About the Author

Corey Morris

President / CEO

Corey is the owner and President/CEO of Voltage. He has spent 18 years working in strategic and leadership roles focused on growing national and local client brands with award-winning, ROI-generating digital strategies. He's a recent recipient of the KCDMA 2019 Marketer of the Year award.

Sometimes I feel like a broken record when I start out on a new topic in contributions to publications (shameless plug: Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, Forbes) with the same topic before getting into the key message and content. That is about starting any SEO or broader digital marketing effort with strategy development or goal setting.

[January 2024 update: since publish of this article we have further formalized our own strategy and planning process into START Planning and the Digital Marketing Success Plan™.]

SEO is a discipline that takes time to see it through to ROI. Knowing it is a long term commitment, it can be easy to just jump in and start “optimizing.” However, I have a strong warning against just starting. You can spend a lot of your own time, the time of your team, or investment in outside resources (software, contractors, trainings, agencies) and get down the road to a point where you look back and realize how much was invested and how little return it has produced.

I don’t want anyone to go through that when it can be prevented. I’m not saying that we can fully predict the future or that–even with the best tools and processes possible–we can guarantee results. However, I do believe we can take a moment and invest in going through a robust strategy development process.

Going through strategy includes defining goals, setting expectations, identifying all resources and costs involved, and getting to a tactical plan that you will be implementing. Yes, SEO has “optimization” in the name and an iterative “test and learn” aspect to it. However, that doesn’t mean that we’re just following a checklist of best practices and hoping. Optimization and agility should be built into the process and plan within a larger strategy and not left unchecked or unorganized.

Check out my full article on the importance of starting your SEO campaign with strategy development on Search Engine Journal.