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SEO v/s Social Media Shares - This is what Top Marketers have to say!


It is popular perspective that high quality content is something you should never ignore when doing a serious business. Yet, deep down in our minds a question rises i.e. what does high quality content mean? how can we measure it at first place?

With so many content marketing tools around, it is possible to get lost in the confusions and miss what actually matters.

In this post, let's just consider two matrices

  1. Social Media Shares
  2. Search Engine Optimization

Both matrices are popular, first one will give you quick exposure while the second one will bring you more relevant and quality traffic with high-intent. But question remains same here. Which is better in general.

Both have their pros and cons, that we can discuss separately someday. But, let's see what other experts are saying:

The best metric is EPV (earnings per visitor) > CPV (cost per visitor). This means you are driving traffic at profit. Shares and rank are vanity. You can have both and still make no profit.

– Chris Von Wilpert, Owner, ContentMavericks

Shares = meh. Ranking is only good up to a point, but it’s important when we add new features (to get listed quickly with new pages.

– Benjamin Thomas, Content director, User.com

Picking a metric to focus on is the whole problem with measuring content marketing impact. The premise is flawed. Different pieces should have different objectives. The same piece can have multiple objectives. And depending on where in the buyer’s journey the potential customer is with the content, a metric that is a perfect fit for measurement elsewhere could be completely useless and inappropriate.

Instead of arguing over rankings vs. shares, we ought to be arguing for a more holistic and inclusive way of evaluating content performance. Doing anything else doesn’t do anyone any favors.

– Joel Klettke, Founder, CaseStudyBuddy

Comments and replies I think constitute more than anything else, that people are interested in what you created. It has to be interesting enough to capture their attention and evoke a genuine response. Of course, that can be manipulated in all kinds of sneaky ways, and is, but it’s the content that offers some kind of true value that works best. It’s a long game. Unfortunately, most content creators play a short game, they want results now, and it encourages a blinkered approach. They play to people’s emotions deliberately and inflame passions for the sake of numbers. That’s a real shame I think.

– Larry G. Maguire, larrygmaguire.com

I’d say “Leads” if not “Sales”. But these tend to be difficult to measure, with content often not being the last thing folks click before they end up buying.

Other than that, it’s got to be a mix. You can rig the game and play with these metrics if you want, by creating viral content or one that’s super searched for…but has nothing to do with your business. So in my opinion, it’s got to be a mix.

– Michal Leszczynski, Content director, Getresponse

For us it’s the amount of free trials the blog drives. We care about bottom-lines, not vanity metrics.

Trina Moitra, Head of Marketing, Convert.com

I would say conversions. While content marketing is not directly intended to make sales, there is often a desired conversion involved. That could be readers signing up for an email list or even making a purchase.

Emily Krings, Owner, Quill to Keys content writing.

There are many metrics to consider when measuring successful content, but it depends on the type of content you’re creating. So marketers need to align different goals with different types of content. But the two metrics that tend to remain stable across all formats are: where your content is placed and how useful your audience feels your content is.

The former is fairly straightforward, in that it shows how well you have optimized your piece for the right keywords. But the latter is complicated. Here you’re not only looking at actions, but also how long your audience stays on your site, for example, to consume the content or how they interact with it (do they click through to another page for more information? leave a comment? ask questions? etc).

I would definitely say it’s the rank and the relevancy of your content to your audience at different stages of their lifecycle with your business/brand that matters when measuring success.

And there’s no one metric fits all approach, because everyone’s creating content to reach different goals. So the measurability aspect, the onus is on the marketers to clearly define the goals in their strategies.

– Vanhishikha Bhargava, Founder, Contensify

For me it’s rank, because if a post ranks it has longevity. Shares are amazing to drive traffic and leads in the short term, but the shares will dwindle and so will the traffic. If the content ranks it has the ability to be evergreen.

Michael Brennan, founder, SMBClix

Content has to serve the needs of my audiences and their preferred channels. It needs to emphasize humanity because people connect with people. And I need to measure content effectiveness a little differently – maybe by looking at consumption measures and feedback metrics versus volume and design.

– Deanna Ransom, global head of marketing, Televerde

For me, traffic is probably the most important metric, because a piece of content could be ranking first for a keyword, but that keyword might have zero visibility. Likewise a piece of content could get a ton of shares but if nobody clicks through, then it’s not going to affect your bottom line.

Rank and shares can sometimes be a vanity metric, but what really matters is if the needle was actually moved, and for me that needle is the traffic to the page.

– Alex York, Content Marketing Manager, Teamwork

The best response to content corresponds to the explicit strategy of that content, which hopefully loops into metrics that support the enterprise. This holds true ALL the time, not just for 2021.

Rebecca Lieb, Cofounder, Kaleido Insights

These people are top notch professionals in content and growth industry, and I hope their words will give you a better perspective for your next strategy.