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SEO vs Social Media: Which is more Important for a Business?

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

Abstract image of two people in a boxing match fighting with gloves and a search bar behind them.

Many businesses today have to choose where to focus their digital marketing budget.

Should a business focus on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or social media?

What is the difference between the two, and which one will help the business succeed online?

In order to answer these questions, we must first understand what SEO and social media are. SEO and social media are two important components of a strong digital marketing strategy. While SEO focuses on optimizing your website for Google search, social media is all about building relationships and engaging with your audience on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

But which one should you focus on?

In this blog post, we’ll break down the differences between SEO and social media and explain why both are important for your business.

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of enhancing a website's search engine ranking by increasing its relevance to keywords or search terms.

The most common type of SEO is "organic" SEO, which includes activities such as writing well-optimized content, building high-quality links, and having a relevant website architecture to increase the organic search.

SEO can also refer to Search Engine Marketing through paid advertising on search engines like Google Ads and Bing Ads. This form of SEO is known as "PPC" (pay per click).

Many SEO experts would agree that building high-quality traffic through target keywords, creating high-quality inbound links, and improving your search rankings are but a fraction of the work involved in SEO. With the constant algorithm updates, continuous keyword optimization, and creating ranking content for search engines it's no wonder that companies prefer to outsource their SEO marketing or SEO campaigns to digital marketing agencies.

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is a strategy that uses social networks to drive traffic and encourage shares, likes, and other actions. It’s a strategy that is effective for businesses because it not only helps you reach your target audience but also provides insights into how they behave on social media.

Social media marketing is not just about posting content on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram. It’s about understanding your audience and the right way to engage them.

Why SEO is important for a business

SEO is important for a business because it helps your website rank so that people can find you and be able to find the content they are looking for.

SEO also helps you decide what content is most relevant to people and encourages more organic and natural interactions with your brand. This means that you’re not wasting money on paid advertising and hoping for users to come to your page organically.

SEO also builds trust in your company. It shows that you understand what information people want, how it is being searched, and what platforms they are using. For example, if you post content on Instagram but use Google Search Console as well, it shows that you understand the organic behaviors of both users and search engines.

Lastly, SEO should be a top priority for any company because over half of all businesses fail because they fail to think about the online needs of their customers or the changes in digital marketing channels over time.

Why Social Media Marketing is important for a business

Social media marketing is important because it gives you more insight into your audience and helps you establish yourself as an authority.

This allows you to easily target your ideal customers, as well as create better content that resonates with your audience.

Social media marketing also allows you to create a community around your brand, which increases engagement and boosts awareness of what you offer.

It’s easier for businesses to see how their social media efforts are actually performing and whether they’re achieving the results they want.

Social media marketing is effective because it’s interactive: the interactions between brands and their consumers are real-time. It’s not just about reaching out to one person in a vacuum; it’s about engaging with people who have similar interests and needs as yours.

Which businesses need SEO rather than Social Media Marketing?

Businesses that rely heavily on online sales, may need to invest in SEO to ensure that their website is visible to potential customers.

If there is a lot of search volume for a brand's products and services online then it is vital they invest in Search Engine Optimization as they lose the chance of converting users with high purchase intent as 32% of all clicks go to the first position in google.

Newer businesses who are looking for ways for customers to find them via specific search terms would greatly benefit from SEO as well.

Which businesses need Social Media Marketing rather than SEO?

Social media marketing is a great way to reach your target audience. It can be used as a supplementary marketing strategy for any business that has a limited budget, or for any small business that cannot afford SEO.

The main advantage of social media is the fact that it's free. The only thing you need to do is set up an account and start posting content on it. The drawback of this, however, is the fact that you have to spend time creating and posting content which can be difficult if you are running your own business.

Businesses that have a strong brand voice, but not enough content to be found organically on search engines.

Companies who need to build up their online presence before investing in paid advertising.

Factors that you need to consider when deciding if SEO or Social Media Marketing is more important

The benefits of SEO at the moment still outweigh that of social media marketing.

When you consider the time and effort required to do both, it is clear that SEO is more important.

Other factors to take into account include whether your target audience is primarily searching for information on Google or Facebook.

If your main focus is improving customer service through your online platforms then social media might be better as it encourages two-way conversations.

If your business's main focus is to reach customers via search engines, then SEO might be a better option for you.

If your business's main focus is to reach customers via social media, then social media marketing might be a better option for you.

The goal of your digital marketing strategy should also factor into which platform is more important for your business.

If you are trying to drive awareness and brand recognition through social media, then social media might be a better option for you.

However, if you want people to convert into leads and make purchases from your site, then SEO might be a better option for you.

Lastly, consider how much budget you have allocated towards digital marketing campaigns—both in terms of time and money put towards each medium. If you have limited funds available, market the best way that these resources can support with SEO and other channels that complement it as well as provide value outside of just advertising on them.

Why do you need both SEO and Social Media Marketing?

Both SEO and social media marketing are important for a business.

They both help you reach your target audience in different ways, with the added bonus of each being more affordable than traditional marketing methods such as TV and print.

A business’s social media marketing and SEO efforts can be complementary, allowing it to reach a wider audience while increasing its online presence.

Businesses that have a symbiotic social media marketing strategy and SEO strategy will find; - Easier and faster to chieve their business goals - Experience even higher organic traffic than depending on just one medium

- Better overall return on their marketing efforts

- A more established social presence overall

- Ability to reach customers in different stages of the marketing funnel

- Better chance of capturing their ideal audience

- Easier to achieve long-term success

- Maximum return on investment


As the online landscape changes, we must change with it. SEO and Social Media Marketing are both important to the success of a business, with SEO being important for new businesses and Social Media Marketing being important for established businesses.

But which one is more important?

It’s difficult to answer this question as there are many variables that come into play, including the breadth and depth of your target audience, their location, the amount of time they have available to consume information, what they like to do on social media (e.g. watch videos or read reviews), etc.

However, it is safe to say that both can be used to achieve success for a business with different strengths, but both require patience and hard work from your team.

If you're looking for a digital marketing agency that offers both SEO and Social Media Marketing, then Echt Social is the company for you!

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