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I'm struggling to understand how The Atlantic finds it a "cynical" approach to journalism to write stories in part based on what people are actually seeking versus apparently rejoicing in looking for ways to spin headlines to make stories go socially viral. That seems more cynical, actually. Oh, and it's not SEO vs. Social. It's doing them both. They do both co-exist.
Jeff Dishman's profile photoBuck Snortt's profile photoJeff Smith's profile photoAaron Berlin's profile photo
SEO has it's place but let's face it Google had a monopoly on driving SE web traffic for many years. I much prefer the Social Media landscape, it feels much more equal.
Huffpo'ing the web was inevitable for other news site. . 
What frustrates me is that people think a social visitor is worth the same as one from organic search. Organic search still remains the highest per visitor value traffic source around (depending on many factors of course)....usually dwarfing a visit from a social media source. I guess if all you care about is 'pageviews' than the source doesn't matter...but for site owners that actually need to sell something or offer a service, there is no comparison. I'd take 1 organic visitor over 10 facebook/stumble/twitter referrals any day.
Untargeted traffic is bad no matter where it comes from, you can achieve targeted traffic using social media and it can be just as good as SEO traffic in my opinion.
“We’re no longer writing to get the attention of Google algorithms. We’re writing to get you to share it, to digg it.” Clearly this is a man who knows where the trend lines are headed.
if it spins it wins , sad really .
60% of their traffic is not social media - that is a lot to stop worrying about!
I am sure some of all those hit by the Panda and Penguin updates wish that social had a bigger impact on their sites :) However, most business are very different from news sites which lend themselves very well to be shared across social sites, mobile apps etc.
I find it hard to believe that Atlantic writers were ever truly tasked with "writing to get the attention of Google algorithms". I've been reading it for many years and a comparison of the Atlantic's content with Demand Media's has never crossed my mind, despite being well aware of both.
+Jeff Smith Actually, I've found The Atlantic, as well as The New Yorker and a few other magazines have been pretty nimble on the transition to digital. The Atlantic especially, I've felt, has done well. When you consider the new readership they're getting out to these days, compared with the old, it's pretty impressive.
One of my biggest pet peeves is link bait. Tricking people into clicking on something (and hoping that they'll then share it so that more people are tricked in turn) is not a meaningful way to get page impressions.

Bob Cohn is surely being ironic here on purpose, right?... Right??
+Danny Sullivan fair enough. I guess what I meant was the Atlantic didn't feel "over optimized". ;)
+Scott Krager couldn't agree more! I even tried paying for social traffic but 6.8% conversion rate for traffic from search vs 0.83% conversion rate for Social traffic. This problem gets really big as Social(Ads or organic) costs as much as 'search' now.
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