Search Engines vs. Social Media

by Vered DeLeeuw

When I started my healthy recipes blog, all I wanted was traffic from Google. I considered Google as a stable, reliable source of blog traffic and made sure I optimized my recipes so that Google knew exactly how to index them.

Still, I knew it would take months, even years, to acquire Google’s trust, so I promoted my recipes on various social media accounts, in addition to doing my best to write high-quality, optimized blog posts.

At some point in 2013, like many other food bloggers, I noticed that I’m getting more and more traffic from Pinterest. Pinterest is “a pinboard-style photo-sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, and hobbies” (Wikipedia). It’s obviously a great tool for pinning recipes, and many recipe blogs have seen a big jump in traffic since Pinterest became successful.

Which got me thinking: should I ditch my attempts at getting Google traffic for my blog and just focus on Pinterest?

The answer is a big NO. You don’t put all your eggs in one basket, and you don’t allow one stream of online traffic to take over your blog. Pinterest is huge right now, and it’s difficult to imagine it disappearing one day, but we’ve seen huge social media sites disappearing or weakening. Digg, Stumbleupon and MySpace are just three examples. Some feel that Facebook is on its way to losing its power too, and Twitter was never a huge driver of traffic for most blogs (although it is for some).

It’s not that you should focus only on search engines. Though I consider Google as the most reliable source of traffic (once you gain its trust), search engines can also be fickle, and even if Google trusts your blog today and sends it lots of traffic, there’s no guarantee that this will be the case a month from now.

Just as in your investment portfolio, your best blogging strategy is to diversify. Spread your energy and efforts among all potential traffic sources, including search engines (with Google still at the top), Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus, and any other social media site that applies to you. Never allow yourself to rely too heavily on a single source of traffic for your blog, especially if your blog is a source of income or provides you with leads for your business. It’s just too risky.

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