I wonder, as an SEO, is this debate on SEO versus visitor loyalty really necessary? How on earth could SEO ever warranty visitor loyalty? SEO is a technique to improve your site for better rankings in the search engines. The visitor loyalty can be guaranteed only by the quality of the content and other relevant factors.
Despite all our efforts (both SEOs and SMOs) people still don’t understand the difference between search engines optimisation and social media optimisation. We have to hear comments like “SEO is no warranty”, “SEO doesn’t do your blog any good” and so on. Sure, SEO doesn’t grant site stickiness, that’s your job! But SEO makes your job really easier, by driving important amounts of traffic to your blog.
The Boston University has performed a study “Traffic Characteristics and Communication Patterns in the Blogosphere” where the results show that the search engines send circa 43% of the referral traffic to the blogs. That’s a lot if we compare the SE with other referrers like other Websites, ISP websites, social networks or blog directories.
The study is interesting enough if we look at other factors analysed to determine the communication patterns: impact of bloger activity on blog popularity, blogs as catalysts of user interactions and more. The study is short, well structured and easy to understand, although if you are a Web neophyte some of the terms and technical details might be confusing. For a better understanding of the blogging, SEO and SMO issues, I recommend that you read one of the following articles: