It’s the same thing, right?  Strategy… tactics… the things we employ to push our businesses towards their ultimate goals.

Well, in short, no.

In SEO marketing terms, tactics are actually the isolated actions or events we utilise towards the implementation of a specific task, towards a specific goal.  Ensuring that article has keywords in the h1 and h2 header tags. Emboldening those keywords that appear in the main text body. Etc etc. We exploit such units of opportunity to assist us in reaching that overall, overarching objective; so that tactics are the means to an end, markers within an approach.  Your SEO marketing strategy, therefore, denotes that actual overarching search engine optimisation campaign.

seo marketing strategyBoth tactics and strategy will operate on the same plain of time and space – we use both to push together.  We create a bespoke SEO marketing strategy for each new client and refer back to it constantly to ensure that the tactics adhere to the overarching strategy. However in very simplistic time terms, tactics, for instance, may be employed to help with short-term objectives, say those within the time-frame of a year, whereas our strategy might more likely take place over a longer time period, perhaps five years rather than one, and involve the broader ambition of our SEO client, and where they see their online marketing taking them To simplify, consider the difference using these aphorisms: “We lost the battle but won the war” (where the battle is the tactic, the war the strategy); or in sports terms, consider the difference between the short ball and the long ball game (where, again, the short ball is the tactic, the long ball the strategy).

In business, great strategists such as Steve Jobs at Apple are able to see the future, as if corporate clairvoyants, and conceive of the way their business might function to bridge the gap between the present and that future.  In employment, strategists are likely therefore to be the managers, the thinkers, engaging their cerebral CPUs to map out the future direction of their company, laying it out in front of them like a grand Napoleonic battle plan.  The tacticians – while no less integral to the successful functioning of a business – are, meanwhile, likely to be the technicians, the doers.  Again in the argot of the battlefield, the tacticians are the foot soldiers, those working the frontline – the SEO copywriters under the watchful eye of the project manager! It is for the tacticians to fire the bullets (or the press releases and other marketing materials) over the corporate battlements.  It is the strategists that will hold back and consider the greater scheme of things – the bigger picture – pushing pieces around the board, deploying tactics as they shape the complex context of a grand strategic plan, and judging the success of that plan.

SEO marketing analogy

A  campaign strategician needs to keep thinking, to keep on their toes in an ever-changing battlefield and shape-shifting marketplace. Not to mention a Google algorithm with very itchy feet! To lose focus, to fail to adapt, risks the possibility of strategic wear out, as your competition seeks to maximise the potential of any slip or slide.  In terms of mobile comms, consider once again the vision of Steve Jobs and the iPhone, compared to the current perilous fate of Blackberry… lest we forget, previously (if briefly) the must have business mobile.

A company assessing their search engine marketing strategy will recognise the importance of a solid online presence, and the importance of clear, concise and targeted communications.  Equally, they will know that if there is not the skill or wherewithal in-house to provide that content and delivery, they will need to employ an SEO company that can; an agency able to effectively handle both the creation and dissemination of effective digital comms across the web and social media platforms.  It’s all very well having the grenades, general… you also need the people to throw them and the intel to know where they should be thrown.

Tactics and strategy – they work hand in hand.  And don’t only take my word for it.  Let’s sign off with a 2500 year old quote from the ancient Chinese general, philosopher and military strategist, Sun Tzu, who said: “Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat”.

Effective SEO marketing is melody, not noise.