Has Social Media Killed SEO?

With many of the web sites out there today, you would certainly think so! I’m guessing here but it seems many have neglected this critical aspect of their web sites, blogs etc… or has social media made that totally irrelevant today?

Search engine optimization is not just for the robots it’s also your visitors that come to your site as well. With the explosion of blogs and content management systems, everyone has one today, I have my share of them.

One of the key factors in any web site is the speed in which it loads for the visitor, this is one area that as we’ve moved to blogs and CMS systems seems to have been forgotten or totally disregarded! The more sites I follow from tweets is proving this out daily.

Overload on Plugins & Modules

When we look at the number of plugins we have for WordPress as of today the list 4,245 of them. For Drupal 6 we have 3,546 modules to date and climbing. Of course we will not use all of them but those that we do use creates a performance hit on our sites with increased load times.

We could argue, that everyone is moving to high speed internet access anyway so it’s not a problem right or is it? In the early part of 2000 there where quite a few companies involved in fiber-optics networks, many of these companies failed.

The issue then was there was way to much fiber-optic cable in the ground that was not being used. Today we are possibly approaching a shortage, which could be great news in todays economy putting more people back to work to increase the supply and we do need it.

The Traffic Jam Is Here

Take a look at any major city in the United States today and what does it always have traffic issues, well maybe not today with everyone driving less. When it comes to traffic poor engineering can play a huge part in traffic flow, we have the same effect with the internet from poor to nonexistent SEO techniques.

Visit any of the major websites and many smaller sites that pull in advertising content, pictures etc… Most of the time the sites pages never fully load. Some large news services, really are atrocious, as they run multiple ad services on their sites.

Not to long ago, I visited a site that was a re-tweet. At the site the individual was going to critique some else’s website. He did bring up some relevant points about the page in question, a typical landing page. Yet his page took over 8 seconds to load fully, and was over 400kb in size and there was nothing special about the page, it had only 2 graphics on it neither of which was optimized for the web delivery.

So What Can We do?

Track it, look at the third party applications that you include within your site, does it cause performance hit? Last year I wrote about the module for Drupal Addthis Button it did seem like the perfect solution. It wasn’t until later I could often see an issue. The page would not load fully as it was waiting for addthis to load.

Now I’m not against third party applications; some of them are down right useful additions to any website. It is when they become so popular that it begins to detract from a web visitor experience we must make the difficult choice do we keep it or look for another solution.

Often we can find a solution that essentially does the same job, yet resides on our sites server, thereby preventing the third party slow down.

If you don’t have it, get the Firefox web browser, then install Firebug and Yslow plugins. With these simple free tools you can see exactly where your site is taking a performance hit! Some of it you will be able to correct, some you will not.

One area of performance that 99.9% of us will not be able to change is the “CDN” score, otherwise know as the “Content Delivery Network,” which simply is geographically dispersed content, which means the site is not dependent on sending it’s content from just one location.

While you maybe able to get a visitor to your site via social media, give them a good to great experience once they arrive there. And never over look the SEO aspect of your site, the search engines can and will drive targeted traffic to your site.

So back to the original question “Has Social Media Killed SEO?” I don’t believe so; some will ignore it to their detriment!