What should you focus your online time on: social or SEO?

It seems like the worlds of social media and SEO are more and more intertwined every day.

Google wants to replace Facebook, Facebook wants to replace Google and site owners everywhere are left wondering what they should focus their online time on"social media marketing or SEO? The truth is that online marketing is not an "all or nothing" arena.

The best Internet marketing campaigns are fully integrated and use every available tool to help them succeed. No site that favors SEO over social media (or vice versa) is going to be as successful as one that implements both.

Social Media And SEO Both Thrive On Content

How many times have you heard the phrase "content is king"? Its an oft-repeated mantra because its true, for both SEO and social media.

Search spiders find and index your site based on its content and subsequent keywords. The more good, quality content your site has  the more search engines have to work with.

Since the search engines rank individual pages and not sites as a whole, individual web pages, blog posts, article and videos can rank in the search results, increasing your brands online presence. Off-site content can generate links for your site, expanding your link portfolio and increasing your sites value in the eyes of the search engines.

And social media was built for content sharing. Roughly 27 million pieces of content are shared on various social networks every day!

People love to share interesting, funny, entertaining and thought-provoking content with their social network. They talk about books, movies, TV shows, food, sports and just about everything else under the sun on social sites, all the while sharing content that strikes a chord.

When people share/Tweet/post/Like/Stumble your content, it creates a social signal that tells the search engines that this content is valuable, thereby increasing its relevancy. Social media and SEO work hand-in-hand to promote your content and generate links!

The search engines are also incorporating social signals into the algorithms to help determine how well a site ranks.

Social Media And SEO Are Both Long Term

If you start your social media marketing or SEO campaigns expecting overnight success, youre in for a surprise. Social media and SEO are probably the two most long term campaigns a business can undertake.

Since social media is about building relationships with your target audience, you have to first lay the groundwork. Setting up a Facebook page and expecting your target audience to just start flooding in isnt realistic.

You have to give your audience a real reason to connect with your brand and stay connected. There is a lot of noise and distractions on a social networking site that can pull them away.

If you want to have a real conversation with your target audience, youve got to keep up with the rest of their network. It takes time to learn how your audience expects to be addressed, when is the right time to post/update so theyll actually see and pay attention to your message, which are the influencers and brand enthusiasts and so forth.

SEO is not the way for people looking for quick turnaround. Time plays a huge role in a sites general success.

The older a site is the more trust it has accrued with the search engines"thats the bottom line. New sites (less than a year old) could do everything right with their SEO and still not see the results they are looking for as fast as theyd like. The search engines like to see a slow, diversified approach to link building because it shows a commitment to white hat SEO.

Social Media + SEO = Online Marketing Success!

If you were to start your SEO and social media marketing campaigns at the same time, they would help each other grow.

Links from social networking sites can help increase your sites trust factor and promote your content. By following the basic structure of on-site optimization, you could optimize your social profiles so they rank better in the search engines and turn them into a pathway through to your site. The two dont have to depend on each other for success, but they work so well together that it doesnt make sense to keep them separate!

The simple truth is that the two worlds of social media and SEO are becoming more and more related as time goes by. If you have any doubts, just look at the last few months. Bing and Facebook have teamed up to provide users with a highly personalized, social search experience. Meanwhile, Google has created Google+, a social network backed by the search industrys biggest player. While social signals may not be the most important ranking factor today, there is little doubt that this is where search is heading. Social media and SEO are converging into a new, hybrid social SEO.