strategy

When many people think of SEO, their minds automatically go to the actual practice of optimizing for search. Things like AdWords campaigns, blogging, crafting meta descriptions and more are some of the most common SEO tactics. However, before you jump straight into this implementation mode, it's important to step back and consider your overall strategy first.

Strategies VS. Tactics

When making any plan, there is a distinct difference between a strategy and a tactic. A strategy is your overall guiding principle while a tactic is the specific action that supports that principle or goal. Simply put, a strategy tells you what you want to achieve and a tactic gets you there.

(To see actionable examples of competitive SEO strategies, click here)

Every strategy likely has multiple supporting tactics. An example could be the SEO strategy to increase sales of a particular new product. Some tactics to help make that happen could include running an AdWords campaign to boost visibility, posting blogs related to the topic and creating a powerful landing page for the item complete with a killer meta description, page title and other on-page SEO features.

Balancing Investment And Payoff

At its heart and soul, SEO is a long-term proposition. Looking at it any other way will only find you sorely disappointed in your results. That said, not all SEO tactics are created equal. Some can be quite affordable and offer virtually immediate results. Resist the temptation to rely solely on such tactics and instead opt for a good mix of SEO activities.

An ideal SEO campaign will include a blend activities designed to yield results at different times in different ways. This multi-prong approach is the most holistic and natural way to approach your SEO. An example campaign might look something like this:

Tactic Level of Investment Benefits ROI
AdWords Campaign Minimal Quick visibility Immediate
Blogging Moderate Fast search impact, especially for niche terms Trickle-down
Evergreen Content Higher Long lifespan Compounding, long-term

With a continual emphasis on a mixture of SEO tactics, your business will be well-poised to take advantage of more search engine ranking factors.

A Living Process

SEO is not something you do once and are done with. You must continue to "do" SEO all of the time. That includes reviewing your strategy and adjusting your tactics as appropriate-and not just in light of new Google algorithm updates. News or changes specific to your industry can affect your SEO strategy. The other important factor you must always consider is your own set of analytics.

Because some SEO tactics will yield result data faster than others, you must make decisions based upon this information appropriately. Sometimes you need to let things play out for a bit before reacting. Other times, immediate action is called for.

If you think of SEO visually, you should have an image of a circle in your mind. At the top can be your initial strategy and along the path are individual tactics. As you move around the circle clockwise, you will come to your analytics and review phase and then back to your strategy. This is what good SEO is and should be-a continual, closed-loop process with an eye on today, tomorrow and beyond all at the same time.

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