Search vs. Social – Key Differences You Need to Know

Published On: February 6th, 2023Categories: Social MediaBy

Search vs. Social – Key Differences You Need to Know

Social media marketing (SMM) and search engine optimization (SEO) are both highly effective digital marketing tactics businesses of all sizes should take advantage of. Although they have many similarities, the two should not be confused with one another. By understanding the differences between social media marketing and SEO, you can ensure your business is taking advantage of both tools effectively. Combining SMM with SEO can have a powerful impact on your online presence — helping you reach new audiences and stay ahead of the competition.

Before we dive into the main differences between search vs. social, let’s define what each of these tools is:

Social media marketing is about connecting with current and potential customers and building relationships through social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and more. SMM focuses on creating content that resonates with your target audience, engaging them in conversations, and increasing brand awareness. It helps you build a community of consumers who will talk about your business online and support it offline.

SEO focuses on optimizing the visibility of websites to drive organic traffic from search engines like Google or Bing. SEO involves making changes to web pages and blog posts to become more attractive to search engines, improving the chances of appearing in search engine results. SEO focuses on research and technical skills such as keyword research, link building, content optimization, and more.

Here are a few differences between the two to keep in mind:


Following trending topics and creating content that appeals to people’s emotions is essential for social media success. However, research-based articles may be even more important when it comes to search. Evergreen topics — ones that have lasting value — can play a major role in SEO returns. To maximize the reach of your content, consider instructional pieces or posts that answer common questions. Make sure to include the relevant keywords so web crawlers can easily pull up your work in results pages! By keeping these strategies in mind, you can ensure your content reaches its full potential on various platforms.



 Content formats are the types of media in which the content is published online. Popular content types include:

  • Text (blog articles, guides, ebooks)
  • Visual (videos, photos, memes)
  • Audio (podcasts)
  • Live (events, webinars, streams)

Some of these formats have advantages on search and social:

 Search: long-form

Long articles perform best in search in the traditional organic rankings. Creating long-form content is an integral part of SEO success. By providing detailed and relevant information, you can demonstrate your expertise in a certain subject matter. Long articles also provide more opportunities for keyword optimization, helping to improve search engine rankings.

Social: short-form + video

Short-form video content is the fastest growing format on the web, which is no surprise! Video content grabs user attention in social feeds, which is why TikTok is still growing in popularity, and platforms like Instagram and Facebook are focusing on Reels.


 People who go on a search engine are looking for something specific. Since they searched for it, they are likely to make a purchase. They have strong intent as they are entering your site with a purpose, need, or question.

Social media users were likely already browsing when they came across your brand. They don’t have specific intent, but if you grab their attention, they may check out your goods or services. They may also spread awareness, influencing other consumers.


In terms of search, visibility, and traffic are easy to report, but engagement is more difficult to track, as behavior metrics for specific key phrases are not available.

On social media, engagement metrics like shares, comments, and likes are easy to measure, but total visibility from social traffic is harder to report.

 Despite these differences, social and search do ultimately work together for your business. Search visibility is key to success in the world of social media and content marketing. Optimizing your content for search engine crawlers helps to ensure that your posts reach a wider audience. Researching relevant topics in your industry can help generate ideas for new content to share on social networks and provide you with the information you need to back up your claims in posts. Additionally, engaging with other influencers and brands through social networks can benefit your search rankings. Building relationships through social media will also increase brand awareness and drive more traffic to your website or blog through link backs and collaborations. All these strategies will help improve the visibility of your content and give you an edge over competitors in terms of organic search engine rankings.

With the right approach, social media can be a powerful tool for increasing your website’s visibility and search ranking. If you are ready to earn higher organic search rankings and better overall performance for your business, our team of experts at BBstone is here to help. Call or email us at to get started.

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