usually better served by using traditional link building for related industry links and advertising is also recommended for regional sites.

Articles are more of a cross between traditional SEO tools and link baiting, but again they are devalued in time and need to be syndicated quite often. If termed an “article” then they are economical to syndicate and can offer an ROI. If termed “Social Media Marketing” then they are quite expensive and the syndication is different to the client. I can read the headlines on the barstool blog “3 legged stool and heated seats…” Great linkbait! Sure you can come up with something for anything, but again the risk and potential ROI to the client is minimal when paying for costly link baiting services. Training the client to do its own link baiting, should become part of SEO campaigns or SMM campaigns.

Many decisions will need to be made that can determine what the best and most realistic campaign should be for the client. Determining the ROI is important if you plan on keeping a client long term. As a company that has an extremely high client retention rate, this is something we factor in from the initial phone call with the client. We need to determine that they can achieve and ROI, or they will end the campaign before the year-end.


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