Sustainable SEO Is Strategic, Not Tactical

Invest­ing in short-term tac­tics is risky. Here’s why you should embrace a con­sumer-cen­tric SEO strat­e­gy that will deliv­er long-term busi­ness results.

Christopher Hart By Christopher Hart from Linkdex. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing in the mod­ern space is not just tech­ni­cal search engine opti­miza­tion (SEO) or tac­tics. It’s the strat­e­gy of under­stand­ing who your sales tar­gets are and align­ing the mar­ket­ing needs so edi­to­r­i­al and con­tent cre­ation can tar­get those peo­ple at the key moments of the con­sumer deci­sion jour­ney (aware­ness, con­sid­er­a­tion, eval­u­a­tion, and pur­chase).

When you’re cre­at­ing a cul­ture of dig­i­tal busi­ness and try­ing to opti­mize for your audi­ence online, none of the SEO con­cepts we talk about are autonomous. And they go much deep­er than just face val­ue.

This is why I stray away from the term SEO in the tra­di­tion­al sense. Because when we approach SEO strate­gi­cal­ly, we’re not opti­miz­ing for the search engines, we’re opti­miz­ing for our audi­ence.

Peo­ple want rela­tion­ships. They want to know who they’re talk­ing with when they’re buy­ing, which is why it’s impor­tant to devel­op a pro­file that res­onates with your audi­ence.

Why A Strategic SEO Approach Beats A Tactical SEO Approach

This image bril­liant­ly illus­trates the dif­fer­ences between tac­ti­cal and strate­gic SEO: SEO Good Fast Cheap

Image Cred­it: Matt Storms/LinkedIn

  • You can get good and fast SEO results, but it takes com­mit­ment and resources.
  • You can get good and cheap SEO results, but the results are going to be slow and ROI is going to take a long time.
  • You can get fast and cheap SEO results, but when you get fast and cheap, you’re talk­ing about tac­tics.

Tac­tics, as your foun­da­tion, run the risk of expi­ra­tion in val­ue when a search engine changes its algo­rithm.

Tac­ti­cal SEO can work for a time, but it’s dan­ger­ous to invest in short-term tac­tics rather than embrac­ing a con­sumer-cen­tric strat­e­gy that can deliv­er real busi­ness results in the long term.

Dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing is no longer just tech­ni­cal. Dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing is the align­ment of edi­to­r­i­al to cre­ate aware­ness in an area in which sales is try­ing to tar­get. It’s about iden­ti­fy­ing and build­ing an audi­ence with prop­er con­tent.

Optimizing Keywords For Your Audience

A great place to start trans­form­ing your com­mon SEO tac­tics is with your key­word research. Look at your research from an audi­ence opti­miza­tion view ver­sus a search engine per­spec­tive.

Let’s say you do in-house mar­ket­ing for a nation­al house paint man­u­fac­tur­er, and you’ve launched a cam­paign to opti­mize for your prod­ucts online.

Your team has put in all the leg­work on your key­word research. They’ve used key­word tools, they’ve looked at your website’s refer­ring key­words in ana­lyt­ics, com­piled data from Google Trends, and so on.

You cre­at­ed a robust, nice­ly orga­nized key­word list that has all your brand­ed terms, head terms, and long-tail terms.

You and your team have done your best. But it’s still only your best guess. And that’s OK – ini­tial­ly.

There’s one prob­lem. Your team pre­sumed that if peo­ple need­ed paint for their homes, the key­words they would use in their queries would be relat­ed to buy­ing paint.

But what your team didn’t know is that the inter­est for your prod­uct actu­al­ly began gen­er­at­ing long before the “buy” part, when your tar­get audi­ence began think­ing in terms of home remod­el­ing.

Key­word research sole­ly with search traf­fic in mind leads to one-dimen­sion­al con­tent. It doesn’t touch your audi­ence at every stage of the pur­chase cycle, and it doesn’t speak to them.

Your team may have been able to uncov­er addi­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties to con­nect, had they gone beyond the tra­di­tion­al key­word research.

If they had worked hard­er to get into the minds of the audi­ence, the result­ing key­word set and con­tent would be much rich­er.

Luck­i­ly, key­word research and oth­er SEO com­po­nents are iter­a­tive process­es that improve over time. They become bet­ter the more you lis­ten and the more you engage with your com­mu­ni­ty.

Watch Out For Task Lists As Solutions

If SEO con­sul­tants or agen­cies are sell­ing you task lists of things you need to do to “be opti­mized,” you’re buy­ing a tac­ti­cal approach ver­sus strate­gic.

The tactical/technical side of SEO, with­out the robust con­tent com­po­nents, is like putting dirty gas in a great auto­mo­bile. You’re going to get ter­ri­ble mileage.

Don’t get me wrong; we all have to start some­where. But, there is no one set of tasks you can do that will save the day with­in your dig­i­tal busi­ness plan, and then be done for good.

And if you keep fol­low­ing this same task list, it’ll get you nowhere. Insan­i­ty is repeat­ing the same thing and expect­ing dif­fer­ent results.

Dig­i­tal busi­ness is not lin­ear; it’s sys­tem­at­ic. It’s an evo­lu­tion­ary loop.

After the first cycle of opti­miza­tion, your busi­ness needs to be able to take all the data from every depart­ment, all the things you’ve learned, all the mis­takes you’ve made, and all the wins, and apply them to the next cycle of SEO, where you essen­tial­ly start over again.

In the dig­i­tal busi­ness realm, improve­ments nev­er end. You need to make sure you’re hav­ing smart con­ver­sa­tions about mul­ti­ple met­rics to assess the suc­cess of your con­tent, and your social vis­i­bil­i­ty and engage­ment.

Being Strategic Means Being Flexible

Today, most com­pa­nies aren’t yet ready for this dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion. Com­pa­nies must embrace this change from the top down – to engage employ­ees, change their per­spec­tive, and enable the dif­fer­ences between busi­ness units to the advan­tage of the com­pa­ny, rather than con­tin­u­ing to silo them.

To stay rel­e­vant, com­pa­nies must be flex­i­ble enough to embrace change. You’ll see com­pa­nies at a stand­still when depart­ments become too attached to their way of doing things – and that includes the way they view SEO.

Don’t be left behind with old tech­nol­o­gy, old ways of doing things, old tac­ti­cal approach­es while your com­pe­ti­tion embraces the future.

When you think strat­e­gy, it’s not just about how you will get there – it’s about how you will be among the first to get there and stay there.

Key Takeaways

  • Take a look at the “why” behind the search engine opti­miza­tion tac­tics you per­form to get at the heart of their pur­pose.
  • There is no “one set of tasks” that will save the day with­in your dig­i­tal busi­ness plan. Dig­i­tal busi­ness is not lin­ear; it’s an evo­lu­tion­ary loop.
  • Liv­ing with­in tac­tics cre­ates a stand­still approach while your com­pe­ti­tion embraces the ever-chang­ing future.

Do you view SEO as a strate­gic, con­sumer-cen­tric approach?

Christopher Hart

Written by Christopher Hart

Head of Client Development, US, Linkdex

Heading up the Linkdex office in LA, Christopher has been key in building an expert account management team that has both a thorough knowledge of the platform and a genuine understanding of client needs. Christopher brings a mix of in-house experience and agency expertise to the company, which he applies to ensure clients get what they need from the platform and from the Linkdex team. At Linkdex, Christopher is excited about the opportunity to work with a platform that is both effectively aligned with the needs of the latest SEO challenges, and modern digital marketing teams.

Inked is published by Linkdex, the SEO platform of choice for professional marketers.

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