Seo strategy

3 fundamental trade-offs that every SEO strategy must take into account

Investing more in one SEO strategy usually means investing less in another, at least in the short term.

Choosing the middle lane won’t be the best choice for all brands either.

With that in mind, let’s talk about three key strategic SEO tradeoffs that you’ll need to consider when making important decisions for optimizing your brand.

1. Traffic vs relevance

I know what a lot of you are thinking. “That’s the relevance, obviously. “

Yes, an SEO strategy that doesn’t factor relevance into the game plan is obviously flawed.

Traffic from users who would never have an interest in your product is inherently wasteful.

Except when it doesn’t.

Here is the trick:

There is actually a lot more to consider than might be immediately apparent.

Consider the following:

Benefits of a high traffic, low relevance approach

  • The higher the traffic gained, the better your chances of gaining natural links from visitors.
  • High traffic means that people who would have being interested in your products may hear about you from visitors who would never be interested in your products, whether through social sharing or in person.
  • More traffic volume means it’s easier to get statistically significant results from SEO experiments, A / B testing, and similar data approaches.
  • More traffic can ultimately mean an increase in the total number of relevant visits, even if the proportion of relevant visits is lower.
  • High traffic strategies can reach people higher up the sales funnel, but can still end up getting interested in your product, often in very unpredictable ways.


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The disadvantages of a high traffic approach

  • High traffic keywords are often very competitive, even when they are irrelevant. The easiest keywords to rank for are those with limited traffic potential and audiences with very specific needs.
  • Low conversion rates limit the immediate financial value of high traffic strategies.
  • Chasing too many high traffic topics can seem cynical or dilute your brand’s message.

Benefits of a high relevance, low traffic approach

  • Much higher conversion rates for lead generation and sales.
  • Less competitive keywords to target.
  • A more targeted psychological impact on the visitors most likely to buy your products in the end, leading to a greater affinity with the brand.
  • More enthusiastic brand advocates.
  • More relevant natural anchor text in your earned links.

The disadvantages of a high relevance approach

  • High relevance keywords can be just as competitive as high traffic keywords if they have high conversion rates. High audience relevance often doesn’t translate into high product relevance.
  • High-relevance strategies can be difficult to scale, especially without alienating your existing audience.
  • Becoming too focused on a limited set of topics can limit your brand’s perceived personality.

2. Consumer vs influencer

It seems obvious that your target audience should be the people who will end up buying your products.

However, you should also take into account that influencers with the power to link with us, share our content, and expose us to a wider audience are just as important as a factor.


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Closely related is the question of whether we write for an industry or for a set of interests.

I’ll primarily group “interest set” with “consumers” and “industry” with “influencers”, but keep in mind that there can be a bit of cross-contamination here.

If you work in B2B things are a little different, but a lot of what applies to “consumer” applies to businesses that would be your customers, while the label “influencer” goes to thought leaders. your industry and your client’s industries, it includes companies that provide services similar to yours.

Benefits of an influencer, industry-targeted approach

  • Writing for bloggers, journalists, and the industry you compete in is the most likely strategy to gain the most trusted links. Since these are the people who own the authoritative sites and most of them are willing to cite their sources, you can still achieve huge SEO authority with content that targets these people.
  • Likewise, producing content for this audience is most likely to result in social media sharing.
  • Influencer-focused content can be a starting point for collaborative content, earning opportunities for mutual connections, and even business partnerships and B2B opportunities that you might not have considered.

Disadvantages of the influencer approach

  • The influencers who can reach your audiences and the businesses that compete with you for sales from them are often the same.
  • Industry-focused content may not necessarily appeal to your consumers and may even alienate them.

Benefits of a consumer-focused approach

  • Writing for consumers makes you appear more down to earth in the minds of the people who will actually buy your products.
  • Having a direct practical impact on your consumer’s life before they even buy a product from you means they’ll be more likely to trust you and buy your products.
  • Consumer-focused content generally has greater overall traffic potential.

Disadvantages of the consumer approach

  • Consumers rarely control platforms with tracked links which can help your SEO and rarely can connect you to a larger audience.
  • Consumer-focused content, especially when not aimed at power users, may come across as an introductory level for influencers and therefore not worth passing on.

3. Trend vs. Evergreen

Choosing between content that appeals to people’s desire for novelty and content that stands the test of time can be difficult.

Investing more in one type of content always means investing less in the other.

How much of each is the right balance for you?


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Benefits of content on trending topics

  • Focusing on hot topics allows you to participate in ongoing conversations, which has obvious SEO benefits in terms of earning links and engagements that contribute to your long-term authority in the search engines. .
  • If you’re one of the first to tackle a trending topic, your competition is unlikely to be able to outperform you until interest in the topic wanes.
  • Emerging topics, especially those that weren’t covered by the big news sites, have limited competition and SEO is geared more towards freshness than authority, giving sites with limited authority when it comes to SEO a better chance to rank.

Disadvantages of a trendy approach

  • If you are not selective enough with your trending topics, you are likely to choose the same trending topics as everyone else and you are unlikely to be one of the first to post.
  • Trending topics generate a spike in traffic, but rarely send long-term traffic.

Benefits of content on Evergreen topics

  • Since evergreen content continues to drive traffic every month, it allows you to cumulatively build your monthly traffic just by producing new content, instead of having to research more important topics every month.
  • Since it’s a recurring traffic source, you have more freedom to update, experiment, test, and optimize for conversions, relevance, and traffic potential.
  • Because your products are designed to solve problems that will continue to exist, and evergreen content is designed to solve problems that will continue to exist, the link between evergreen content and sales is often more direct. , even for topics relatively high in the sales funnel.

Disadvantages of an evergreen approach

  • It can be difficult to get influencers’ attention to an always-hot topic without introducing new information, such as a poll or original research, and since others are likely to have covered the topics to be covered. advance, which makes it difficult to overtake the competition. In other words, the benefit of permanent content for those who wrote it first is a hindrance for anyone wanting to broach the topic.
  • Evergreen content generally needs to be more comprehensive, in-depth, and well-produced than topical content, which may require a higher investment of resources.


Each brand is different and “everything in moderation” is not specific enough. Consider the above tradeoffs when developing your brand’s SEO strategy.

Image credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita