How Different Social Media Networks Drive Search Traffic

How Different Social Media Networks Drive Search Traffic

The relationship between SEO and social media can be best described as an alley-oop to those who understand basketball. 

We have social media lobbying the ball and SEO dunking it.

Social media signals such as likes, retweets, and followers don’t directly impact your ranking. 

But they directly impact the factors that affect your search engine ranking

Social media can drive traffic to your website. You can share links to your social media pages, and when people click them, that translates to more traffic for you.

In other words, SEO feeds off your social media effort. The two complement each other.

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How Social Networks View SEO

Social networks don’t view SEO the same way we do.

If you thought SEO is hard, then know it’s even harder for social media networks. 

Where you’ll be worrying about getting Google to index a few pages on your website, they have billions of pages to worry about. They also have to worry about rendering heavy JavaScript frameworks. 

It’s a whole different playing field for them. 

So, how about you take a few steps back and observe how these social networks handle SEO. There’s a lot to learn from them, and that’s what we hope to uncover in this article.

Our focus will be on two major social networks, Facebook and LinkedIn. We’d have loved to include Twitter, but their recent partnership with Google doesn’t make them a suitable reference point for this.

Facebook: How Facebook Drives Search Traffic

Facebook drives billions of search traffic. However, we cannot say the same about their social traffic. It’s like they don’t even get any of it. 

The majority of the traffic they get is direct, with organic traffic coming in second and traffic from referral channels coming in third. 

They also rank predominantly for some of the leading brands, especially Google, Walmart, and CNN. 

Facebook doesn’t just rely on its direct traffic. They have also employed SEO professionals – and from the look of things, they’re doing a laudable job, having managed to get Facebook in more than 33 million top 10 organic search results in October.  

In total, Facebook had about 16 billion global visits.

While 10.8 billion of this traffic was direct, 2.3 billion of the traffic came from search engines (according to SEMrush). 

We didn’t consider the number of users who use the Facebook app, only those who access it via 

Facebook’s Biggest SEO Challenge

Facebook biggest SEO challenge is getting all of its pages crawled and indexed. We’re not talking about a few hundreds of pages but billions of them.

Plus, Google has no time to create a Facebook account and crawl all posts, profiles, and Facebook pages.

So, what has Facebook done about this?

It’s simple: ask any SEO expert worth their salt to recommend a solution for this, and they’ll all be pointing in the direction of HTML sitemaps or indices.

What Facebook does is that they identify important pages and index them. So, far they have managed to index upwards of 4 million pages. 

They have even linked to these indices at the bottom (the footer section) of their homepage.

It doesn’t just end there.

Each of these pages boasts a massive number of internal links.

The smart SEO professional at Facebook even went ahead to add cross-categories. 

And they didn’t just organise their pages alphabetically, but in categories as well.

They have directories for more than 1.9 million people, 340 000 groups, 3.2 million places, 765 000 jobs, 83 000 local lists, 63 000 games, 1, 3000 fundraisers, and 1.5 million businesses. 

LinkedIn: How LinkedIn Drives Search Traffic

Social media networks are essentially two-sided. There’s the ad side on one end and the user side on the other.

But LinkedIn is more than that; they’re a social media network that also operates a SaaS program. But that isn’t the only unique thing about this social network. Unlike Facebook, instead of just linking to indices, they also link to the directories in their homepage’s footer section.

They have more than 27,000 directories, with each one of them linking to a set of subcategories. 

LinkedIn isn’t quite as popular as Facebook. They only hold a tiny market share. But they have been steadily growing over the years, and their organic traffic share is twice as much as that of Facebook (29% vs. Facebook’s 14%). 

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TikTok vs. Instagram

TikTok might be as popular as Instagram, but its organic traffic is way too low.

Its organic traffic can’t even compare to YouTube’s. 

Instagram uses the same strategy as Facebook and LinkedIn to index its billions of pages.

They even go the extra mile by putting Google bots on their unique taxonomy (cities and hashtags). 

TikTok, on the other hand, does very little to drive organic traffic. 

Try visiting the site with JavaScript turned off on your browser, and watch as pages go blank. That’s to say Google can’t crawl, index, or even rank their content. 

Snapchat: How Snapchat Drives Organic Traffic

There isn’t much to learn from Snapchat when it comes to SEO. 

They haven’t done much on their end to drive organic traffic. They’re innovative and have admirable grit, but won’t make a perfect example for social network SEO.

Snapchat has grown a lot since it started. But much of what they offer search engines comes from the add/subcategory, which apparently only shows the QR Codes for profiles.  

How Different Social Media Networks Drive Search Traffic

Here’s what they would have done to boost their search traffic:

First, they would have asked their users to include more information on their profiles. That way, search engines would have had more content to crawl. 

That explains why Snapchat doesn’t drive as much search traffic as Instagram and Facebook.

Secondly, they would have added internal linking modules and taxonomy structure. Instead, they have a plain feed, without much to be crawled and indexed. 

Lastly, they would have considered creating directories out of their site maps and then listing local stories by cities. That would have given search engines more fodder to rank their websites

So, in conclusion, Snapchat is sitting on a goldmine. They have so much potential to drive organic search traffic by making only a few adjustments to their site. 

