The Rise of Social Media & the Death of Search & SEO

On the web, “stuff” is constantly facing death. Google is dying, Facebook is dying, Twitter is dying, SEO is dying, and the list goes on.

Recently, there’s been an up-tick in the rise of social media and the death of search theme.

But the death of SEO is certainly nothing new (About 30,100,000 results).

Over at RLHB, Kevin O’Keefe has penned, Social media will soon drive more traffic to law firm websites than search engines.

And at first, it sounded like he was being a bit dismissive of search. But then we put it in a couple hundred character exchange:

Yep. Social and search are absolutely not mutually exclusive. In fact, they’re symbiotic.

But SEO is also a lot more than keywords and links.

In any case, don’t switch from search to social. Use social and search harmoniously.

Might one day we see social media traffic surpass search engine traffic? Maybe. But I’m skeptical.

Spoiler: Search is not dying.

According to SEL, citing ComScore, in December 2012 there 114.7 billion searches on Google.

Don’t like the ComScore number? According to SEL in 2012, Google confirmed that it handles 100 Billion searches per month.

Don’t trust Google? Look at your web analytics.

Dive into your organic search traffic. Now click on Traffic Sources -> Social -> Overview.

What did you find? My bet is that your organic search traffic from Google alone eclipses your social network traffic from all sources.

If you’re getting more traffic from social than from search, I want to hear from you.

You don’t need to be a web traffic data analyst to recognize that search isn’t going anywhere. How many times a day do you look for something on Google? How about Facebook? How about Twitter?

But who cares? Fortunately, we don’t have to pick between search and social. In fact, it’s foolish to pit these channels against each other. They work together.

We could probably come up with hundreds of examples. But here’s a very simple one:

  • You publish something.
  • You share it on Twitter.
  • Someone reads what you published.
  • Whether they liked it or hated it, they’re motivated to link to it.
  • The link signals Google that your page is popular.
  • When someone else is researching the topic you wrote about, they find your page in search.

And round and round we go.

Sure, social media usage numbers are way up. But ask yourself what are people doing on these social networks? What are you doing in your social networks?

Are you performing research? Are you shopping?

Or are you liking pictures of cat memes and your friends’ babies?

Social media can be a powerful driver of meaningful traffic to your site. There’s no doubt about it.

But I skeptical that many of you will find that you are driving more traffic from social than from search (unless of course you’re blocking search engines from crawling your site).

But even those of you who are getting more traffic from social than search, if we dive a little deeper to see which channel is driving traffic that is motivated to contact, inquire and hire you, my guess is that you would find that search is doing even better.

Search has intent. Social media can help create, nurture and solidify relationships.

Both can be very valuable to your law firm.

Don’t abandon search for Twitter and Facebook.

Might search face death one day? Maybe, but I doubt it. But that day certainly isn’t today.