The owner of a typical brick and mortar storefront depends a lot on foot traffic to insure that their business is a success. That's why location is so vital when picking out a place of business. For an e-commerce company, getting high visibility on search engines or access to a large source of traffic is just as equally important. Getting that traffic directly to a company's website is the goal of any online marketing campaign.
The prevailing wisdom has been that search engines will do the trick provided you can increase your ranking on those pages. However, it appears that social media networks are giving the search engines a run for their money in terms of providing them with organic traffic. You only have to look at the numbers to appreciate where most internet users are spending their time.
Where Are The Users?
A recently published report put out by Forrester Research has found that 50% of 18 to 23 year olds and 43% of 24 to 32 year olds list social networks as their go-to internet-discovery resource. In that arena, Facebook and Twitter are holding sway as the number one and two forms of discovery for nearly a third of all American users alone. That represents an 18% increase for "discovery-use" on those sites since 2010.
The good news for search engine sites is that 54% of American users regularly depend on those search results to find what they are looking for. The bad news is that number is dropping. It was 61% in 2010.
More Fun Social Media Facts
The vast majority of Fortune 500 Companies have a Facebook page and/or Twitter account, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are using those resources effectively. For a business start-up looking to get a foothold in customer traffic, social media could be a productive resource to invest in.
Here are some more of the findings from the research report:
· 26% of internet users discovered company websites through branded emails. That's an 11-point increase from 2012.
· 18% of internet users proclaimed that paid search results got them to where they wanted to go. These would be all those click through ads on Facebook.
· 28% of all internet users find new websites by clicking through to links on sites they are visiting.
How can you make that work for your company? A simple quid pro quo will do. If you link to a business ask them to link to you. Obviously, you're not going to find much traffic with a competitor, but landing an affiliate site would be ideal. Write a lot of guest posts and have the articles placed on industry websites.
Does all of this mean you should give up on search engine optimization all together? Absolutely not.
However, it is clear you should be dividing your online marketing strategy equally between SEO and social media.
You'll probably find that they work hand in hand.