Types of Social Media Traffic and How to Crank it Up

Already, we have discussed how the various social media sites drive traffic to the main website. Indeed, a robust campaign for all the social media sites is what you need to rival the competitors. Now, let us look at the three primary types of social media traffic. Thereafter, we will look at tips on how to crank up the numbers without spending a fortune. We will teach you simple but powerful strategies that you can use to supercharge your campaigns and get more traffic. Keep reading!

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3 Main Types of Social Media Traffic You Should Be Leveraging 

Understanding the different types of social media traffic will give you clarity when creating social media marketing campaigns. 

1. Earned Traffic

Earned traffic is what every business pursues the most when trying to create a buzz on Facebook and other networks. This is organic traffic that is free, that is, you get it from the social media users. You have to master how to work with the shifting algorithms especially on Facebook.

You can increase it by consistently providing quality content and engaging with the audience continuously. The algorithms have a major impact on the amount of organic traffic posts get, so make sure that you adhere to the requirements.

2. Bought Traffic

Bought traffic refers to traffic that you get from paid advertising. Its important to make sure that the ads are professionally designed and the message is right to spark the interest of the target customers. Also, to profit from this form of traffic, you have to make sure that the ads direct prospects to well-designed landing pages to convert. Otherwise, you will be losing money if the ads direct prospects to the wrong website page or landing page.

That said, your goal should not be on sales during the initial stages. Trying to convince stone-cold audience that just stumbled on your brand is not wise. Instead, you should focus on creating an emailing list from the traffic for purposes of email marketing later. 

You can also use the traffic to establish a relationship with the prospects by offering freebies such as free training manual. Such offers will warm the traffic in preparation for the actual sales-focussed marketing campaigns. 

3. Rented Traffic

As the name suggests, this is traffic that is owned by someone else. It can be an affiliate marketing arrangement, a joint venture, an influencer arrangement, or being a guest in a popular Podcast or YouTube interview. 

By bouncing off the expert’s traffic, you will get a significant number of their followers to visit your website and if your message is packaged correctly, they will purchase a product or seek a service from you.

Social proof is more effective in transforming prospects into buyers. 84% of people trust reviews more than text from the brand and trust them as much as personal recommendations from friends. So, being featured in a podcast or interview in a channel that is considered an authority in your niche will catapult you to glory.

Now, there are two sub-types of social media traffic related to the three main forms of traffic namely.

Sub 1# Search-Based Social Media Traffic

As the name suggests, search traffic refers to what the social media users are searching in the network. 

  • What are the benefits of almond latte?
  • Which foods are the best for my cats?
  • Which food supplements are ideal for workout?
  • How to roast meat?

The list of questions that people use to lookup information on social media is endless. When setting up a social media campaign for search traffic, you have to first understand the keywords (both short, long, and question-based) to coin your content appropriately.

Google often fetch results from YouTube and Pinterest, so focus on the two more. If you use YouTube, make sure that the video title and description has the keywords. The same case applies to Pinterest, use the keywords in your content. 

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Power up your content on platforms such as LinkedIn and Instagram using popular hashtags related to the posts. Jump from the comfort zone by also creating your own hashtags. 

The goal is to come up with top-notch content that respond to the questions that people are looking for on search engines and social media platforms such as YouTube. The search-based traffic is the most valuable as it comprises of users who are genuinely interested in your industry. 

Use this website to find the common questions people are asking about your product or service. The suggestions should give your content creation strategies direction – no more shooting in the dark and expecting to hit the target. 

Sub 2# Interruption Traffic

Interruption based social media traffic simply refers to barging in on already engaged audiences by getting into their newsfeed. Most of the traffic from platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter is in category.

Aspiration businesses such as jewellery stores, travel agencies, and massage parlours can benefit from this type of social media traffic immensely. Websites that sell luxury products such as shoes and watches can also increases sales by targeting this traffic.

When creating a campaign for interruption traffic, the goal should be to have maximum emotional impact using imagery, words, videos, and any other form of content that grasps the attention of the audience. You will be literary stopping a prospect from scrolling down the newsfeed to check out what you have to say and offer. 

To continue getting their attention, you need to use fresh content. You cannot expect to use the same type of content and get the same results. Consider publishing a good mix of memes, photos, videos, and even GIFs provided they are interesting and related to your brand. 

Remember that the scrolling users are bored, and its your job to create belly laughs, intrigue, drama and awe of fascination. You have no option but to re-invent your content types and revamp your creativity to come with new angles of topics to grasp and sustain their attention until they take the desired action.

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Tips on How to Crank Up Social Media Traffic

All three types and two types of social media traffic will determine how successful your social media campaigns will be in the end. Be sure to monitor the numbers by generating an analytics report to know which type of content works for your brand. Virtually, all platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have an analytics feature for businesses. 

Ideally, to increase social media traffic, you have to engage with the audience continuously and focus on building relationships with them on each platform. One sure way of achieving this goal is by being always available to both the existing and potential customers to nurture them through the buying process.

What Is the Link Between Click-Through Rates And SEO?

