The Limitation of Social Media

Will social content ever be able to compete with well optimized landing pages for search engine position? Not any time soon in our opinion, due to the massive growth and meandering of tweets and posts.

Limits of Social Media

This is why well optimized blog posts differ so much from social media. They are easily  index-able (partly due to their permalink structure). They usually contain much more relevant content than a tweet or post. And finally that content is published on platforms which facilitate keyword optimization.

While social media giants seem to be creating their own “web within the web” frame of reference, including their own internal search engines (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) relevant search results are limited to their own domains. Facebook does offer outside search results through Bing (but that’s an entirely separate matter).

With Facebook, post addresses are somewhat convoluted and not SEO friendly. Facebook does occasionally index and return individual posts (even to users not logged in) but these have little chance of competing with well optimized content from relevant site pages.

Generally speaking, you cannot create a static, indexable permalink from content that does not have an address (like social likes or replies). Just this year, Google and Twitter revisited their “deal” to have Google index the Twitter feed. But as this article indicates, it may be a while before tweets rank well.

We do see some LinkedIn Pulse artcles being indexed due to their post-name default link structure, and the general business type length and structure of certain posted content. We think that LinkedIn has a good chance of competing with “average” page content, and may set the search friendly mark for social a bit higher.

Social media, as it exists today, does not appear to be trying to replace the utility of the broader search engine universe.

As an adjunct to other web-based marketing tools, social content has a long way to go before it begins to compete with the search results of well optimized page or blog post content.

We should understand and view social media as the very useful tool for “immediate impact” and “targeted distribution” that it was designed to be. In a world of constant, rapid change, social media is the utility of “real-time, right now updates” for a given audience that is a bit more intimate than “the world at large”.

Search engines on the other hand index content that is available to the global audience outside the social network’s circles. They capture updates of page content –  but keeping up with Social tweets and posts may be too much for even Google to handle.

Even if the search engines chose to index all that explosive user-generated content, from adolescent teens to recipe posting Grandma’s, would they really want to with PPC being their lead revenue source?

Social media has its place in the world. A good place indeed. But it also has its limitations. The key to social media is to understand both its utilities and its limitations – leverage the strengths, and don’t fight againts its weaknesses.