Is Social Media Marketing Replacing Search Engine Optimization?

By August 1, 2019March 24th, 2020Search Engine Optimization

In these contemporary times, more and more people are becoming interested in expanding their online presence for the purpose of enhancing business revenue or sharing ideas with the world. In the past, SEO-or Search Engine Optimization-was considered one of the primary and most advantageous ways to accomplish this goal. Although defined diversely, SEO is a process in which websites and web pages attain more traffic from organic listings that appear in search engines. Major search engines-such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo-yield search results that are ranked based on the information the engine deems most relevant to the viewer. Because SEO can determine how high a website ranks on the search results page and thus dramatically affect how many people will view that page, this mechanism has often been deemed integral to cultivating and building an online presence. Now, however, many marketing strategists argue that SMO (Social Media Optimization) is displacing SEO as the primary mechanism to be used for generating website traffic. If you are interested in optimizing your online presence, you should carefully consider whether integrating SMO into your current marketing plan will be advantageous or ideal.

Individuals who are not familiar with SMO should note that it essentially involves making use of social media outlets to draw awareness to one’s brand, product, or event.


Various kinds of social media that can be employed for this purpose include RSS feeds, bookmarking sites, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and video and blogging sites. As many social media experts know, SMO is a bit similar to SEO in that the primary goal is to cultivate a substantive online presence that draws traffic to a website where goods and services can be purchased. The difference between the two, however, is that SMO is predicated on social media platforms rather than the keyword searches that generate search engine optimization and subsequently increase one’s ranking through engines like Yahoo.

Peopl with social media concept

In commenting on the efficacy of SMO, web publisher Ben Elowitz notes various aspects of it that make it superior to SEO. Of importance and significance is the fact that SMO distinguishes individuals from one another by giving them a digital face, thereby giving their content and/or products specificity and uniqueness to the viewer. SEO, on the other hand, relies on the use of algorithms to generate top rankings in search results, meaning that the pages one is exposed to upon entering certain key words could be generic and futile. In elaborating on how and why SMO will replace SEO, Elowitz argues that SEO gave search engines like Google’s the power to generate an audience based on the search results it produced. Now, however, social media outlets such as Facebook have altered the former system by entailing that people who capture the audience’s attention with their content and products will gain a greater presence and following. According to Elowitz, Facebook “listens to the audience” and “amplifies what it hears.”

As many social media experts have stated repeatedly, outlets such as Twitter and Facebook have likely gained a permanent and potentially growing presence in the online world. Because this is the case, individuals interested in harnessing the internet to exchange ideas or market products and services should begin making use of mediums such as Twitter and Facebook to grow their audience. This does not mean that abandoning SEO strategies is advisable. Indeed, one may want to make use of both marketing opportunities to optimize visibility. Nevertheless, experts such as Elowitz do argue that SMO is displacing SEO, so it may be advisable to place greater primacy on the former marketing strategy rather than focusing on the latter. Good luck!