What Happens to SEO if You Stop Posting to Social Media? I Decided to Find Out

Man multitasking and going crazy at work

What’s the best link you can get for your site?

The best link to your site is one that drives traffic.

For me it makes sense because I like the traffic and the SEO benefit.

SEO purists suggest the best SEO links are those that drive traffic.  Matt Diggity, a true in-the-trenches SEO guy, suggests the very best SEO links are those that consistently send traffic (even if it’s just a little bit).

I read that post by Matt in 2017 while I overhauled my biggest site (took many months).

While I didn’t build a bunch of PBNs after reading that article, I did question the utility of many of the social media links I was creating daily.

The fact is most social media links I via posting to social media channels delivered very little traffic.  Here’s a list of all social media sites I posted to daily:

  • Facebook: 1 to 10 posts per day
  • Twitter: 2 posts per day
  • Tumblr: 1 to 8 posts per day
  • Pinterest: 3 to 30 pins per day
  • Google+: 1 to 5 posts per day
  • Flipboard: 1 to 3 posts per day
  • Instagram: 1 to 3 posts per day
  • Scoop.it: 1 to 2 posts per day
  • YouTube: 1 to 3 videos per day

Phew, I get tired just thinking about all that.

For a while I used Dlvr.it which automated much of that, but sometimes the connections would break requiring my time to fix it.  If there’s anything I loathe, it’s fixing broken things.

How much traffic did all that generate?

All those links and social posts drove very little traffic except for Pinterest.  Pinterest drove and still drives mountains of traffic.  Even Facebook traffic was a joke in 2017 (now it’s ridiculously bad).  Pinterest for me is the last social media channel standing.  The rest drive hardly any traffic.

Why on earth was I wasting time posting to those channels?

I did it because that’s what is done.  That’s what other bloggers say to do.  “Be everywhere”.  Reuse and leverage content so you can be everywhere.  Moreover, there’s constant talk of “social signals”.  You need social signals to rank content, or so I thought.  Turns out being everywhere is a waste of time.  Social signals without driving traffic does nothing for SEO.  I’m not entirely sure social media that does drive traffic helps SEO.  I suspect it does, but perhaps the benefit is indirect such as it gets sites to link… I don’t know.  No doubt the debate will rage on.

In theory, reusing and recycling content for all channels sounds good.  In practice it was a waste of time.  The biggest toll was the mental energy it took each day as yet another task to keep the blog machine rolling.

It was insane.  Even if it was only 30 minutes per day, that’s one boring half-hour.  Actually a bit longer with creating YouTube videos (I outsourced much of it, but it still takes time writing descriptions and uploading the videos… not to mention the cost in outsourcing).

It was time to simplify

Toward the end of my major website overhaul in late 2017, I decided it was time to simplify everything.  The key to simplifying was to focus on the two best traffic sources and ignore the rest.

My two best traffic sources were (and are) Google search and Pinterest.  In fact, the rest drive so little traffic it’s laughable.

That meant focusing on the following:

  • Do really good long tail keyword and topic research;
  • Publish lots of excellent content every day;
  • Improve and update existing content;
  • Set up better website navigation, user experience and internal linking;
  • Produce excellent graphics and promoting them on Pinterest.

I simplified everything by focusing all operations on those five tasks.  I still do.  That’s all I do for the most part… over and over and over.

In fact, I’ve streamlined it to where I can get daily operations done in 1 to 3 hours.  I often spend more time on the site, but that’s experimenting with new things such as monetization, pin design concepts, content types or just fooling around trying to make things better.  The bread and butter work only takes 1 to 3 hours.

What happened when I stopped posting to all social media networks?

My Google search and Pinterest traffic grew.  Here are 3 traffic screenshots from December 1, 2017 to May 2, 2018:

All traffic

All website traffic growth in 2018

Google search traffic growth

Google search traffic growth in 2018

Pinterest traffic

Pinterest traffic growth 2018

I’m not saying posting to every social channel hurts SEO.  That would be a ridiculous statement.

The point is that stopping posting to every social channel did NOT hurt SEO or Pinterest results.  

I now have more time and energy to laser in on the few tasks that drive the most traffic and make the most money.

As an aside, I love the fact my best traffic sources are Google search and Pinterest because they’re the two most long-term, passive traffic sources (other than an engaged email newsletter).

Should you stop posting to every social media channel?

Only stop those that don’t drive traffic.

If Twitter sends you traffic or your business benefits by being there, by all means continue.  Same with YouTube or any other channel.

As an aside, there are business benefits other than traffic such as exposure, building brand recognition and networking.  For example, Instagram, while not a great traffic source for most sites, can be very good for building up brand recognition.  Twitter and LinkedIn can be great for networking.  Facebook can be good for paid traffic.  YouTube can be excellent for lead generation and brand exposure.

The key is to focus on what actually drives the results you seek for your website and/or business.

