It’s no secret that SEO is important for any business with an online presence, but what’s the difference between an SEO strategy and tactics? Simply put, strategy is the “why” behind your SEO efforts, while tactics are the “how.” A successful SEO strategy starts with a clear understanding of your business goals and your audience. From there, you can develop keyword targets and other initiatives that will help you achieve your goals. Tactics, on the other hand, are the nitty-gritty details of how you’ll execute your strategy. This can include everything from the content you produce to the links you build. The most important thing to remember is that your tactics should always support your overall strategy.

It’s common to hear the terms “SEO strategy” and “SEO tactics” used interchangeably, but there is a big difference between the two. Strategy is all about setting goals and planning how to achieve them. Tactics are the individual actions taken to carry out the strategy. A good SEO strategy will take into account all aspects of the business, from the products and services offered to the target market, the competition, and the overall goals of the company. Once the strategy is in place, the tactics can be implemented to start moving the company towards its goals.

Consider the difference between bringing in general traffic to that of targeted traffic to the website. A tactic can generate traffic, but a strategy-based method will generate focused traffic. It’s not always easy to tell the difference between strategies and tactics. Things begin to get a little confusing when you discover that tactics frequently require their own strategies. For example, digital marketing can be viewed as a single method inside a broader business growth strategy. There are numerous choices within that strategy. This implies you’ll need a fresh plan to figure out which solutions are best for helping the company achieve its objective through digital marketing. A new tactic for SEO could emerge from that strategy. However, SEO needs its own strategy because using SEO without a plan for attaining your objectives will not yield the desired results.

Let’s imagine a website’s goal over one year time period is to increase sales by 10%.   The first action is to find a plan for achieving your objective. This could comprise of the following tactics:

  • User experience optimization of the website.
  • Optimization for organic traffic.
  • Paid ads.
  • Social media marketing.

That is not, however, the entire approach. You must examine each tactic and consider how you will execute it to attain the set goal. For example, optimization for organic traffic needs a strategy of its own which may include the following extra tactics such as site structure improvement, on-page optimization, link building, etc.

The next step is to examine the strategy for each one of these tactics to see if another approach is required. So this process keeps repeating strategy to tactics, tactics to strategy.  If you don’t develop a strategy for each tactic, you can end up optimizing without having any consistency.

In the end, whether you make the effort to create a strategy or not, the actions you perform may be the same. However, the outcome will be different. You have nothing to compare your success against if you don’t have a strategy. You’ve gained traffic, but is it the appropriate traffic? Is it profitable, too?

You can’t have one without the other, and that’s a fact. If you want to be successful in your SEO efforts, you need to have a clear strategy that guides your tactical decisions. But at the same time, your tactics need to be informed by your overall strategy. It’s a delicate balance, but it’s one that you need to strike if you want to see real results from your SEO campaigns.

I highly recommend that you take the time to develop a solid SEO strategy before you start implementing any tactics. Once you have a good understanding of your goals, your target market, and your competition, you can start to develop a plan of action. The best SEO strategies are always evolving, so make sure to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and changes, and most importantly, don’t be afraid to experiment! The only way to find out what works best for you is to try out new things and see what happens.