Search Traffic Refers More Visitors Than Social Media in 2017

Reports of the demise of search engine optimisation, and the dominance of social media, will need to be updated as search traffic sent more visitors to websites than social in 2017.

The figures come from a variety of sources. Shareaholic put Search at 34.8% of site visits compared to social at 25.6% in 2017, which puts Search as the biggest source of traffic for the first time since 2014. Meanwhile Chartbeat has consistently had Search ahead, but referrals grew since August 2017. also confirmed the rise for search and drop for social media.

Search Traffic Refers More Visitors Than Social Media in 2017


What is changing to search and social traffic?

Social Media platforms have come under criticism for their handling of fake news, spam content and clickbait. And as the largest of the networks, Facebook has come under particular scrutiny. So as a result, the most recent changes to the Facebook newsfeed have attempted to boost trusted sources and demote the rest.

At the same time, the efforts by Google to improve mobile search access, particularly around Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), have been driving a growth in search volume and traffic, while desktop activity remains largely the same.


What to do for your business?

The ‘battle’ between Search and Social for biggest source of website traffic is largely a pointless one. Regardless of which is marginally bigger, you really want to be using both to the best of your ability.

Search remains not only a large source of traffic, but one which converts to action well. Because if you’re optimising for the right searches and content, you’ll attract people actively in the market for your products and services. And it will deliver you a good source of new customers who don’t already know about your company.

Meanwhile Social remains a great way to increase engagement and repeat purchases. You can use it to reach targetted new customers, and to promote sales to existing fans. And to also improve your customer service and engagement. But it’s not really at its best as a pure sales channel generally. There are exceptions, and some small companies do a lot of social media-based sales through Facebook, Instagram etc. But although all companies can change how they rank, promote and share content via their platform, having a business based on social media sales through 1-2 channels will always seem a little riskier than also having search, email and other sales mechanisms in place.


If you’d like to know how we’ve increased sales through search, social media, content marketing and other methods, get in touch…




The difference between SEO and Spam…

There’s occasionally some confusion and complaints about SEO as being the cause of spam on the internet with irrelevant content being returned in search results because of unethical techniques. The problem is that within any industry you’ll get good, ethical people who work hard at what they do, and bad, unethical people who use tricks to get quick results and run with the cash.

But if you’re still concerned about spammy SEO and you should be optimising what you do, a new video by Google’s Head of Web Spam Team, Matt Cutts should help:

Good SEO takes time, effort and skill to ensure that relevant content and products are correctly returned for relevant search terms. Bad SEO promises to get you to #1 on Google by using every trick in the book.

And I’ll always practise and recommend good, ethical ‘white hat’ SEO practices for one simple reason – they give better, more cost effective and longterm results. By following the best practice recommendations of search engines, you don’t have to worry about getting found out, or getting your spam technique negated by an update, and having everything wiped out or penalised overnight. You’ll also have a solid foundation to build your business on, and as part of the work you’ll be improving the content and results in related areas, such as conversion rates and social media engagement.

And if you ever need advice, feel free to get in touch!

Content, Marketing and SEO

I generally stay away from posting infographics, but this one on the value of content and SEO is useful and relevant enough to share, and it reinforces a lot of the messages I’ve given to clients about the increasing need to integrate all elements of digital marketing, beginning with great content which is optimised for conversions/actions, and then building on that with social elements, search engine optimisation, and federated distribution.

It’s also why I’m doing an increasing amount of work to identify the brand story and narrative with a client before doing any other marketing work. If you get the brand story and a handful of pieces of content working well, then you can boost the people who are visiting it in a number of ways. If you do it the other way around, you get lots of traffic costing you in terms of bandwith, and nothing in terms of the desired outcome, whether that’s revenue, interaction, sign-ups etc.
Brafton's Infographic: Why Content for SEO?

Click for the large version.

It’ll be interesting to see what effects a rise in content marketing has on the market for content creation. After years of watching rates fall for both freelance and full-time writers, journalists and bloggers, perhaps for those who are able to display quality in terms of optimising for businesses in addition to tone, style and substance, this will see a marked rise.

The difference between SEO and Social Media Marketing

There’s a very simple difference in approach:

Good Search Engine Optimisation should be built into your website.

Good Social Media Marketing should be built into your company.

UK-based Search Strategy Manager job vacancy

Bauer Consumer Media (the company which gainfully employs me), is looking for a Search Strategy Manager, so I though it was worth sharing the details. Feel free to pass them onto anyone in your network who would be suitable:

And on with the official bit…


Bauer Consumer Media’s Digital Marketing team are looking to recruit a Search Strategy Manager who will report directly into the Digital Marketing Director.

The key purpose of the role is to manage natural and paid-for search strategies for Bauer Consumer Media and provide leadership in associated digital marketing activity (linking, affiliate marketing strategy.) Key responsibilities of the role include the following;

Agency co-ordination and Management

  • Management of digital marketing agencies to support our activity.
  • Challenge and direct these agencies to deliver against a set of agreed KPI’s
  • First point of contact with Account Management.
  • Establish and cascade best practice and thought leadership into the business.

