You’ve probably heard the SEO gospel being preached these days, maybe even from me. This is the notion that by optimizing your keywords, content, meta tags, and website structure, you can pull organic search traffic from Google like a pro. And while that statement is certainly true, the key word is can pull organic search traffic, which differs a lot from saying will pull traffic. And while you can pull traffic, that’s not the same as driving traffic.
Pulling Website Traffic
Using all the right search terms out there doesn’t necessarily mean that people will find your site. It’s just not that simple. Everyone wishes that it was, but it’s not. Google isn’t going to give you a good ranking just because you have the right keywords, blog every day, and have done well researched SEO content writing. You may be creating a bridge from the search engines to your site with good SEO, but there’s no guarantee that anyone will cross that bridge, especially if your site is new. If you’ve been very active for months and years with good SEO then you’ll gain credibility with the search engines, but when your site is new, there are no magic website traffic guarantees.
Driving Website Traffic
The difference with driving website traffic is that you are providing an active stimulus and incentive for people to come to your site instead of relying on your SEO. Traditional outbound marketing is all about driving traffic. You go to the people and try to herd them to your site. This approach is both costly and cumbersome; it’s difficult to focus your dollars into only doing what you want them to do. But sometimes it’s the best short term solution to increasing traffic.
Using Social Media as a Driver
But there are numerous ways to drive traffic, some with hard costs and some without. Social media is a great way to provide a stimulus to an audience and direct them toward your site. The key is you can’t use social media to try and drive people to your home page. People don’t care about your home page, it’s boring. They have access to it through your profile and they have no desire to be there.
You need to create something of interest on your site that people on Facebook and Twitter want to see. It could be a blog post, a video, research, a free resource: anything that has value. Only then can you use social media as a driver, assuming of course you’ve built up a social media presence and audience.
The Synergy Between Having & Getting Web Traffic
Here is one of the little understood things about SEO. One of the things that Google’s algorithm looks at when deciding how to rank your site is how much web traffic your site already gets. There is a measure of truth in the phrase you need to have web traffic to get web traffic. The more website traffic you have, the more favorably the search engines see you. Sure there are a lot of other factors, but this one often goes unnoticed. So one way you can increase the effectiveness of your SEO is to increase your traffic by driving more there.
Now if you’re famous then this isn’t a problem,. People are looking for YOU, not a product or service whose keywords lead them to you. So with just a little bit of SEO, you can easily be found and will get traffic. If you’re a major brand or a specialty niche brand then you already have a base of interest and people will look for you. But if you’re a small or startup organization without major public exposure, then you need to consider using drivers to build your website traffic and authority.
Action Steps To Getting The Competitive Edge
Make sure you get your social media strategy moving forward right away. But in the mean time you might want to consider some paid methods to get your web traffic moving, such as press releases and public relations, PPC ads, conference and trade show sponsorships, speaking opportunities, social media paid ads, and even other traditional forms of direct response marketing.
At the end of the day you need to weigh the cost of up front dollar investments vs. long term dollar investments. SEO, content writing, blogging, and resource development are excellent long term investments. In the short term you need to give people a reason to go to your site and find a way to communicate that reason to them.
The ineffective or inappropriate use of social media is something we refer to as being socially awkward. If you’d like more information that can help your organization stay out of this category then download our Free Guide Social Media 101 today!