Writing for Social Media vs Search Engines

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  1. ChristinS profile image40
    ChristinSposted 9 years ago

    I know, we should write for both and I do, but the majority of my traffic comes from social media and lately I've stopped honestly caring about trying to figure out what Google wants.  My highest ranking hubs for example do exceptionally well on Pinterest, FB etc. and get little to no Google traffic.

    My hubs that get mostly search engine traffic are the ones that are not really doing that well on social media - not the stuff people are sharing.

    Why fuss trying to figure out what Google wants when they constantly change the rules of the game?  The way I see it, Pinterest (social media in general really) strategy will always be the same.  Create a stunning image, and write a fantastic hub, or blog post, or webpage, with great information that helps people do a project, learn a skill,  or whatever it is.... and then people will share it.  Unless I start spamming I don't have to worry about getting "slapped down" from Pinterest etc. 

    I think more and more my primary focus is shifting away from appeasing the Google god and more towards just focusing on sharing and social media.  I get tired of trying to get search engine traffic only to have that number fall and then have to try to change everything again etc. 

    Here's an example: I've had over 590,000 total views to all my hubs.  Of that, my top performer has over 100k of those views 81,500 came from Pinterest and only about 500 from Google.  So, yeah, it makes more sense to me to direct my energy towards shareability and not search engine optimization.   


    1. OldRoses profile image95
      OldRosesposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      That's interesting that you get more traffic from social media.  Google searches are my biggest source of visitors, not surprising since I write how-to gardening hubs.  I only get a few visitors from Pinterest despite pinning all of my hubs and other hubbers pinning them.  I would have thought that how-to gardening hubs would be popular on Pinterest.  It's a mystery to me why I don't get more traffic from Pinterest.

      1. Krysanthe profile image92
        Krysantheposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        That's surprising OldRoses, gardening is HUGE on Pinterest.  Are you making MFP images?  Wrylilt has an excellent hub on MFP images, perhaps you should check it out.  smile

  2. relache profile image72
    relacheposted 9 years ago

    Are you getting the end results from your Hubs that you want?

    That's the one question.  If it's a "yes" according to your goals and however your success criteria is judged, keep doing it.

    1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image85
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I never get great views from Pinterest, and cannot figure out what I am doing wrong there.  I wish I knew the secret because I do believe the potential is there.

      Yes, I pin other people's pix, yes I create MFP photos (most of the time), yes, I write articles that inform...I get repins and follows every day, but nothing like what you are talking about.

      The only problem I see is that my main board is about RV living, which is what I mostly write about.

      I've tried "how to" articles, but apparently the folks on Pinterest are not interested in them.

      So, as I said, I wish I could do more with Pinterest, because I know people like you do...but I do not do recipes or crafts or gardening...so, where does that leave me??

      1. Barbara Kay profile image74
        Barbara Kayposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        The main users at Pinterest seems to be women. That may be your problem. Usually it is the guys that get into RVs.

  3. janshares profile image95
    jansharesposted 9 years ago

    That's very interesting, ChristinS. You must be very social media savvy with a huge following on Pinterest and FB. I think that's the key (established following). It's the total opposite for me. The majority of my views are organic Google and Bing. Sounds like it makes sense for you to focus on "shareability" and not fickle Google if it's working for you. For example, would that mean not worrying about if your keywords are placed optimally and putting more emphasis on visuals? Sounds good to me.

  4. Krysanthe profile image92
    Krysantheposted 9 years ago

    I'm right there with you Christin.  Almost the same story...I still try to appease the mighty google though, I just don't focus on it.   Guess I try to keep alltheinternetgods happy. 

    I do NOT have a huge following on Pinterest, but my hubs find there way there organically.   So, I go with it.   It seems though that once they pick up on Pinterest that the mighty google takes notes and like them better too. 

    *Shrugs*...just my two cents.

  5. Stacie L profile image86
    Stacie Lposted 9 years ago

    This post got me thinking and I checked my traffic. I definitely get more overall from search engines but a few get most views from social sites,such as Pinterest. This helped me.

