Social Media May Soon Drive More Traffic to Your Site Than SEO

social media and web trafficStill skeptical about the power of social media marketing to help you and your business see results? Here’s some compelling information for you: according to stats compiled by Forrester Research, social media may soon drive more traffic to your website than SEO.

As part of the “How Consumers Found Websites in 2012” report, Forrester found that last year, half of all Internet users ages 18 to 23 use social networks as their primary Internet discovery resource, as do 43% of Internet users ages 24 to 32. And even more interesting? Social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, are the preferred means of online discovery for nearly one-third of all Americans, compared to 18% in 2010.

Forrester also found that 54% of American Internet users rely on traditional search results to discover information. And although that’s a big number, it represents a 7-point drop in overall search engine popularity compared to the same statistics compiled in 2010.

The findings don’t necessarily mean you should abandon the SEO ship. After all, basic SEO principles are a must-have for any website and/or blog, regardless of your target audience and industry. If, however, you’re spending the majority of your marketing budget on SEO and paid search and not making any sort of investment in social, you might want to rethink that strategy. After all, the behaviors of younger Internet users are great predictors as to what the future holds, and if Forrester’s findings are any indication, Internet users will increasingly turn to social networks as opposed to search engines to find the websites, resources and companies they need.

We’re interested to see if a pattern continues to emerge as a result of this year’s findings—and we’ll be sure to keep you posted. In the meantime, what are your thoughts on Forrester’s research? Does your data indicate that more people are discovering your website or blog through social channels? And if not, does research like this make you rethink your social media marketing strategy?

Image: Daniele Pesaresi via Compfight cc

  • http://www.makementionmedia.com/ Jen Havice

    Thanks for this post and for letting us know about the study’s findings. I know how frustrated small businesses are trying to navigate social media, especially FB. In some ways, I’m sure this is disheartening news to many of them. I had one woman tell me she’s tired of feeling like she has to be a social media expert in order to market her business. For the people who love engaging on social media, it’s one more affirmation of how well it can work.

  • http://freetraffictip.com Tinu

    Agree! Do both Search and Social and magnify the effects of both.

  • ShellyKramer

    Amen, sistah.

  • http://prenatal-cradle.com/ Prenatal Cradle

    Heard it before… Social presence is stellar. However 80% of the traffic still comes from organic.

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  • http://www.smartonlinepros.com/ SmartOnlinePros

    It’s also proven that traffic from social media have poor conversion rate. Hence, the need for organic traffic. If you couldn’t care less about conversion and the quality of traffic to your website, then social media is a good source.

  • ShellyKramer

    Agree. And people who focus only on social, instead of tying social to business initiatives and lead gen, well, they’re going to out of luck. We see this all the time, and it sounds like you do as well!

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  • http://brianvickery.com/ Brian Vickery

    Trying to cover our bases on both fronts, for our B2B website. We are replatforming to WordPress, so that gave us the opportunity to take text out of what WAS graphics on our old site, and make them searchable text again.

    We are also introducing a multi-author blog with plenty of social sharing options. Fingers crossed – we go out with the new website next week! It looks and behaves orders of magnitude better than our current site.

  • ShellyKramer

    That sounds like smart moves, Brian. On both fronts!!!

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