From SEO as a tactic to SEO as a strategy

‘From SEO as tactic to SEO as strategy’ is a concept centered on the focus shift in the use of search engine optimization (SEO). Instead of using SEO as a tactic to make a website rank higher, it becomes an integral part of a complete strategy for the online success of a website or business.

The tactical approach to SEO focuses on specific techniques to improve a website’s visibility and findability. These include using relevant keywords, optimizing meta tags and building backlinks(1). Those who take this approach tend to have a short-term focus. With the use of SEO as a tactic, the main goal is to have a direct impact on search results.

In the strategic approach to SEO, on the other hand, SEO is part of a broader online strategy. In that case, there is more focus on long-term effects. The focus of SEO as a strategy is on creating valuable and relevant content, attracting quality links and building a strong online presence that appeals to and engages the target audience.

The shift from SEO as a tactic to SEO as a strategy was initiated by two things. First, the changing search behavior of users plays an important role in this. Second, the shift can be explained by the ever-increasing complexity of search engines’ algorithm. Integrating SEO into a broader strategy creates a better user experience. This leads to you adding more value to your website and thus your business in the long run.

Successful SEO results require effort

Successful SEO results are the result of a company-wide effort. Just focusing on the technical aspects of SEO, such as optimizing meta tags and getting backlinks, is not enough(2). Instead, all departments and aspects of a company should be integrated and aligned with the goals of the SEO strategy.

The content you publish on your website should be high quality and attractive to your target audience(3). Moreover, your website should be user-friendly and well-structured. This allows users to easily navigate and find what they are looking for. In addition, you need to properly maintain the technical infrastructure of your website and update it regularly.

structured website SEO strategy

Attention to the marketing and promotion of your website and the content posted on it is also necessary. You achieve this through social media, email marketing, pay-per-click ads and other digital marketing channels, for example.

Finally, it is important to regularly measure and analyze the performance of your website. This is how you measure the effectiveness of your SEO strategy and identify problems or opportunities for improvement. By aligning all these aspects and making them part of a complete SEO strategy, you increase your chances of online success.

These are the steps an SEO specialist takes

Are you hiring an SEO specialist for search engine optimization of your website? He or she takes several steps to achieve the desired goals. These steps may include:

  • A thorough analysis of the website and its current SEO status. In doing so, an SEO expert examines the technical aspects of your website, content quality, backlinks and current performance in search engines.
website analysis
  • Identifying keywords and combinations of keywords that are relevant to the target audience. These are the words on which your website should rank in search engines.
  • Developing an SEO strategy tailored to the goals of the website and the needs of the target audience.
  • Optimizing the technical aspects of the website. Here you can think about loading speed, URL structure, mobile usability and content indexability(4).
  • Improving content on the website. Your content should not only be of high quality, but also relevant to the keywords you want your website to rank for in the search engine results.
  • Building quality backlinks. These backlinks ensure that search engines consider your website relevant and an authority.
  • Monitoring and analyzing website performance in search engines. Keeping an eye on your website’s performance will reveal whether SEO efforts are having an effect. It also allows an SEO expert to identify any problems or opportunities for improvement(5).
  • Regularly updating and optimizing the website and SEO strategy. Only when your website stays up-to-date can it continue to perform.

By following the above steps and developing a customized approach for each specific website, an SEO specialist improves a website’s visibility and findability in search engines.

Business management is also essential to SEO success

In addition to employing an experienced SEO expert, business practices are critical to the success of an SEO strategy and overall digital marketing approach. In fact, business operations determine how the website is positioned and promoted and how it is managed and maintained.

Among other things, a company with strong operations is able to:

  • Identify and understand the right target audience. This is a prerequisite for creating relevant and interesting content that matches the needs of the target audience.
  • Create a consistent brand identity and image. By doing so, you build trust and credibility with your target audience.
  • Maintain efficiency and consistency when creating and publishing content. This way, your website remains relevant and attractive to search engines and users.
  • Provide strong customer service. This increases customer satisfaction. Customers are thus more likely to return to and promote your website.
Strong customer service
  • Analyze and evaluate the performance of the website on a regular basis. If necessary, immediate adjustments can be made to improve SEO and digital marketing strategies.

