Why You Must Pursue Both SEO and Social Media Together

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In the hyper-dynamic, “always connected” virtual world that we live in today, for many startups and old-economy companies, the focus is often on social media and other aspects of digital marketing first. I view SEO as part of digital marketing, and not “instead of”. SEO is part of everything, just like content. At the same time, you can’t delineate digital marketing from SEO.


No one aspect should be the single focal point in your marketing efforts. As companies grow, they expand their marketing efforts for good reason – to more reliably reach more of the right audience.

Here are five ways to strengthen SEO and social media together:

Balance social media and SEO:

Many believe that search engine optimization (SEO) is something they will get to later, or that it can be ignored. This approach is like building a home on a sand dune. As the sands shift, because there is no solid foundation, the structure becomes less stable.

When you build your dream house, you first hire an architect to design the building. That is SEO. Once you have a robust structure, you hire designers to work on the interiors and the exteriors. That is what social media does. One without the other would make your house look incomplete.

The whole process of building your house or promoting your brand online is internet market optimization and includes SEO, pay-per-click (PPC), analytics, design, architecture, social, content. They are all related, and in many cases the lines dividing them are fuzzy. Internet marketing optimization means that you are optimizing all the components synergistically. That is a uniform approach to digital marketing.

SEO’s strength:

SEO provides the foundation for a website. In the past, companies didn’t invested in restructuring their website, never invested in content, and never invested in earning followers. They just went out and bought them. There’s always the temptation to grab the low-hanging fruit and move as fast as possible. Quite frankly, that is not a long-term, stable business approach.

Social matters:

Focusing solely on SEO or on social media is like putting all your eggs in one basket. I believe that one has to focus on both SEO and social media. For instance, Bruce Clay Inc is an internet marketing optimization company. When it comes to marketing for ourselves, we concentrate equally on both SEO and social media.

We have a social media team and we are also content-centric because that will help people in knowing who we are and build our brand. If all we did was SEO or just social media marketing, it would be much harder for us. Like relying on a single stream of revenue can be dangerous, so too can be relying on a single source of traffic or customer acquisition.

Strong investment:

SEO is an investment. Most businesses investing in SEO don’t think of it like one. They think of it as a commodity – they want to put in $1 and get $10 out. They look for easy returns. Generally, the easier you want it, the worse you get it. If SEO was that easy, everybody would be number one! You have to invest time and energy to repair the things deep down in your website that will allow it to rank in the top three out of a million.

In tandem:

The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. That is true about digital marketing in general. If I am trying to build a brand, I can’t do just SEO. If I am trying to attract a broad audience of varied personas, I can’t just do SEO. I have to be able to reach consumers and a lot of them consume different media. For example, if I want to reach 18 to 21 year olds, I better put up videos. If I want to reach the 18 to 25 age group, I better be on mobile.


Written By

Bruce Clay, an internet and digital marketing guru, is better known as a founding-father of search engine optimization, and one of the first people to popularize the term. In 1996, he started Bruce Clay Inc, an internet marketing solutions company from his house; today the company has offices in the US, Europe, Japan, West Asia and India. In 2013, Clay received the Lifetime Achievement Award of Excellence in Vision, Execution, and Market Influence in the Practice of Search Marketing.