SEO Strategy: It’s about Strategy, Not Just Tactics

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been talking more (and sharing more articles) about content marketing as a part of effective search engine optimization and social media marketing efforts.  The discussion has gotten some great feedback going here and on various social networks!

But I wanted to take a second to explain something that’s come up in questions.  Some people are asking whether search engine optimization (SEO) is dead.  They want to know if there’s any place for SEO in marketing.

The answer is mixed – yes and no.  And it depends on what you mean by SEO!

seo strategy


Before we get into that, though, I want to talk for a minute about the difference between two words: tactics and strategy.  No, I haven’t just gone all military on you! But understanding how these two words are different effects what I’m going to tell you about the SEO and content marketing.


Tactics are short-term activities that you generally repeat, day in and day out, week in and week out in your business.  They’re the building blocks of your business and of your marketing efforts. Tactics are something you tweak and then look for the immediate effect.


Tactics are easy to duplicate. Examples of marketing tactics might be blogging, social media updates, newsletter, etc.  Maybe you look at what other companies are up to on their social media accounts or their blogs and you try to copy what they’re doing.  That’s copying their tactics.


Tactics like quick little fixes, and they usually have short-term results.


But if you focus only on those tactics, I’m telling you, you’ll miss the big picture!


I’m not saying they aren’t important, not at all.  I’ve built my businesses from these little steps repeated over and over.


It’s like the old saying that you’re missing the forest for the trees.  Tactics are like the trees. Without trees, you haven’t got a forest.  But without an overview of what the forest looks like, you’d miss how the trees are laid out or what the path through the forest is.


Strategy is like seeing the forest.  It’s the big picture of your business. It’s your overall plan, and it’s an understanding of how your plan will affect your goals and objectives.  If you have employees or investors, it includes an understanding of their role as stakeholders in your business; at a minimum, though, it includes knowing what you – and your customers – have at stake in your business.


 The Way it Used to Be – SEO Tactics

So stepping back from the terms of tactics and strategy, let’s look at how they matter with respect to SEO and content marketing.


Once upon a time, SEO was something you did “to” your content, trying to get it noticed by the major search engines.  Keyword stuffing and link building are good examples of this. They are SEO tactics, not strategy. They’re quick fixes designed for a short-term gain – getting your article moved up on Google and the rest.


The Present and Future of SEO – The Strategy of Great Content!

Since Google has changed with the Panda and Penguin updates, a better understanding of SEO is that it is a long-term strategy.  Rather than have the short-term  view of getting your article moved up on Google by using SEO tactics, it’s about trying to provide the most valuable content over the long haul for your audience, which is a strategy.


So Are We Still Link Building

Yes we are!  We’re still link building as part of SEO strategy.  And here’s how.  Link building should be a natural way of providing additional explanation, examples, or related information for your audience. All of your anchor links should be thoughtfully chosen, not random.  Great content that provides great value for your audience is naturally going to be read, bookmarked, followed, and shared.  And that is great SEO!


The Bottom Line – Why Are We Doing SEO Anyway?

The best takeaway about how to understand SEO strategy is how SEO has changed is this.  Why do we work on  SEO in the first place?  It’s because we’re trying to attract and keep readers who are engaged with our content.  By using a  and not just tactics, your content will be seen as fresh, relevant and engaging, the kind that attracts engaged customers.

 SEO Strategy is simply producing good content

And that is the point of this whole thing called SEO anyway!

What’s Your strategy for SEO and what tactics do you use? I have studied and used search engine placement to market my business for 10 years. It Works.. Simple as that! What are your biggest challenges with SEO? Share with me your favorite tactic!




  1. says

    I, for one, am getting sick of hearing about "is SEO dead" conversations.  That's just a bogus theory, and as long as there is a search engine then there will be SEO.  
    You're right, some people get caught up in the act of SEO and forget about the whole idea.  Implementing a strategy is one of the most important things that you can do to your site.  That, and being consistent.  I have learned that consistency is one of the major factors to any blogs success.

  2. says

    Great observations!  Good points about SEO!  It can be confusing to people especially if they don't even know what the acronym means!  thanks for the article!

    • says

      Thanks Patricia, it is important to have a clue about what you are doing with it before you even start trying to develop a strategy

    • says

      Thanks, Kim. I really love to use both. The truth is if you don’t write anything worth reading no amount of tactics are going to get you anywhere.

  3. says

    Love how you distinguish between short term objectives and long term goals in terms of producing quality content that gets noticed! :)  As always, great info, Liz. 

  4. says

    Great explanation, thanks Liz. I've always had trouble with SEO because I like to just write how I write without thinking about using keywords. So, I've been happy with the Google updates that stress good content more and more. I still need to work on back linking and SEO strategy stuff, but it's just a little too left brained for me!

  5. says

    SEO is dead, Keyword stuffing is dead!  We should celebrate!  Context is the new King and I'm thankful to have met the queen!  Appreciate you Elizabeth!

  6. says

    The timing of your blog post is perfect.  I have been spending lots of time this past week learning more about SEO.  Thanks for clarifying tactics versus strategies.

  7. says

    Elizabeth, your post has changed my perspective on SEO! The distinction between tactics and strategy really hit the nail on the head for me…thank you, my dear!

  8. says

    Thanks for this Elizabeth! I am so bad with my SEO strategy, the backlinks in particular. I think for me I need to be more intentional about my blogging strategy and smm. Thanks for this!

  9. says

    Good article Liz.  Nice to have things explained in a way this "simpleton" can understand — Still have a lot to comprehend but helps to have these kinds of explanations!   Thanks!

  10. says

    This is such helpful information! SEO has always been one of those topics that seems to hide behind a cloud of mystery…you know it is important but not sure exactly what to do! Your clarification is just what I needed! Thanks!

  11. says

    Great post, Elizabeth!  I just attended a digital marketing conference this week and it was repeated many times that SEO is *not* dead!  Your points about not using tactics are very good, because the algorithms are much more specific for Google these days.  Coming up with a strategy that a blogger stick to creating quality content that the search engines approve of is definitely the way to go!  

  12. says

    Great post explaining the different nuances of basic SEO, Liz! It is SO easy to get caught up in the *more! more! More!* mentality and with SEO, it should really be a concerted effort to think about quality and long-term planning! I wish more SEOs would put this out there! 

  13. says

    Hi Elizabeth,
    Thank you, I enjoyed your article, it's refreshing to see someone who understands that getting noticed by the world is a marathon and not a sprint.

  14. says


    Thanks for pointing out the difference between tactics and strategies. I am focusing on long term strategies and your article is helpful indeed.

  15. Peter Fry says

    as an accountant in Dublin, I see no point in investing in SEO! If someone is Googling for my service they see a Google place listing not my website. Optimizing my Google place listing and having 5 star reviews is where the focus should be and where the money should be spent, not on SEO.

    • says

      Well that’s great if it works Peter! Tell me how it works out for you! BTW optimizing for Google places is Search Engine Optimization or SEO? ..;-)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *