Digital SEO: Making it stick long-term

By Paul Ngoie

Paul Ngoie, head of SEO at Williams Commerce, writes for iGB Affiliate on how to best craft an SEO strategy that will serve you in the long run and not leave you back at the drawing board a few months down the line.

In the world of SEO, there's a common pitfall: focusing too heavily on tactics without a solid, well-defined strategy. I often hear SEO experts confuse tactics with strategy, but understanding the difference between the two can be crucial for achieving and maintaining long-term SEO success.

This article delves into the ongoing challenges of SEO and offers strategic steps to create a sustainable plan. The digital landscape is ever-changing, the continual evolution of search engine algorithms, the rise in mobile usage, faster internet speeds, and the integration of AI are just a few factors that keep reshaping the field.

Despite these changes, core SEO principles like targeting the right keywords, technical SEO, quality content, building authority through backlinks, and user experience are fundamentals that have consistently driven SEO success from the beginning and remain relevant to date.

According to the latest study by BrightEdge, organic search contributes to over 53% of total website traffic across various business websites, making it the dominant source of trackable web traffic and the largest digital channel.

As of March 2024, the first result in Google's organic search results boasts an impressive average click-through rate (CTR) of 25.03% on mobile and 31.1% on desktop. While attracting organic traffic through conventional methods remains crucial, it's equally important to explore other avenues. For instance, voice search is increasingly popular due to the rise of smart speakers and virtual assistants like Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple's Siri. Notably, 40.7% of voice search answers are derived from featured snippets, underscoring the need to optimise for this growing trend.

The dominance of mobile devices in online searches necessitates a mobile-centric approach to digital marketing and SEO strategies

Featured snippets are selected search results that appear at the top of Google's organic search results in a box, often referred to as "position zero." These snippets are designed to answer the user's query directly and concisely, making them particularly useful for voice search.

Mobile devices now account for a majority – or near majority – of online searches for almost every major industry. The dominance of mobile devices in online searches necessitates a mobile-centric approach to digital marketing and SEO strategies. Businesses that prioritise mobile optimisation will be better positioned to capture and retain the attention of their audience in this mobile-first era.

Today, SEO experts must juggle a myriad of factors to ensure their strategies are effective and comprehensive. SEO today is a multifaceted discipline that requires attention to a wide range of elements, from technical optimisation and content quality to user experience and mobile readiness. By addressing each of these areas, SEO experts can create a comprehensive strategy that improves search visibility, drives traffic, and enhances user engagement.

Before diving into the specifics of creating an effective SEO strategy, it's crucial to understand the challenges of developing a strategy that remains relevant in a rapidly changing digital world. Successful SEO isn't just about optimising keywords and content; it requires coordination across various teams, including content writers, web developers, and marketing teams. This coordination demands clear communication and teamwork.

The digital landscape evolves constantly, with new technologies emerging regularly. Staying updated and integrating new tools into your SEO strategy is essential for competitiveness. Aligning diverse departments, each with its own culture and business model, to support a cohesive SEO strategy can be complex but is crucial for long-term success.

Understanding these challenges highlights the need for a holistic and flexible SEO approach. It's about fostering collaboration, adapting to changes, and aligning efforts across the organisation to develop an SEO strategy that thrives both today and in the future.

Crafting a long-lasting Strategy

Start by defining the extent of your SEO efforts: Are you focusing on a specific product line, targeting a particular country, or optimising your entire business? Assess your resources and prioritise specific areas accordingly.

Next, allocate tasks appropriately. The central SEO team, consisting of SEO experts and specialists, should focus on strategy and oversight. Meanwhile, other tasks will fall to various teams within your organisation, such as web developers and copywriters. Recognise that SEO is a collaborative effort, not a one-person job.

Understanding what tasks are needed and identifying the best people in your organisation to handle them is key to a successful strategy. Decide whether to rely solely on internal teams or engage an external agency for assistance. Consider if you are looking for long-term solutions or quick fixes to boost certain keyword rankings. These crucial questions will guide your SEO strategy effectively.

Building an integrated SEO ecosystem

Technical SEO is a crucial element, requiring a proactive approach where your extended SEO team incorporates SEO into the infrastructure workflow. Ensuring your website is easily navigable and indexable by search engines is vital. This involves optimising the code and building relevance directly into web page templates.

Keywords remain central to SEO. Whether users are typing into Google or using voice devices like Alexa or Siri, everything starts with keywords

Local SEO is also essential for businesses operating in multiple regions. Continuously optimise and adapt to changes, such as making your site responsive for mobile devices and integrating schema markup for rich snippets.

Keywords remain central to SEO. Whether users are typing into Google or using voice devices like Alexa or Siri, everything starts with keywords. Monitor and analyse keyword performance and co-optimise paid and organic search efforts.

