Organic Shares or SEO Rankings: Which Should You Prioritize?

We’re informed time and time once more, producing prime quality content material is without doubt one of the highest worth actions you are able to do for your corporation. Yet, the query stays, what does prime quality content material really imply and the way do you measure it?

With content material advertising and marketing, it may be simple to get misplaced within the noise and miss what issues. For this text, let’s think about simply two metrics—an engagement metric—social shares and an SEO metric—key phrase rank.

Shares are sometimes thought-about a ‘self-importance metric’ within the sense they don’t at all times straight assist a enterprise generate extra income.

But shares are additionally vital in the truth that it exhibits that somebody discovered your content material worthwhile sufficient to share. Being talked about by an trade thought chief can put your model or enterprise on the map for instance.

On the opposite hand, optimizing your content material for rating takes time to begin seeing outcomes and may and it may be difficult to outrank your competitors.

In a really perfect world, your content material would rank nicely and get plenty of social shares. But given entrepreneurs are sometimes restricted on time and assets, which must you prioritize if it’s a must to select? I requested 18 digital advertising and marketing specialists and content material creators to search out out.

But first the professionals and cons of every method.

Pros and cons of Shared Content Optimization (SCO)


  • A share is a number one indicator that your viewers discovered the piece of content material worthwhile sufficient to share. The extra shares a chunk of content material will get, the upper the possibility of it ‘going viral.
  • A share additionally suggests your reader agrees with or finds your content material though-provoking. 45 percent of US adults shared an opinion piece they agreed with on social media.
  • Content that will get shared, additionally usually suggests the content material was fascinating, enjoyable, or even simply participating. This can typically sign you’re creating content material that connects together with your readers and target market.

(Image source)

  • Shared content material is instantly public materials and may result in an instantaneous bump in site visitors.
  • Oftentimes, shared content material contains commentary or different extra perception you should utilize to achieve viewers insights and leverage consumer generated content material (UGC).


  • Not all shares are created equal, and shares can typically be deceptive. It’s typically troublesome to measure the true ROI from social shares straight.
  • 6 in 10 people only read headlines earlier than sharing, which means that amount of shares could not at all times replicate content material worth.
  • Organic reach for a lot of social media platforms is declining, making it harder for content material to get seen organically.

Social media engagement. (Image source)

  • Social media is topic to adjustments in algorithms, updates and options. These have an effect on content material visibility and are many occasions out companies management.
  • Social media posts are time-sensitive. For instance, it’s a must to put up at a sure interval to get most engagement. Generally posts have a short shelf life.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)


  • With nicely rating content material you’ll usually proceed to see ROI for an extended time frame.
  • When you rank for purchaser intent or longer tail key phrases, you appeal to individuals who doubtlessly want the form of resolution or info you present.
  • Ranking excessive in search provides you extra credibility amongst searchers. 71% of search engine users don’t click on previous the primary web page of search outcomes.
  • The means of key phrase analysis for SEO alone, may help you perceive what your viewers desires.


  • It is troublesome to attain first web page rank with new web sites or contemporary content material. Old pages (generally with subpar content material) typically outrank contemporary pages. In this manner, rating extremely could not replicate content material worth.
  • Google always adjustments its algorithms which requires you to maintain up with the adjustments.
  • It could be fairly troublesome to find out the ROI of your SEO efforts to start with as rankings take time to settle (as much as 6 months).
  • Depending in your trade, it may be troublesome to rank attributable to competitors.

Now that we’ve gone over the professionals and cons of each SEO and SCO let’s take a look at what the advertising and marketing specialists need to say.

According to the Experts:

The greatest metric is EPV (earnings per customer) > CPV (price per customer). This means you’re driving site visitors at revenue. Shares and rank are self-importance. You can have each and nonetheless make no revenue.

– Chris Von Wilpert, Owner, ContentMavericks

“Shares = meh. Ranking is just good up to some extent, nevertheless it’s essential after we add new options (to get listed shortly with new pages.”

-Benjamin Thomas, Content director,

Picking a metric to concentrate on is the entire downside with measuring content material advertising and marketing influence. The premise is flawed. Different items ought to have totally different aims. The identical piece can have a number of aims. And relying on the place within the purchaser’s journey the potential buyer is with the content material, a metric that could be a excellent match for measurement elsewhere might be utterly ineffective and inappropriate.

Instead of arguing over rankings vs. shares, we must be arguing for a extra holistic and inclusive method of evaluating content material efficiency. Doing the rest doesn’t do anybody any favors.

– Joel Klettke, Founder, CaseStudyBuddy

“Comments and replies I feel represent greater than the rest, that persons are inquisitive about what you created. It must be fascinating sufficient to seize their consideration and evoke a real response. Of course, that may be manipulated in every kind of sneaky methods, and is, nevertheless it’s the content material that gives some form of true worth that works greatest. It’s an extended sport. Unfortunately, most content material creators play a brief sport, they need outcomes now, and it encourages a blinkered method. They play to individuals’s feelings intentionally and inflame passions for the sake of numbers. That’s an actual disgrace I feel”.

-Larry G. Maguire,

I’d argue that probably the most qualitative metric for efficient content material in 2021 is the variety of subscribers/followers the content material generates. Other metrics are additionally essential however don’t meet the principle goal, which generally is to achieve a always rising following that can eat your content material on a constant foundation

-Oleg Donets, Founder, ODMSoft and Real Estate Bees

“I’d say “Leads” if not “Sales”. But these are usually troublesome to measure, with content material typically not being the very last thing of us click on earlier than they find yourself shopping for.