Strong business management is essential to creating an online presence that appeals to the target audience. It is therefore a prerequisite for achieving business goals, including generating organic traffic and improving search engine optimization.

Align your reporting with the stakeholder(s)

How you report SEO results periodically depends on the job title and interests of the person to whom you are reporting. Below are some differences regarding reporting SEO results to a CEO, CMO and CFO:

  1. CEO: the CEO is usually interested in achieving corporate goals and overall corporate success. Are you going to report the SEO results to him or her? Then it’s about influencing the impact of search engine optimization on business results. You can think about increasing sales, profits or customer satisfaction. The CEO most likely also wants to know how SEO contributes to the company’s long-term goals. It is also interesting for a CEO to know how this compares with other marketing channels.
  1. CMO: The CMO, in turn, is specifically responsible for marketing strategies. Therefore, he or she is particularly interested in the performance of the SEO strategy compared to other marketing channels. While reporting, it is important to emphasize the ROI of SEO. Also explain how it compares to other channels such as paid search advertising, social media and email marketing. The CMO will also want to know which keywords and search queries bring the most value to the company, as well as how to adjust SEO efforts to better match the target audience.
  1. CFO: The CFO is responsible for the company’s financial performance. For this person, then, it is important to know how SEO contributes to the company’s financial goals. Therefore, when reporting SEO results to the CFO, emphasize especially how the cost of SEO efforts compares to the revenue. The CFO further wants to know what the ROI of SEO is and how it can be improved to improve business results. He or she is also interested in the long-term benefits of SEO and how they compare to other investments the company may make.

Do you report SEO results to various stakeholders within a company? Then emphasize the aspects most relevant to that person’s job and goals.

Focus your SEO reporting on the future

To focus your reporting on the future, consider a few things:

  1. Goals: make sure you have clear goals for the future. Report to stakeholder(s) how current SEO efforts are contributing to their achievement. This could include increasing organic traffic, improving conversion rates or increasing online visibility.
  1. Strategy: report how the current SEO strategy fits with broader business goals. Also tell how it develops in the future. This may involve implementing new SEO techniques, rethinking keywords or expanding online presence.
  1. Trends and developments: keep an eye on trends and developments in SEO and digital marketing. Include in your reports how these may affect future SEO strategy. This may include, for example, the impact of new technologies, changes in search engines or changing user search behavior.
  1. Performance: Report website performance in search engines and how it evolves over time. Use data and statistics to identify trends and what actions you take to improve performance in the future.
performance SEO strategy
  1. Recommendations: provide recommendations on possible improvements and changes to the SEO strategy. Also explain how these can contribute to meeting future goals. This could include implementing new technologies, optimizing the website for mobile use or creating new content that responds to changing user search behavior.

By considering the above aspects, you can focus your reporting on the future. It also clarifies how SEO efforts contribute to the organization’s long-term success.

As an SEO specialist, how do you determine long-term goals?

As an SEO specialist, it is important to determine the “dot on the horizon,” or long-term goals of SEO efforts. How to do that, I have explained in a few steps below:

  1. Analyze current SEO performance: to determine where you want to go, you must first know where you stand. To gain insight into this, you perform various analyses. For example, you analyze the website’s current SEO performance, such as search engine rankings, organic traffic, conversion rates and bounce rates. That way you will know in which areas you can improve.
  1. Identify target audience and objectives: identify the website’s target audience and determine what objectives you want to achieve with SEO. Examples of objectives include increasing sales, profits or customer satisfaction. In doing so, it is important to determine which keywords and searches are relevant to the target audience.
target SEO strategy
  1. Analyze the competition: analyze the competition and determine what their strengths and weaknesses are in terms of SEO. This will help you better understand where your opportunities lie and where to focus to stand out.
  1. Develop an SEO strategy: develop an SEO strategy tailored to the target audience, goals and competition. For example, a strategy includes creating valuable content, building quality backlinks, optimizing the technical aspects of the website and improving the user experience.
  1. Measure performance and adjust: regularly track website performance and SEO strategy. From these measurements, you can determine if and where it is necessary to make adjustments. This will keep you on the right course to achieve your long-term goals.
website security

