For a few years there, it looked like social media was going to take the place of search engine optimization as a priority for online publishers. But in truth, both are needed, and the comparative importance of SEO is back on the rise.
Traffic from Facebook is dropping
Facebook has been fickle for publishers. In the run up to the 2016 elections, more than 40 percent of referrals came from the social network. By the end of 2017, that metric had dropped below 26 percent.
Further, there wasn’t enough money in social media referrals to begin with.
According to MediaShift, “In many ways the decline in social referrals is just the icing on a pretty unappetizing cake for traffic-dependant sites, which struggle to monetize beyond programmatic ads. Yields are declining, the use of ad-blockers is on the rise and Facebook and Google are hogging all the growth.”
As Facebook traffic declines, Google can grow
Google is back on the rise as a source of traffic for publishers, which leads to the key question of how you can drive large scale traffic from search.
“Basically, you need to refocus your efforts away from social traffic and re-energize your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) team,” MediaShift reports.
Engagement is crucial
As with everything else, search engine optimization is a moving target. As important as keywords can be, engagement is even more important.
“The top four ranking factors are direct website visits, time on site, pages per session and bounce rate,” according to MediaShift. “This isn’t surprising really when you think about it: Google wants to find the ‘best’ answers for queries, so happy Google users are a key indicator for them. What they’ve worked out is that engagement indicators, like low bounce rate, high pages per session and superior dwell time, are the best signs of a good search answer.”