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Shareaholic Inadvertently Demonstrates the Value of Search Marketing

Shareaholic released a report this week that was ostensively focused on the fact that Pinterest was continuing to rise as a traffic driver. Pinterest, the current “it” site of social media is closing in on a 2% share of traffic sources for sites using Shareaholic. Wow, we obviously need to be spending more of our marketing budget on this traffic-driving behemoth.*

The writer for Shareaholic also notes that there was  a drop in organic traffic that “does not mean the death of search engines.” This is the typical astute analysis you get from a blog promoting a social media app. The writer fails to note that there was actually an overall drop since January of social media sites. Add up the market share from social media sites and they fall from ~9.9% in January to ~9.5% this past month. Nobody’s saying that social media is dead, though… at least, not “social media experts.”

What’s missing from the chart is paid search traffic to the sites that Shareaholic is tracking. Any site that uses Shareaholic is likely a commercial site using a variety of strategies that will often include blackhat (or at least grey hat) SEO tactics and Adwords.

As has been well-covered in the search marketing industry this year, Penguin and Panda updates have reduced organic traffic to commercial sites in a big way through the deinidexing of link networks and reduction of other spam and blackhat tactics. That’s the real story here isn’t it?  Add up the totals for all of search engines or all of social sites and both numbers have dropped. So where did the market share go? I find myself siding with all the cynics, that this is what it is all about for the web’s biggest money-printing machine.

Image courtesy of shareaholic.com

*Let me recant. Pinterest is a great traffic driver for certain kinds of websites. Pinterest is known to heavily appeal to women, and some sites see Pinterest traffic in the range of 20% and higher. Certainly, though, not every site is suited to Pinterest.

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