Photo Credit: MDGadvertising
Sustaining social traffic from networks like Facebook and Twitter requires constantly updating those accounts with new content. Stop tweeting and you stop getting traffic from your followers on Twitter. Social networks have to be maintained more aggressively than search engine results to sustain user visits. Unlike a search result, updates on social networks provide almost no residual traffic. Every new tweet is pushed further down the timeline by a newer tweet until it fades into history. A good search ranking, on the other hand, maintains its place for as long as it’s perceived to be a quality result in the eyes of Google.
Blogging has the same problem as social media. Bloggers are sometimes referred to as “page view slaves” due to their need to blog regularly to maintain their traffic. Any sharp decline in posting (taking a day off from a blog that averages four posts a day, for instance) often engenders a sharp decline in traffic. To increase their page views, many bloggers feel obliged to increase their posting frequency at the risk of burning themselves out; or worse—they’re compelled to write “link bait” topics that succeed at attracting short-term traffic at the risk of lowering long-term credibility.
If you’re trying to make money online, social traffic is notorious for providing poor conversion rates. Conversion rate refers to the percentage of viewers who respond to a specific call to action on a page relative to the number of times the page is viewed. Actions can range from entering an email address to clicking on a “Buy Now” button, depending on the conversion goal. If “Buy Now” button clicks are the conversion goal, then three clicks between 100 visitors would mean a 3% conversion rate.
Social bookmarking platforms like Digg and StumbleUpon bring in plenty of readers, but few buyers. Social sites are used primarily for recreation. When readers click on a “fishing rods” link in a blog post that’s on Digg, it’s usually because their curiosity has been piqued. This is fundamentally different from users who type ‘fishing rods’ into a search engine—these are people who probably want to actually buy fishing rods. So a visitor on your site that comes from a search engine is generally more likely to convert to a sale than a visitor from a social bookmark or status update.