How to make SEO permeate the entire organization

Want to integrate SEO throughout the organization? Then the key is to communicate its importance and incorporate SEO into the corporate culture. Below I have described some steps you can take to achieve this:

  1. Create awareness: raise awareness within the organization about the importance of SEO. Inform employees about how it can contribute to achieving company goals. Give presentations or training to staff and stakeholders. In doing so, explain the basics and benefits of search engine optimization.
  1. Integrate SEO into the decision-making process: by integrating SEO into an organization’s decision-making process, you make it part of the broader business strategy. An example is involving SEO specialists in new projects or campaigns so that they can advise on necessary SEO efforts.
  1. Set measurable goals: make goals for SEO measurable and monitor website performance and SEO efforts. By setting goals and measuring progress, it becomes apparent to the organization what interests search engine optimization. Those responsible are thus more likely to continue investing in SEO efforts.
  1. Collaborate with other departments: get departments within the organization to work together. This allows teams such as the marketing department, content department and development department to integrate SEO into their work even better. For example, by creating content optimized for search engines, optimizing the technical aspects of the website or building quality backlinks.
Collaborate with other departments SEO strategy
  1. Stay up-to-date: make sure you stay on top of developments and trends in SEO and digital marketing. You can thus better prepare the organization for change and respond more efficiently to new opportunities.

By keeping the above tips in mind, as an SEO specialist you will make it more likely that SEO will become an integral part of a broader business strategy.

Go from SEO as a tactic to SEO as a strategy as follows

Here is a table that describes the steps to change SEO from a tactic to a strategy within an organization, along with the key stakeholders that may be involved in each step:

StepDescriptionKey Stakeholders
Understanding and awarenessIt is important that all relevant stakeholders within the organization understand the importance of SEO and how it can contribute to overall business goals.Management, Marketing team, Sales, IT, Content Creators
Education and trainingMake sure everyone involved in creating content, developing the website, or making marketing decisions has a basic understanding of SEO and how it works.Marketing Team, IT, Content Creators
SEO strategy developmentCreate a detailed SEO strategy that aligns with business goals, including specific goals, tactics, and KPIs for SEO.SEO specialists, Marketing team, Management
Integration with other strategiesMake sure the SEO strategy is integrated with and supported by other marketing and business strategies, such as content marketing, social media, and sales.Marketing team, Sales, Management
ImplementationBegin implementing the SEO strategy, including technical SEO, on-page SEO, and off-page SEO.IT, SEO specialists, Content Creators
Measurement and analysisEstablish a process for regularly measuring and analyzing SEO performance and adjusting strategy based on these insights.SEO specialists, Marketing team
Continuous improvementMake SEO an ongoing process of improvement, constantly testing and optimizing new tactics and approaches.All stakeholders

It is important to remember that SEO is an ongoing process that requires regular attention and adjustment. It is also a team effort that requires involvement and collaboration from different departments and roles within the organization.


Within digital marketing, SEO has become an important part of an online presence. Working on a website’s search engine optimization helps improve online visibility, generate more organic traffic and grow a business in general.

To harness the full potential of SEO, however, it is important to think of it as a strategy rather than just a tactic. This means that SEO is not just a task for the SEO specialist, but a company-wide effort. Operations, marketing strategy and collaboration between departments play a crucial role in this.

To infuse the organization with SEO, it is important to communicate its importance and integrate it into the corporate culture. By creating awareness, integrating SEO into the decision-making process, setting measurable goals, collaborating with other departments and staying up-to-date on developments, an organization can implement an effective SEO strategy. That strategy helps achieve long-term business goals. Thus, SEO allows you to gain a significant competitive advantage in the online world.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
Five stars
My clients give me a 5.0 on Google out of 75 reviews

I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 22 March 2024. The last update of this article was on 22 March 2024. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.