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SEO Search Optimization – Strategy and Tactics

SEO Search Optimization

Search Engine Optimization Strategy and Tactics

Columbo: One More Thing

This topic is popular in my neighborhood and I’m not sure if it’s because I’m in online marketing mode or because everyone is getting into online marketing mode. It’s been said that opinions are like assholes because everyone’s got one, but that’s not going to stop me from spitting out some thoughts.

Starting from the top – if you have a website, chances are you put it up there because it serves a purpose. At first it may serve as a placeholder, then it may become a repository for information about how your company is unique, but eventually someone says, “I think we our site should be generating some business”.


The next thing out of their mouth is either going to be Search Engine Optimization or Social Media. This post takes on the role of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and what I listen for when I’m talking to folks “in the know”. The clues that help me separate the providers of SEO services from one another.

I start where most things begin – which is the definition of terms. Search Engines are pretty self explanatory but to make sure we’re on the same page, I consider search engines to be Google. Nothing more, nothing less. Optimization is the practice of showing up in Google where people expect you to be when they are searching for what you have to offer. In a perfect world, that’s in position #1 below any paid ads that show on top. Being there drives traffic and if Google is doing their job, it drives traffic that converts into sales at a high rate.

How does it work? At this point, I’m skeptical of anyone who claims to know because it seems like all things Google have become like a living organism. Sometimes it spits out this result based on how I search on my phone, sometimes it spits out that result based on how I search in Safari, Firefox or Chrome. Other results are based on how long it’s been since I was logged into Gmail, based on which profile I’m currently using and based on how long it’s been since I cleared my cookies.

It’s like that episode in King of Queens when Spence tries to re-train his Tivo because it thinks he’s gay.

The big machine is working hard to anticipate “what I really mean that” and it’s getting closer every day. I love it. I wish it luck. And in the between time, I think a lot about  how my customers and my client’s customers might be looking for the services we offer. Where are they looking? What did they mean by that?

Coming back to SEO and the companies/individuals that are out there selling SEO services, I listen for some acknowledgment that “you never really know someone” but that’s not going to stop us from trying. This is America!

I’ll give you two things to listen for when you’re out looking for help with SEO.

Strategy and Tactics.

Listen for an overall strategy. Is the person in front of you asking about your business? Trying to establish what kind of results you’re getting currently and pressing you to define what kind of results you’d like to see in the future? Do they take that a step further and get you to put a value on that difference? I like it when that happens.

Does the person in front of you or on the phone have any insight into your customers? In the ecommerce world, if you’re selling little carved polar bears, there should be some general idea coming from someone about who buys little carved polar bears and where to get that information.

Little Carved Polar Bear SEO


I’d be impressed if they asked to talk to my customers. I’d be thrilled if they found a few prospects in my target market and talked to them. Thrilled.

Overall, I’m listening for some evidence that they want me to succeed. It’s hard to get that out of people, but I’m listening for it.

Then comes tactics. I want to hear some evidence of expertise but I’m wary of laundry lists. Pricing tables that list the tactic on one side and check marks in columns based on which package is chosen. (I’ve covered whether or not to publish pricing in another post but still have yet to test . . . that comes later. Swear.)

Those lists are good for familiarizing myself with the latest industry terms but unless they are tied to my desired results, I don’t know what to think of them.

SEO is a crazy, ever-changing world that is driven by making sure your website offers visitors exactly what they are looking for. It’s tough but with enough work, you can find that new prospect and help them make good decisions regarding the problems they want solved.

Listen for strategy and tactics. Match your desired results to your budget and get to work.

Good stuff.


About the Author: Greg Chambers is Chambers Pivot Industries. Get more business development ideas from Greg on Twitter.