This article originally appeared on 60 Second Social

Facebook is now starting to drive more traffic to media websites than Google, according to new data from Parse.ly, an analytics company which collects data for around 400 publishers including Reuters and Mashable. 

We know by now that Facebook wants to be everything you do on the Internet, it has gradually been catching up to Google in the referral traffic numbers. Now Facebook has started to overtake Google and instead of SEO experts popping up it is now social media optimisers.

SEO remains important and will remain important for some time, however it is clear that the pendulum is starting to swing. When I read “The art of social media” by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick there was a section about SEO. They spoke about how social media optimisation (SMO) was going to become more important and how they believed in working on SMO instead of SEO.

While I don’t think the time has come to ditch SEO practises, I did decide at the time of reading the book to focus more on SMO and to let SEO take a bit more of a back seat – continuing to work on it but not dedicating so much time to it. What I have found is that social media sources are pushing more traffic to the site than search engines ever did, so the decision has paid off for me so far.

Below is Parse.ly’s chart representing traffic referrals from Google and Facebook.

As you can see in the first graph, Facebook has caught up to Google rapidly and from April/July this year they have headed into the lead. In the second graph we can see the total traffic referral sources with social media referral sources coming in at 48% compared to search engine sources only coming in at 38%.

We can’t deny that momentum is shifting towards social networks and websites are getting more traffic from social networks than ever before. With more traffic going to websites from Facebook than Google, it would appear to be perfect timing for the more recent features Facebook have started pushing.

Yesterday we spoke about the Facebook Notes app and how Facebook appears to be looking towards a potential blogging project that would rival Medium. It also speaks volume for smaller brands and companies who have a website but still do not have a social media presence at the moment.

Social media is no fad, it is not a temporary thing. It is here for the long haul, if smaller businesses or brands have not started to embrace it yet then there is a serious risk of being left behind. Looking at the two main social networks, Facebook has transformed into a huge growing traffic source while Twitter has acres of space still to grow. The potential for each of them to reach heights higher than Google is massive.

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