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Search Traffic vs. Social Traffic

by Brenda Rowe, SiteSell, Inc., http://sitesell.com

Social media marketing is a term that covers both social bookmarking (example, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Google Bookmarks) and social networking (ex., Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn). Both are useful for extending your site's visibility on the Web, gaining links to your site, and promoting your site to people with the same interests.

The question is that while social bookmarking and networking can drive traffic to your site, is it really that beneficial to your site's monetization potential?
Let's look at a typical surfer….

When Susan sits down to fire up her computer, she's most likely looking for a recipe to add creativity to the family's weeknight menu, shopping for something to read or getting up to speed on a particular parenting issue. Recently, however, Susan created her own Facebook page and discovered the Twitter craze. She now spends time each week keeping up with her “social” contacts.

Susan's online behavior is fairly representative of most Internet users today. They're searching for information via the Search Engines (“search” visitors) and/or they enjoy meeting new people with similar interests to their own (“social” visitors).
Generally speaking, social visitors are looking for an opportunity to connect with other people. If your site doesn’t provide some sort of interactivity or an opportunity to deepen a sense of belonging/community, social visitors won’t stay long enough for you to “warm them up” to your product/service offerings or recommendations and convert them into customers. With a click of the mouse, they’re off to the next site.

Given this common reality, is social media marketing worth your time? Yes and here’s why…

Any amount of link “buzz” you create via social bookmarking or networking (that is, people follow links to your site) is tracked by the Search Engines. It is part of their "off page" criteria used to measure overall search reputation and to determine your site’s page ranking. As a result, social media marketing isn't about the direct traffic it might bring to your site. Inbound links increase your site’s profile on the Net and improve its reputation at Google. A top-10 position on the search results page makes your site easier to find and sets your business apart from the competition.

There is a big “but” to keep in mind… be disciplined about the amount of time you dedicate to social media marketing. It’s so easy to lose several hours of the day without realizing it!

Your main business-building focus should remain on attracting search visitors. Because these visitors are actively seeking specific content on your site, with the help of the Search Engines, they are more valuable to you. Targeted traffic tends to be easier to “warm up”/convert and therefore has higher monetization potential. That’s why writing keyword-focused content pages that focus on relevant sub-topics of your niche is still the best investment of your time when it comes to working on your site.

What’s the bottom-line recommendation for social media marketing? Use social traffic as one of your strategies to boost the reputation and ranking of your content pages at the Search Engines, which, in turn, helps to attract more high-value visitors. These visitors tend to monetize better and that increases the overall profitability of your site.

For more link-building strategies to increase targeted traffic, review or download a free copy of
Make Your Links WORK! (http://value-exchange.sitesell.com/MYLW.pdf).