A group member on our private Facebook Group of ours asked an excellent question. Why waste time on Google search traffic when we can get traffic more easily from social networks.
In June, I got over 40,000 page views to my 1,000 post site from G+ and Pinterest. I got over 6,000 page views to this site in its very first month from Facebook (granted I already had well-wishers there).
Even though I get a LOT of traffic and revenue from social, and I agree that your business cant only depends on fickle search traffic, I still feel we should have search optimization as an important pillar of our marketing mix. Not the only pillar but an important pillar.
For Google traffic, most of us are scared that we will put a lot of effort and may not rank which is a waste of our time. Problem of sites like Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, etc. is two-fold:
1. Buyer intent. When you are on page 1 for “best home guard dogs under $100 and easily trainable”, you may get 10-15 visitors a month, but I can have ten sales too as it is highly targeted. When people come from Facebook, Pinterest, etc., they have “browser intent” which means unless its an impulse purchase (mostly happens for shoes, dresses, cosmetics, etc.), there won’t be a sale, so your revenue will have to come from ads.
2. Shelf Life of a post: Also, You may take 6-8 months to get on page 1, but once you do, you will get a steady stream of traffic. The shelf life of a pin is very low. Its higher than Facebook (half a day) or Twitter (half an hour) but still low. Shelf life means how long is your post visible that it gets traffic.
I am not saying don’t do it, I do it as I mentioned above, and do it successfully. I got 40,000 visitors in June to a new site with no social following just from Pinterest and G+. With Fb, Twitter and Insta, I can easily cross 100,000 pageviews a month.
But its the time-earning ratio at the end of the day that matters. So have Pinterest, Twitter, G+, YT as a part of your marketing mix like other social sites, just not the only one.
Also, if you are focusing on social traffic, put a HUGE emphasis on email capture and email funnels, that way you can warm up a browser into a buyer.