Skip to main content

SEO vs VEO vs Social Media: Which is More Important?


According to Wikipedia, Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.

So what’s VEO? Visitor Enhanced Optimization is the practice of making sure that your readers can enjoy, understand and relate to your blog, site, content, message, call to action and more. For example, you can’t dump keywords into your site copy if the paragraphs they sit in don’t make any sense. VEO is about building relationships and trust with your visitors. It’s about offering quality content, value and information.

If you only do SEO – link, metatags, keywords, etc. and it brings you good search rankings – but you don’t have good content, readable content, interesting content – then why would anyone stay? Why would they come back?

On the other hand, if you have great content and VEO – but you don’t metatag your site or the site map is difficult for the search engines to read, etc…it’ll be harder for people to find you, but if they do find you, you’ll have a good chance of getting them to subscribe and possibly hire you or buy your product.

SEO and VEO really do work in concert with each other. I think they feed each other well. And, truth be told, the search engine algorithms strive to mimic the human mind. They’re not just looking for links or keywords.

Could you change your search rank by being social?

What about social media? How do you classify social networking? Is it in a class of its own? And can you build a strong readership, a nice Alexa rank and good search engine results if you replace hardcore SEO with a blog that you use well and a large, positive presence on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn?

At the end of the day, I think that using all three components will get you the farthest. But…

  1. If you hate networking and just can’t be social like that – use VEO and SEO.
  2. If you’re a born networking and you love promotion, building relationships and connecting – use VEO and Social Media.
  3. If you want many one-time visitors with no punch or staying power – use SEO and Social Media. I feel quite strongly that losing the VEO will destroy you. There’s just too much good stuff out there and people can smell crap a mile away.

I’m tempted to say that Social Media could replace traditional SEO if you’re really good at working the networks.

Think about it: Are 20K followers on Twitter that adore you and feel like they know you better than thousands of dollars worth of keyword research and placement? I think so. And that’s because I’m a proponent of relationship and ‘word of mouth’ marketing. I also believe that if you’re an expert in your field, the keywords you need are going to naturally fill your site.

Of course, SEO can be good and full of quality, But, some SEO gets a deserved bad rap – because it’s black hat, or dirty pool, and to be honest it isn’t “natural” or “organic” – it seeks to reach a goal of high rankings without taking the reader into consideration. I suppose the spammers on social networking sites are the same – but they don’t usually come out on top, do they? I, for one, give them the big old BLOCK.

Bottomline: traffic drives your search engine ranking. And good content drives traffic. Social media has given us, the writers and readers, the opportunity to have a say in what sites are popular or not. The writers can populate with good content, the readers can share the site with social bookmarking and networking – even through email.

To answer my original question, ‘Which is more important?’ I’m going with this order:

1. VEO: have the goods

2. Social Media: build relationships, market, manage your PR, promote, be real

3. SEO: follow the basic guidelines and best practices, making it easy for your site to be searched, ranked and found

Image by alborzshawn

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Ari Herzog says:

    If you have 20,000 followers on Twitter, they’re not necessarily adoring fans but victims of either auto-follow techniques because you followed them or suckers for influential writers because other people they respect retweeted you.

    I give great VEO. It’s even better doing it together through comments on each other’s blogs, guest blog posts, contextual linking, and the like.

  • Julie Roads says:

    How about a cup of coffee with that cynicism, Ari?
    But, thank you, I agree that VEO stretches beyond just site content or blog posts. Great add.

  • Anne Mayhew says:

    Love that post! Thanks for the insight!

  • Balancing SEO, VEO, and Social Media are the tactics used by a savvy strategist that understands the overall strategy….CONVERSION.

  • brian says:

    great post.
    veo is such a new term for me, i’ve never heard of veo before.
    i agree that seo, veo and social media are all important.

  • Great post and couldn’t agree more. I often talk about the key to having a great site is the marriage of SEO, effective content and userbility. VEO may be a new term for me – but the concept is one I preach to my clients. Far too many sites focus just on SEO – and design content for robots instead of human beings. What’s the point in getting to page one on Google if your bounce rate is 90%! It’s a strategic balance. Get found by the search engines, engage with your user by giving them something to talk about and a great user experience leading them seamlessly to what you want them to do.

  • Scott Siders says:

    Great article! I’ve been talking about this for awhile now, but you’ve put this together very succinctly. As an online copywriter, I deal with this on a daily basis. What makes my job fun is the “art” of working in keywords (SEO) in such a way that readers do not “see” the article, press release, etc. as being loaded with keywords. Their experience is simply that it’s an interesting article (VEO).

    I would, however, switch you order of importance to
    1. VEO
    2. SEO
    3. Social Media

    Social media is critical but, as a copywriter, VEO and SEO are more important because they need to work seamlessly with one another. Social media, then, is just another catalyst that drives traffic to the site. Become a real person through social media. Then become a company that solves your visitors’ problems when they reach your site — the goal always being to not just get them to the site, but to hold their attention and give them an offer they can’t refuse.

    Thanks for writing this!

  • Dhany says:

    Great post. The first time I hear about VEO, though I find that the concept is very familiar. Bookmarking this in Delicious. I am sure I will reference it again. :)
    .-= Dhany´s last blog ..Alat Bantu Riset Kata Kunci =-.

Leave a Reply