28 Nov 2010

Social Media versus SEO – Which is the Better Investment?

Posted by Moshe Mikanovsky

Social Media versus SEO – Which is the Better Investment?

by Moshe Mikanovsky

This article  is by Moshe Mikanovsky, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews.  An emerging artist searching his way in the art world, he loves to share what he learns.  With over 20 years of technology experience, Moshe combines his technological background and his passion for the arts with the goal of “working his dream”.  You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.


You have all read it here before. The arguments for and against investing in SEO as the main way for you to promote your website and blog. Again and again, Clint would argue that SEO is not the best place to put your efforts in. And again and again his arm was twisted to “write about SEO for artists”.

Now seriously, we all think we understand art. A lot of us have under-grads and graduate degrees in fine arts. The best of us has perfected our techniques, control in the medium of our choice, and some, if not all, of the traditional marketing methods.

But with the new world built under our own noses in the virtual cloud (do we even know what that cloud is?), who are the experts we should look for?

I, too, used to think that SEO is so important, that it must beat other efforts. I would quietly and internally argue with Clint, thinking “but this is how the Internet works!”. Well, after reading a post on ProBlogger, one of my must-read-daily-blogs, titled “Why Social Media Is a Better Investment than SEO”, (by Gary Arndt of everything-everywhere.com) I think I finally converted! I agree with you Clint. You always said that Newsletters and your subscribers list is the most important tool you will have. And this is the basic Social Media tool! All you need is an email account with subscribers. All other Social Media platforms, like Facebook or Twitter, are glorification of the same concept:

1.      You have contacts.

2.      You connect with them.

3.      You create a conversation through the platform.

4.      The conversation translates to interest in you.

5.      The interest converts to sales.

Now, you should check out that blog post on ProBlogger. Here is my interpretation of the points mentioned over there to our (art) world:

Brand vs. individual authority

In the post, Arndt explains how search engines give priority and authority to brand names and not to individuals. If an individual built authority through a brand name, and then the individual moves to another location, the authority does not move with him or her. That means that your SEO efforts will be much more effective as an authority builder, in the eyes of Google (and other search engines) if your name is your brand.

In addition, the power of conversation via your social networking is much more effective in achieving your individual recognition, therefore will help you promote your website better than any SEO effort will do.

SEO is time consuming 

We could argue that both SEO and Social Media require time we don’t always have. So the time you do have should go to the more effective one. Part of building your SEO is in building incoming links from other sites to yours. These efforts take a lot of time and require writing for others, submitting content to directories, building links with other websites etc. Social Media lends itself very easily to this by the discussions and conversation we have on them. All you have to do is talk. So talk about your art, put links to your art and website. Talk about your shows. And people will come to see it.

Writing for humans vs. writing for machines

Arndt then explains how writing to search engines is NOT like writing to humans. Although many blogging and marketing experts would tell you to talk like you speak, there are still things that make articles more SEO friendly if sentences are written differently, appealing more to the machine’s logic. Social Media on the other hand, is a conversation with human talking. You don’t have to learn new skills on how to write especially for Google’s crawler, and in most cases, you won’t even need to write proper English…not that I advocate you to forget your grammar.

Traffic as a means vs. traffic as an end

Another topic Clint wrote about some time ago is it’s not about how many people come to check your website. It’s about how many people are coming and buying art from you. Or license your art. Or commission new piece. Or want to represent you in their gallery. Word of mouth traffic is far more useful than the occasional search engine guest who knows nothing about you. The friend of a friend of your brother-in-law’s sister’s teacher, who has got to you through your Social Media conversations, has better chance of hearing something about you from someone who knows you.


This one speaks for itself. Google is changing their logic all the time. What promises you that your SEO efforts now will always work? Nothing. The same way that we don’t know how Facebook will change their security policies, we don’t know if Google, or any of the other search engines, will maintain their liking of your links.  Social Media on the other end is an open ended discussion. It is all up to you.

Choose social media for greater ROI

Clint would say it’s your newsletter. I tend to agree, and started recently building my list and sending out newsletters. Other people invest most of their time on Facebook or Twitter, swearing they can’t live without them. Arndt concluded with the following words: “Invest your time where it will give you the highest return. Today, I believe that place is in social media. Do you?”

What do you think?



[Editor's Note:  Clint says, "Moshe, Welcome to the dark side" :-) ]
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2 Responses to “Social Media versus SEO – Which is the Better Investment?”

  1. With my own strategy, I use BOTH search engine optimization and social media. The latter is better though because as you have said, with SEO, your whole strategy can crumble if Google decides to change its algorithm abruptly. With social media, while platforms like twitter or facebook may become obsolete, the connections you get remain intact – you simply transfer them to the next medium whatever it is.


    Edward @ SEO Philippines

  2. A combo is always the better way.


    seo company philippines

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