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SEO vs. Viral Marketing

Todays it seems there are a million ways to generate web traffic, and everyone has their own opinion on which one works the best. Regardless of your standpoint, there is no arguing with the fact that highly ranked web sites consistently receive a lot of traffic with minimal effort simply because they are at the top of the search engines for specific keywords. However, there is a no school of thought emerging, that is similar to a ‘get rich quick’ equivalent in internet traffic – viral traffic. Viral traffic is any traffic that originates from sources other than search engines due to word of mouth online. For example, a YouTube video that sends thousands of visitors to your site overnight would be viral traffic. Thus, which is better, search engine optimization or viral traffic?

Effort and Investments

In terms of effort and investment, viral marketing costs nothing in most cases and can bring loads of traffic to your site with a single upload of a video. Search engine optimization on the other hand takes time and persistence in order to be effective, and even after months of trying many people never reach true success because they lack the exclusive tools and knowledge needed to outrank professional web site owners that have been practicing search engine optimization for a long time. Thus, if you are a novice webmaster and you are clueless about search engine optimization, your first approach should be to try and generate vial traffic using any method you can.

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Sustainability and Stability

Unfortunately, viral marketing is not as sustainable and usually dies down within a couple of days of the onset of heightened traffic levels. Search engine optimization usually lasts as long as your site is ranked highly for specific keywords, however it is important to note that search engine optimization brings unstable results even when done successfully. Some days you may have hundreds of visitors and on other days you may only have one, there is jut not telling. This is true regardless of how large your site is or the topic that it pertains to, as there is no way to predict the interest of the public. Viral traffic is a bit more stable while it lasts, so therefore is more stable in some respects, but it has the potential to be just as unstable and search engine traffic. In general, all web traffic is inconsistent in some respects, which is why it is important to diversify your online income streams.

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Learning Curve

As you may have gathered by now, SEO is not for the faint of heart and requires countless hours of research and the willpower to implement strategies that may or may not yield success months down the road. Generating a viral traffic surge based on a YouTube video is perhaps the easiest way to get traffic, whoever there is also a science to it. You have to know what people like and want, and then capitalize on this to generate a buzz, unless of course you;re planning on getting lucky. In the end, good old search engine traffic is always more profitable, more consistent and more sustainable than viral traffic, however viral traffic provides an adrenaline rush and shorts bursts of traffic that even the most successful SEO campaign cannot generate.

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1 Comment

  • Avatar for Jonelle Jonelle says:

    I believe everything there is a balance. You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket…so I believe that seo will be more beneficial in the long run, but the boosts viral marketing will provide will give you the confidence to keep going. thanks for a great article!

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