Education and collaboration

Education and structured learning within your organisation are crucial. Address resistance to SEO collaboration by developing an internal knowledge platform and providing role-specific training. This expands knowledge, improves communication, and fosters better relationships between the central SEO team and extended teams.

Crafting an effective and enduring SEO strategy requires building a robust, integrated ecosystem. This encompasses technology, education, keyword management, content creation, and continuous optimisation. Develop a centralised and scalable SEO framework, streamline core processes, and integrate reporting and optimisation methods into your content and technical infrastructure workflow. By doing so, your website will remain crawlable, relevant, and adaptable to the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Key pillars

Each of these pillars contributes to building an integrated, resilient ecosystem that supports continuous optimisation and adaptability in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

1. Managing the Process

A successful SEO strategy starts with the core values and quality of your central SEO team. This team is crucial to everything, as they can make or break your SEO progress. Excellence is a key quality they should embody, committing to the highest standards in everything they do, from deliverables to optimisation methods. Continuous improvement is vital, which includes staying on top of every change and update in search engine algorithms. Importantly, the team must be dedicated to achieving measurable results.

Expertise within the central SEO team is essential. For example, technical SEO skills are crucial. I joined Ladbrokes in 2005 as a web developer and transitioned to SEO, making it easier to understand and address technical requirements and issues. Content strategy, keyword research, and analytics are other critical areas of expertise for this team. Capability is also a core value, meaning the team must be adaptable, collaborative, and skilled in problem-solving and resource management.

Continuous improvement is vital, which includes staying on top of every change and update in search engine algorithms

The central SEO team should have a coordinated approach, handling responsibilities like:

  • Standardised in-sourcing/out-sourcing delivery
  • Evangelising and educating business units, departments, stakeholders, and geographies
  • Maintaining consistent processes, reporting, and optimisation methods
  • Deploying best practices, standard metrics, and tools

Engaging all stakeholders, including senior management, marketing analysts, web developers, copywriters, web operations, and paid & organic media teams, is vital. Ensuring everyone who impacts SEO performance is aligned and informed enhances collaboration and effectiveness.

2. Managing Keywords

Managing keywords effectively is another crucial pillar. A central resource combining all important SEO data points allows for informed decision making on SEO keyword performance, opportunities, and priorities. This data-driven approach reduces guesswork and focuses efforts on areas likely to yield the best results and ROI.

It’s about transforming large amounts of unstructured keyword performance data into strategic insights that helps manage, benchmark, and drive SEO keyword strategy. This includes:

  • Data-driven decision making
  • Keyword optimisation and expansion
  • Enhancing user experience and content relevance
  • Efficient resource allocation

3. Managing Priorities

Setting clear priorities ensures that your SEO efforts are focused and aligned with your business goals. This involves identifying high-impact areas and allocating resources to optimise these effectively. Regularly reassessing and adjusting priorities based on performance data and market trends keeps your strategy relevant and effective.

4. Managing E-E-A-T

E-E-A-T stands for Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. These factors have become important ranking criteria. Integrating E-E-A-T into your SEO strategy involves demonstrating expertise in your content, showcasing your experience, building authoritativeness through credible backlinks and partnerships, and ensuring your site is trustworthy. This holistic approach enhances your site's reputation and search engine rankings.

5. Managing Technology

Integrating technology infrastructure into your SEO strategy is crucial for long-term success. This includes building a crawlable website, ensuring search engines can easily navigate and index your site, and optimising code to facilitate smooth indexing by Google bots. Additionally, incorporating localisation processes, making your site responsive for mobile devices, and integrating schema markup for rich snippets are essential components.

6. Managing Performance

Anything important in an organisation gets measured, and SEO is no exception. Regularly monitoring and measuring SEO performance is essential. The findings and results should feed back into the ecosystem of your strategy and SEO operations, enabling continuous improvement.

Utilise an array of tools to monitor technical performance and develop processes to address issues promptly. This ensures that your site remains optimised and performs well across all metrics.


SEO has continuously evolved since Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google, and this evolution shows no signs of stopping. To create a long-lasting SEO strategy, it is crucial to distinguish between strategy and tactics. A winning SEO approach involves adhering to best practices, which will ultimately lead to success.

Crafting an effective and enduring SEO strategy involves building a robust, integrated ecosystem. This ecosystem should encompass process, technology, education, keyword management, and continuous optimisation. By doing so, you ensure that your site remains crawlable, relevant, and adaptable to the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Focusing on these key pillars will help create an SEO strategy that drives immediate results and sustains long-term growth and success.

Paul Ngoie

Paul is the head of SEO at Williams Commerce, a leading eCommerce technology agency. Paul has over 15 years of experience in SEO and has worked for igaming operators such as Ladbrokes, Betway, and BetVictor. He also has extensive experience in eCommerce, fashion retail, and SaaS, both in the UK and internationally. heart 1

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