Don’t blindly do something because someone suggests it’s a good idea.

Do what works for your site.



15 thoughts on “What Happens to SEO if You Stop Posting to Social Media? I Decided to Find Out”

  1. Smae here… I only get traffic from pinning stuff. Do you have more than one Pinterest account? I have a couple but can only manage the one.

    Love your info btw. Great stuff.

    1. Hey Carlin,

      I have one Pinterest account for each niche site. Each are business accounts. It’s a lot to manage. I focus on 3 currently but getting people trained. Glad you like the info… thanks for that.

  2. Like you said, there are other benefits. The only reason I still invest in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is that sponsors (direct advertisers) still want to see these stats in the Media Kit. As far as I’m concerned, these are vanity stats. Nothing else.

    I also see Pinterest as a source of good traffic but it really depends on the niche. It works very very well for some niches and not so much for others. And that has nothing to do with most users being women, in my experience. I have a site that has 70% female traffic but doesn’t bring much from Pinterest at all. Another that’s more 50/50 and most of its traffic is from Pinterest.

    I do think Pinterest helps SEO too though. The Search Console shows you links from Pinterest so they’re clearly counted. Maybe not as high quality links but they’re there all the same.

    1. Hey Anne,

      Interesting point in favor of posting to all major social channels. I don’t offer media kits so it’s not something I’ve considered. Thanks for that input.

      Yes, Pinterest is very niche dependent. I happen to be in 2 Pinterest-friendly niches. Many niches don’t work on Pinterest. I don’t think Pinterest links themselves help SEO. I do think the traffic and exposure via Pinterest can help SEO by attracting links from other sites and the traffic if a site has good on-site metrics.

  3. Jon

    Hope you and the family are enjoying your weekend. Thanks again for sharing…it’s motivating…honestly.

    I wanted to share a story you’d get a kick out of. I was a US Navy air traffic controller a million years ago, stationed at NAS Whidbey Island.

    A buddy and I made friends with a builder that lived in “West Van.” When you’re driving across the Lions Gate and look to the left, he and his wife lived in one of those high rise condos. They’d invite us up all the time.

    One day, I was walking out of a restroom in Lions Gate Park, I mean three steps at most out the door and this drop dead gorgeous woman stops me and asks if I could “break a Loonie!?” For a man who’s rarely at a loss for words…I was speechless. My mind was racing…”what’s a Loonie”…”is this woman propositioning me.”

    I stood there staring into her face for what seemed like minutes…trying like hell to figure out what this gorgeous woman wanted from me…right outside the restroom!

    Apparently…being as perceptive as she was attractive…she sweetly smiles and says…”you dont know what a Looni is do you?” I gave a sheepish…”no clue.” At that point she started laughing and told me what it was and that she needed change for the parking meter. We absolutely cracked up laughing.

    Loved the time we spent visiting Vancouver.

    Portland, OR

    1. Hey Mike,

      that’s a great story. Yes, we have the Loonie and a Tooney ($2 coin). We end up with bowls and bowls of change, but at least when we count it up it adds up to some good money.

  4. Jon,

    This is a great post and I found myself asking the same question. I did a test similar to yours where I would regularly post to Facebook for a month and then stop. The only movement was in the number of indexed pages which increase threefold during the time I posted on the FB.

    Although the increase in indexed pages might be for a different reason, the overall SEO traffic didn’t increase much.

    But, I would also add that if you are targeting only Google organic traffic then your above arguments are correct (i.e small to non existent social media active has a small effect on SEO). But for businesses targeting users from other search engines like Yandex which actually doesn’t really care about backlinks much and pays more attention to social sharing and user behavior, your above arguments might not apply here.

    SEJ did a great post on how different is SEO in Google vs Yandex which gives major differences between these two. If you plan to target Russia, Eastern European and Central Asian online users in the future I suggest you read that article.


    1. Hey Iskender,

      Awesome point. I know nothing about Yandex and don’t get much traffic from it so I trust you know much much more. If that’s how Yandex operates, yes, my analysis is not good for Yandex. Thanks for explaining this as I’m sure it’s important for other readers. My analysis above pertains to Google search traffic.

  5. Interesting observation.

    I knew Facebook is a joke. But didn’t expect other social media to be this bad.

    By the way, FatSatck is now, Fat Stacks Blog?

  6. Hey Jon,
    Yeah, I also think the social media is a joke but not for every niche. Some niche works very well with Facebook and some are works very well Pinterest. Its all on testing.
    Thanks for the article!

  7. I agree with you: Pinterest is the best source of traffic (right after Google of course). But I am bit surprised that you didn’t include Quora and Reddit on your list?

  8. Yeah I agree but not all it really depends on the niche you are in.Anyway it was a very useful blogs that u gave to us really informative and interesting .Great Article well explanation thanx for sharing this.

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