  6. Suzanne Day profile image93
    Suzanne Dayposted 9 years ago

    My main views come from Google with social media second. However, writing for social media seems to get more views more quickly as time goes on, whereas the Google stuff grows slowly (over a year for example). The more shareable it is and the more interesting it is, the better it does on both counts, because you can hang onto the reader longer and compel them to do something at the end of the hub.

    So write for search engines AND social media and make it the best it can be for maximum results. Having said this, some hubs are just not for social media as they can be too boring for people to share....

    1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image85
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 9 years agoin reply to this


      I'm not quite sure about what the difference between the two types of writing is.  Can  you elaborate?

      1. Suzanne Day profile image93
        Suzanne Dayposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Social media type hubs - are interesting to just about everyone on social media. Lists do well, as do witty and funny hubs. They have nice photos. They are laid out well. There is not too much text in each placeholder. It is easy to read. People think they are fun to read. Think top 20 lists, weird and wonderful topics, shocking or controversial topics, craft hubs, poetry, recipe hubs, anything with sensational content (ie content which "grabs" people like newspaper headlines), gorgeous photos or an obvious sense of humour.

        Google SEO type hubs - may not necessarily be interesting or have many good looking photos. More informational style. Delves into topics with more depth, using lots more synonyms and does better the longer the length of the hub. Can be quite serious. Think history hubs, computer hubs, how-to hubs, gardening hubs, pet and animal care, discussion, debate, political and informational hubs.

        If you want to blend the two, find an interesting angle on an informational type topic (eg., FlourishAnyway's list of weird fungi was a good one) and lay it out so it is easy to read, with interesting photos and a sense of humour. Make it long, so the synonyms come into play. Write in such a compelling way that the audience wants to read all the way to the end, even though it is long (therefore the topic or angle has to be something worth reading about for some length).

        Hope this helps.

        1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image85
          TIMETRAVELER2posted 9 years agoin reply to this

          Suzanne Day:

          Thanks for this info.  I can see that I definitely am going to have to take a closer look at your hubs as hardly any of mine fit that description!

        2. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image85
          TIMETRAVELER2posted 9 years agoin reply to this

          Suzanne Day:  Where did you get that blurb that is at the end of your article about not copying it?  Have never seen this before.

          Also, your article about neighbors really makes your point, but it is so foreign to the way I am used to writing that I'm not sure I can succeed at it.

          Will give it a try, though!


          1. Suzanne Day profile image93
            Suzanne Dayposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            I created the blurb at the end of my hubs (the image with "sharing permitted" etc) as I am a graphic designer. I hereby give you permission to use the box as well on your hubs if you want!

            I'm a weird writer. I cannot focus on writing 10 articles on niche subjects and always find myself having too many ideas that are different to each other. As I wrote, I saw some hubs did better than others on social media and in Google. Hence my theories on Google vs social media hubs.

            The idea is not to change your writing style, but to figure out whether it's an SEO or social media hub, based on topic. Lighthearted, funny topics are good for social media. Serious and informational topics are better for Google. Pick which one your particular hub falls into, then if it is a Google one, add lots of text and synonyms and delve into the subject at length. If it's a social media one, be sure to add gorgeous photos and share it all over the place, with a catchy title!

            1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image85
              TIMETRAVELER2posted 9 years agoin reply to this


              Would you mind taking a look at my latest two hubs on finding a bed and not getting a call back from a first date? 

              These were my first attempts at Social Media writing, and, although they may not fill the bill completely, I must tell you had I a lot of fun writing them.

              Let me know what you think...at least one is already featured and the other one will be featured within a few hours.

              The only part I hate is the photo park...it is so darned much work!

              1. Suzanne Day profile image93
                Suzanne Dayposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                Hi, had a look. The topic choices are an interesting start. I am going to be brutally honest here.

                Note that there are more women participating on social media than men. Women like positive things when talking about women, so something that puts women down will not do as well as something that uplifts them. Hence, you might need a bit more sensitivity in addressing the "guess why he didn't call" hub. Women don't want to read about what's wrong with them any more than you do.

