Creating search engine friendly sites that rely on keywords, inbound links and engaging content has always been the key to ranking highly on Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search platforms. However, recently there has been an increasing shift away from search engines to social media as an effective way to drive web traffic.
The potential of social media to increase traffic was something I experienced recently. A few months ago I wrote an article about Changi Airport. Within a couple of days this article had attracted hundreds of hits – more so than previous posts. The reason for the success of the article was that it had been picked up and promoted through the Changi Airport Fan Page. The spike in web traffic was so high, in such a short period, that Google sent me an alert to check for suspicious activity. Luckily it was a legitimate spike, not like the problems I’ve had with phishing scams on another of my sites.
The diversity and volume of Facebook users is an advantage over search engines. All that time and effort put into optimising a site, particularly for Google, may soon become a thing of the past. Whilst I don’t suggest abandoning Search Engine Optimisation yet, it might be worth putting as much time, if not more, into a social media plan. Changes happen quickly and sometimes subtly. Google have recognised this and promoted Google+ as their social media space.
Whilst this has not been as huge a success as Facebook and Twitter there is potential for Google+ to grow. It will be interesting to see the next wave of web browsing tools and how much of it is dependant upon social media.