SEO is not a strategy

Ian Lurie

Today I ran an SEO copywriting clinic at SES San Jose. Lesson: We all need to remember that SEO is not a strategy.
SEO is a tactic. It’s how you generate ‘foot traffic’ once you’ve created your product.
Before you start an SEO campaign, you need to:

  • Know what you’re selling.
  • Know why it’s unique.
  • Have a well crafted story. Not a lie – a narrative about your product/service/campaign/whatever that tells the audience why you’re unique.
  • Already know how you’re going to motivate your audience.
  • Have great copy. Don’t write for SEO. Write first. Then optimize.
  • Have a well-crafted web site that was built with your audience in mind.

Only then should you invest in SEO. Or in any other tactic.

A million years ago I wrote a post about the fact that SEO is a tactic, not a strategy. This bit is just a refresher.

SEO Copywriting eBook
Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (that's more than 25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team, training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. Good stuff, I speak to far too many people who consider SEO their one and only “strategy” for getting traffic.
    I love SEO, but more people need to realise that it should only be one feather in your cap.

  2. I absolutely agree with you.I have seen people worried more about researching keywords from SEO POV rather than selecting keywords fulfilling the website’s motive,only to increase the traffic and get a better page rank.SEO has to be given importance,but a proper understanding of the own site must be done before that.
    Nice and necessary information.
    Thanks for sharing.

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