                Secondly, the "search for the perfect bed" hub is a better topic and funny, but it needs more depth. The writing struck me as a bit too simple (ie, not enough of it) plus I think you could overexaggerate on the introduction - drag it out, really milk that humour for all it is worth over a few more paragraphs. Invent some scenarios etc. Prop it up with more pictures.

                In this hub you are hard selling too much. The information gets boring when you get to the hard sell. Try to keep the hub lighthearted all the way through and remove some of the selling stuff. On social media hubs, the idea is not to sell stuff (no one likes it) but to write something funny to cheer up someone's day. You might notice I rarely work with Amazon capsules for this reason. They seem to be better suited to Google hubs. I make the money from HP Ad Program alone, with a lot of shares.

                The formatting is not up to scratch (too many spacing issues, some punctuation missing etc). Try to write in nice, neat paragraphs with the odd title or standalone line and not so much spacing. I use lines to separate sections, though HP doesn't approve, it aids readability dramatically. Check out my hubs to see what I mean about properly sectioning parts.

                The images are really a turn off because they are not funny and they all have text in them. Sorry to be so bluntly honest, but it's what I am seeing. Use "Made for Pinterest" type images just once, near the top of a hub, if you must. The rest of the images should not be in different shapes, and should also have the funny caption as a caption, not on the photo. You should ideally have some sidebar images and some full width images, if you can, it makes the work look better.

                I spend a lot of time with photos on my social media hubs (sometimes more than the writing). Many hubs of mine take 10 hours to choose photos carefully or take them. The idea is to present something very visually appealing. What can I say but I am a perfectionist!

                As I said, you need to make the hubs cohesive as they look messy, like they're made up of bits and pieces. Social media is all about looks and ease of reading, so presenting something more visually appealing and cohesive will help. The topics can't be funny if you're selling too hard. And be nice to women! You will need to share then around a lot to get the ball rolling, which is why it is so important to have that first image looking spectacular enough for someone to click on.

                If all of this is too hard for you, then stick to Google-type hubs, as there is nothing wrong with that. Another good way to determine how you're travelling is to look at what everyone else seems to like on social media. Look at things with big shares and see what they've done. To do this, you will need to participate in social media.

                My apologies if all this sounds rude. I can't help with everyone's hubs (trying to still output my own etc) but I hope it helps you.

                1. Suzanne Day profile image93
                  Suzanne Dayposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                  PS - Another point I should make is that if you want more shares, you need to be involved in social media. If you don't like that idea, maybe you aren't a "social media" person...I resisted joining FB for several years before I finally decided it wasn't so bad after all. These days, I really enjoy it!

                  You need to know where to share your hubs, with what audience and get the general feeling of how each social media platform works. Have a play with them. Make a bigger profile. Get more friends. Here's some ideas for Facebook anyhow: <link snipped>

                  1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image85
                    TIMETRAVELER2posted 9 years agoin reply to this

                    Suzanne Day:  Well, I tried!  Maybe this type of writing is not the right kind for me...but then, it is new to me.  I do participate on G+ and Pinterest, but FB...just can't  do it!

                    I'll go back in and make some corrections when time permits, but I actually thought I did a halfway decent job on these...shows you how much I know lol!

                    Interestingly, the only comment I've received so far was from a man and it was very serious, almost angry in nature.  Couldn't figure that one out, especially based on what you just told me about women reading posts online!

                    Thanks so much for sharing this info with me.  I may just have to be happy with what I get and let that be that!

                2. The Examiner-1 profile image60
                  The Examiner-1posted 9 years agoin reply to this

                  I am on Pinterest, G+ and LinkedIn, but not Facebook and Twitter because I heard they were having problems.
                  I am still trying to figure out why certain HubPages (such as blog pages, intro pages main pages etc.) get green symbols and are good, but all Hubs get orange symbols and are bad.

                  1. Suzanne Day profile image93
                    Suzanne Dayposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                    I have no idea why this is happening....never had a problem like this....

