Different online marketers achieve success in different ways. But I’d be willing to bet that most of the ones who hit it big do so by using search engine optimization as a primary internet marketing tool to drive targeted visitors that lead to sales. Why did I come to that conclusion?
Besides having been in the internet marketing industry for 12 years, I have seen almost everything (believe me NOTHING surprises me at all! Also, social media marketing is still struggling and learning to find its groove with companies from a marketing perspective. A recent survey by CitiBank and GfK Roper reveals that most small business owners don’t rely on social media (in fact 63% of all small businesses surveyed said that the social networking component of social media marketing was not helpful at all!). As a result they get more sales and leads out of their own websites and search engine optimziation efforts. Even without that survey, however, I’d still say the same thing.
Most people, even today, if they want to find information, go to one of the search engines. A few people Twitter a question or head to Yahoo! Answers. But most of them will still attempt to search through one of the search engines. If they don’t succeed in getting the answer to their question on the first search query, they’ll send another query. The same search with a twist.
In other words, search is still the major factor in website success. A few years ago, no matter which website you were looking at, about 80% of the traffic was coming from a search engine – and most of that from Google. In fact, I think at one time about 80% of all Web traffic came from Google. Now it’s probably around the 70% range. The other 30% comes from various social media websites and third-party referrers.
This tells me that you can’t really succeed online without search engine traffic. Most social media traffic still doesn’t convert. That is, a low percentage of social media traffic converts compared to a higher percentage for search engine traffic, which includes organic search and paid search.
That’s why I think online marketers who make SEO a major factor in their online marketing campaigns will do better than marketers who make SEO a sideline activity. Which one are you?