Yes, different social networks function differently, but here are the five steadfast rules that you should always adhere to crank up your social media traffic.

Tip 1# Use Visuals to Inspire the Audience

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First impression is utterly important when using social media for marketing or brand awareness. Visuals will help the audience to make a decision on whether to purchase a product from you or not fast. As noted by Adobe, posts with images get 650% more engagement than conventional boring text posts. 

How Different Social Media Networks Drive Search Traffic 1

If you have been using plain text, its time to increase the chances of prospects buying your product or contact you for a service by using graphics, video or even a demo. Facebook is great, but the most visual-oriented social media platform is Instagram. 

Brands get 4.2% more engagement on Instagram than any other platform due to the fact its visual or graphics oriented. One important statistic about this platform is that a majority of the users post comments on a picture published here within the first 2 days. 

How Different Social Media Networks Drive Search Traffic 2

Make sure that your visuals are stellar to convey a positive image of your brand to the customers. Here are five characteristics of visually appealing posts.

  • Have visuals that tell a story of a product, service, or brand
  • Have vibrant color and the layout is well-designed
  • High level photography
  • Well-planned and on point
  • Exhume services and products in a new desirable angle or light

Tip 2# Content Should Be Shareable

A majority of people use smartphones and other mobile devices to access social media sites. Globally, the number of active mobile social media users is estimated to be 4.15 billion. To market your brand to this ever-ballooning audience, you need to make sure that your content is easily shareable. 

How Different Social Media Networks Drive Search Traffic 3

Your posts should not only be shareable but also easy to read. Include share buttons to increase the chances of your posts going viral. There are many plugins that you can use for this purpose, for example, click to Tweet allows users to highlight a section of the post that resonates with them and share it without exiting the page. The buttons should be mobile friendly and not distractive in any way.

How Different Social Media Networks Drive Search Traffic 4

A majority of the readers don’t scroll past the halfway mark. Leverage SumoMe to know where the audience clicks on your blog articles. Add the social share buttons in those specific places to increase traffic to your social media pages.  

Tip 3# Work on SEO

Optimising the content to make it shareable is half the battle, the next phase is making sure it’s shared effectively. Do this by making sure that you adhere to SEO best practices when creating and posting on any of the social media networks.

Adhering to the best SEO practices will help to;

  • Crank up social media traffic
  • Increase online visibility
  • Increase sales and leads
  • Boost your brand awareness efforts and domain authority
  • Network with the ideal audience directly and affordably 

Carry out keyword research to find words and terms that the target audience use to find information about your industry and brand. Include the terms in your posts to make them for discoverable and visible to the audiences you are targeting. 

Tip 4# Be Consistent

As mentioned earlier, the key to increasing social media traffic is by been consistent. The more consistent you are, the higher the chances of your brand getting noticed by prospects. A spike in traffic should not encourage you to slow down or change your posting schedule, instead, you should take it as a sign that you are doing it right and put more effort.

Maintaining a daily publishing on multiple social media traffic will help you achieve this goal within a short span of time. Here are some recommendations from Constant Contact on how often you should post on the different networks.

  1. LinkedIn: 2-5 times per week
  2. Instagram: 1.5 times per day
  3. Tweeter: 5 times per day
  4. Facebook: 3-5 times weekly

A social media scheduling tool will help you come up with an ideal posting calendar and stick to it. The scheduling tool will automatically post on the selected social media pages thereby freeing up your to-do list for other tasks.

How Different Social Media Networks Drive Search Traffic 5

Tip 5# Carry Out Competition Research

Competition research will help you to know what other companies in your area of jurisdiction are doing to connect with prospects through social media. The analysis will help you to come up with campaigns and strategies that are better than them. 

Concisely, a social media competition analysis will dissect your traffic using various metrics to show you how similar audiences are responding to social posts made by competitors. Gather as much information about the competitors as possible such as;

  • Number of posts per day 
  • Specific days that they post
  • How proactive they are in responding to comments
  • Popular types of content

Use this insider information to reverse the trend and step up your social media marketing campaigns. 

Organic Growth: Organic Traffic plus Growth

We’ve established that social networks don’t approach SEO the same way we do. They employ a different mindset and execution plan (or organic growth like we call it on this side of the street). 

Organic growth is where organic traffic meets growth.

It differs from Growth Hack because it involves a set of principles that only apply to websites with user-generated content.

Such websites tend to deal with millions (or even billions) of pages that you have to index. 

Getting all these pages indexed is the biggest SEO challenge of all. Plus, it’s only half the battle.

The other half goes to the JavaScript frameworks to be rendered. Remember: these frameworks are generated for the billions of pages on your website, making them superheavy. 

SEO professionals have to work closely with engineers, designers, and product managers. They also have to run a series of experiments that impact users’ experience with the site. 

It calls for a tight set of KPIs. 

It’s only by observing, learning, and understanding these principles that you’d know how to scale organic growth for your site. 

The better optimise your social media posts are, the higher the traffic they will accrue. MediaOne Marketing is here to help you get more results from social media by providing social media marketing services. Our team is conversant with the various network and have in the past run successful campaigns for brands like yours. Get in touch with us for more details.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Social Media




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