Other than that, it’s acquired to be a combination. You can rig the sport and play with these metrics if you’d like, by creating viral content material or one which’s tremendous looked for…however has nothing to do with your corporation. So for my part, it’s acquired to be a combination.”

-Michal Leszczynski, Content director, Getresponse

For us it’s the quantity of free trials the weblog drives. We care about bottom-lines, not self-importance metrics.

Trina Moitra, Head of Marketing,

“For every bit of content material I publish—for ourselves or for our purchasers—I’ve a particular goal the piece fulfills and set my content material advertising and marketing KPIs accordingly. For our content material advertising and marketing company, our content material technique focuses on connecting with entrepreneurs and startup founders who need assistance drafting or implementing a content material technique. With that in thoughts, we like it when a weblog put up ranks nicely in search and sees quantity of site visitors. But having social shares, and seeing reader feedback, is commonly a greater indicator that we’re reaching our meant recipient.”

-Erika Heald, Erika Heald Marketing Consulting

The brief reply: it relies upon

If I had to decide on, I’d lean in direction of rank, as that for my part, would have the largest upside. That stated, getting shares early and sometimes, particularly if you’re simply constructing your content material advertising and marketing technique, may help put you on the map and result in hyperlinks, which can finally make it easier to rank larger sooner or later. Certainly, shares could be helpful for self-importance/producing pleasure, however rating is the place it’s at for me.

CXL’s very personal content material lead, Bud Hennekes

Measuring the success of content material depends upon the objectives of that content material. Sometimes the objective will likely be engagement, making shares and likes the perfect metrics to trace. Other occasions, the objective will likely be to extend website site visitors, making rankings the best metric. Your objectives ought to inform your content material choices and every objective will decide the best metric to measure success.

Amy Balliett, Founder, Killer Visual Communications

“You ought to concentrate on leads or income. You can’t financial institution shares or rankings.”

-Eric Schwartzman,

I’d say conversions. While content material advertising and marketing is just not straight meant to make gross sales, there may be typically a desired conversion concerned. That might be readers signing up for an e mail checklist or even making a purchase order.

Emily Krings, Owner, Quill to Keys content writing.

“There are many metrics to think about when measuring profitable content material, nevertheless it depends upon the kind of content material you’re creating. So entrepreneurs must align totally different objectives with several types of content material. But the 2 metrics that have a tendency to stay secure throughout all codecs are: the place your content material is positioned and the way helpful your viewers feels your content material is.

The former is pretty simple, in that it exhibits how nicely you have got optimized your piece for the best key phrases. But the latter is difficult. Here you’re not solely actions, but additionally how lengthy your viewers stays in your website, for instance, to eat the content material or how they work together with it (do they click on by to a different web page for extra info? go away a remark? ask questions? and so on).

I’d positively say it’s the rank and the relevancy of your content material to your viewers at totally different phases of their lifecycle with your corporation/model that issues when measuring success.

And there’s nobody metric matches all method, as a result of everybody’s creating content material to achieve totally different objectives. So the measurability facet, the onus is on the entrepreneurs to obviously outline the objectives of their methods.”

-Vanhishikha Bhargava, Founder, Contensify

For me it’s rank, as a result of if a put up ranks it has longevity. Shares are wonderful to drive site visitors and leads within the brief time period, however the shares will dwindle and so will the site visitors. If the content material ranks it has the power to be evergreen.

Michael Brennan, founder, SMBClix

“I’d optimize for rank. It has the longest lifespan, highest ROI, and it’s scalable.”

-Aaron Orendorff, VP of promoting, Common Thread Collective.

“Content has to serve the wants of my audiences and their most well-liked channels. It wants to emphasise humanity as a result of individuals join with individuals. And I must measure content material effectiveness a bit otherwise – possibly by consumption measures and suggestions metrics versus quantity and design.”

– Deanna Ransom, international head of promoting, Televerde, in a CMI article

The greatest response to content material corresponds to the express technique of that content material, which hopefully loops into metrics that help the enterprise. This holds true ALL the time, not only for 2021.

Rebecca Lieb, Cofounder, Kaleido Insights

“For me, site visitors might be an important metric, as a result of a chunk of content material might be rating first for a key phrase, however that key phrase might need zero visibility. Likewise a chunk of content material may get a ton of shares but when no one clicks by, then it’s not going to have an effect on your backside line.

Rank and shares can generally be an arrogance metric, however what actually issues is that if the needle was really moved, and for me that needle is the site visitors to the web page.”

-Alex York, Content Marketing Manager, Teamwork


As with most issues in advertising and marketing, there’s typically no ‘easy reply.’ Whether it’s best to concentrate on rating, shares or every other metric to your content material advertising and marketing efforts is contextual.

Asking the easy query: “Specifically, which do you prioritize as a greater metric for profitable content material at CXL? Shares or Rank?” resulted in a variety of solutions, lots of which urged content material ought to be measured on different metrics than SEO and SCO.

For some, rankings could also be extra essential, for others, shares is perhaps the metric that strikes the needle.

Overall, the perfect metric for content material can be metrics that help your organization’s objectives.

Want extra leads? Keep an eye fixed on signups. Looking for extra model publicity? Optimizing for shares is perhaps your greatest guess. Want extra market authority? Then put extra effort in direction of rating for the best key phrases.

Use the steering from these specialists as a basis to begin, and decide to testing to see what’s best for you.

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