            2. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image85
              TIMETRAVELER2posted 9 years agoin reply to this


              I just added the copyscape banner to the bottom of a hub and it looks great.  Thank you so much for the permission to use it.  I have only had one article stolen, but was able to resolve that issue.  I think having a banner such as this one helps.

              You are a good woman!

              1. Suzanne Day profile image93
                Suzanne Dayposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                That's fine TimeTraveller, I made the banner to help deter thieves. I'm sure it deters a small number of them....

                1. The Examiner-1 profile image60
                  The Examiner-1posted 9 years agoin reply to this

                  Did you make it different than the one I added? I had one on mine a while ago and received a warning about a blurry capsule (or something).

                  1. Suzanne Day profile image93
                    Suzanne Dayposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                    I don't know what you mean....I made my banner from scratch. I invented it. I'm inviting everyone to use it. But there is no blurriness at all.

  7. ChristinS profile image40
    ChristinSposted 9 years ago

    There's so many awesome replies and thoughts on this.  Thanks smile

    As for social media, I wouldn't say I have tons of followers or anything like that.  I have a few hundred maybe on Pinterest.  Most of my hubs that get social media traffic are shared by people who visit my hubs and then pass them on.  I've been fortunate that way with several hubs. 

    I have some that get a little Google traffic, but nothing like my websites do.  My websites get more Google traffic than social media, probably due to a lack of awesome images.  Maybe I should focus on expanding my horizons that way too. 

    Lots of food for thought smile

    1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image85
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Christin S:

      I've been working on photo improvement, myself...it is very hard work!

  8. The Examiner-1 profile image60
    The Examiner-1posted 9 years ago

    That is strange. They have green dots on some articles  which if you hover over say, "This site is safe", and orange dots which hovered over say, "This site has a bad reputation". HubPages are not the only ones with these.

  9. DzyMsLizzy profile image86
    DzyMsLizzyposted 9 years ago

    I started a Pinterest account because of things I read here, spent time learning to make "MFP" images..etc..

    Then, it seemed every time we turned around Pinterest and HP were 'having it out,' with Pinterest banning and deleting HP posts...
    So all that work was for naught...and it's happened more than once, so at this point, I've totally lost "interest in Pinterest."  Rarely go there any more, and pin very few things, usually from other sites, not HP.

    As for "The great Google,"  bah--a pox on them, for they can't make up their minds either, and keep changing the rules and implementing new algorithms, and every time they do, the earnings tank!
    At this point, my earnings are nearly as low as they were when I first signed up for AdSense and the HP ad program.  Which is to say, "why bother with those few cents?? You obviously must need them more than I do."

    I'm getting pretty disgusted with this whole online writing thing, and that's not even taking into account all the thievery!

    1. The Examiner-1 profile image60
      The Examiner-1posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I, and others, pin Hubs on Pinterest all of the time. I never heard of problems between them. Google on the other hand causes problems with HubPages.

      1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image85
        TIMETRAVELER2posted 9 years agoin reply to this


        You are wrong about that, but the problem is not a war between P and HP, it is caused by writers from HP abusing P's rules by spamming.

        It has happened twice that I know of, but each time the two sites found a resolution to the problem.

        1. The Examiner-1 profile image60
          The Examiner-1posted 9 years agoin reply to this

          I did not say that it was, DizzyMsLizzy did. I said that I had never heard of that.

  10. Mark Ewbie profile image81
    Mark Ewbieposted 9 years ago

    Good thread this.

    I'm sick of trying to write for Google too.  There is no sense to the traffic they either give me or don't.  It is random and a bit cruel.

    I'm not sure where to go or what to do - or whether to do it at all.

    Bubblews gives me an outlet for a few dollars but it is not and never will be an income.  My HP gets gradually worse despite my content being better. How the f--- is that supposed to work?

    I look at boring Wiki - 95% garbage.  The media all playing the seven best bits of crap game. The Youtube viral attempts where for every hit there are a million failures.

    Jeez.  It is surely a dream.

    Been here four years by the way.


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