Management of Natural Search strategy

  • Develop with agency a NSO plan, and project manage the implementation across technical, marketing and editorial functions.
  • Manage business analyst responsible for technical implementation and ensure that technical changes are supported at a senior management level.
  • Work with digital marketing and editorial teams to ensure that pages and content are optimised.
  • Ensure accurate measurement of campaigns.
  • Focus on optimising campaign performance
  • Working with Digital Directors to ensure cultural changes are implemented.
  • Ensure that learning’s from agency relationship are captured and put back into the business.

Management of Paid for Campaign

  • Oversee total PPC campaign budget and work with digital marketing managers to ensure campaigns are delivered to agreed KPI’s and ROI
  • Troubleshoot and manage key PPC campaigns
  • Work with Digital Directors and Advertising to deliver PPC campaigns to deliver specific advertising/commerce inventory and objectives.

Thought leadership in search strategy

  • Coordinate training and best practice seminars.
  • Ensure that video, image, location optimisation are built into our marketing plans.
  • Build a strategy to focus on building up rankings in specialist directories, niche search sites etc.

Manage associated digital marketing strategy (affiliate marketing/linking)

  • Develop an affiliate marketing strategy for the group and manage the implementation.
  • Build a linking strategy for the group and manage the implementatio


  • To play an active role as part of the senor digital exec
  • To influence and educate peers and Digital Directors to ensure appropriate investment and resource is applied to this area.

The ideal candidate will be able to demonstrate the following;

  • Highly self-sufficient, collaborative and passionate about what they do;
  • Excellent organisation and time management skills.
  • Able to demonstrate sufficient experience implementing best practice NSO strategies.
  • In depth knowledge of NSO methodology, including link community development, content and website accessibility.
  • Search agency experience.
  • Management of a £1m plus paid search campaign.
  • Strong project management skills
  • Passionate about sharing and communicating information
  • The ability to communicate to groups of people at all levels of the organisation
  • Pragmatic, flexible and creative approach;
  • Commercially astute but consumer focused.
  • Strong analytical skills in analysing and influencing ROI
  • Strong interest and experience in media/digital marketing and future trends.
  • Technically savvy.
  • Hands on role in search
  • Experience of online marketing

If you are interested in applying for this role, please send your CV and covering letter to

The future is still in your hands…

Leading on from my previous post

I’ve been having an interesting discussion on a Facebook group for journalism. A discussion began around the topic “Should newspapers provide new media training”.

From there it dovetailed into new vs old media. The interesting thing was seeing bloggers, professional journalists, and a founder of the Fox News Channel all in the discussion.

The crux of my argument would be that newspapers and publishers should offer training in both new and old media, and that you’d be foolish not to take advantage of both. if nothing else, you might have a slight rethink about the way you work, and make a slight improvement in your writing or search engine optimisation. On the other hand, it could spark someone revolutionary.

I don’t think you should ignore new, or old, media, and if you do, then you’re missing out. There is going to be a place for print, TV and radio for a long time yet, and the formal training of ‘old’ media could help improve the work of countless internet writers, just as the ‘new’ media training could help a lot of writing become more searchable, and findable.

Although I tend to ignore most of the rules for fun on this blog, I have no doubt that the excitement of seeing my name in print, and my efforts to become a better print journalist, have been me more able to structure and write on and offline to a reasonable level of quality. Just as new and old media can, and should co-exist, so should old and new media training. Treat all your knowledge as another thing to keep in your toolbox, and you’ll be far more capable of more jobs. And after all, isn’t one of the main journalistic qualities supposed to be the desire to know why everything is happening?

Quick thoughts on three web 2.0 sites

I’ve been playing around with various sites recently, so here’s some thoughts: : Human-powered search engine.
It’s a nice idea, to have valid results compiled by an expert, but at the current level of answers, it just isn’t going to provide what I need. Most times I’m searching I want to find a quick answer, but mahalo just doesn’t have the coverage I need, and I wonder how fast it’ll grow with the reliance on humans. It’s been running for a while and I’m still struggling to find anything I need which returns a result…Even then, the actual answer ends up being supplied by Google, rather than mahalo. : social networking meets file sharing. One question springs to mind. Why, with ftp, file upload sites, and file sharing via MSN etc, would I need, or want, to persuade people to sign up and download another application? : dating site with bidding. The stand out feature of iminlikewithyou is that you create games to attract bidder to contact you. And bid on other games to get the right to contact them.
Which brings to mind one important question. Why? If I’m looking for friends and dates, I want to log in, find the type of person I’m looking for, and start interacting. Not spend a week constantly trying to bid to win the chance to introduce myself, only to find out that actually, they don’t really want to chat. Gimmick for gimmicks sake…That’s why sites like Faceparty and Flirtomatic continue to have an audience. Men, in particular, are simple people. Don’t confuse us.