Agile SEO Vs Traditional SEO: A comprehensive guide to choose wisely

Agile SEO vs Traditional SEO

Project management platform becomes an essential skill and a central location for all the agencies or companies to thrive their level up, by handling all your project information like tasks, communication, deadlines and more in an efficient manner. 

From minor to medium to large, every business inclines on project management to deliver their services and products successfully. 

If you’re on the list as a business owner or agency handling multiple projects, then your day will be so busy that sometimes you only really have enough time to glance at a highlight of what’s going on and which approach suits your project handling.

Well, if that is you, then today is your good day, and our blog nicely touches upon the ideas to give an option, to choose the best among the two Agile, dynamic approach and waterfall traditional method. It also throws light on the significant differences between agile SEO and traditional SEO. 

Read and learn more about the concepts below and see who wins on the battle of Agile SEO vs Traditional SEO.

Agile SEO vs Traditional SEO: An embracive comparison

In today’s digital landscape changing dynamically, both traditional SEO and agile SEO play a prominent role in optimizing your website for search engines. The SEO may follow different project methodologies to carry out their SEO projects. 

Agile and waterfall approaches are the two well-known project management methods, suited best for different types of project execution. 

The major difference is that the waterfall approach represents a linear system of working which requires a team to complete every project phase full-fledged, before moving to the next one. 

Rather this Agile encourages the team to work simultaneously on different project phases. 

Traditional SEO

In the Waterfall methodology, it forges sequential stages of SEO project planning, and execution then followed by the analysis of results. 

The end results of the traditional waterfall method are clearly established right from the beginning of the project. 

The expectations for the SEO project and the deliverables of each SEO task must be clear and  are essential to move your project to progress to the next phase. 

Step-wise focus of waterfall SEO methodology

The sequential steps involved in traditional waterfall model SEO go on with the following stages.

Initially at the first stages of SEO, research, and assessment begin. 

Research and analysis

This initial phase indulges comprehensive research and analysis, such as keyword research, competitor assessment, and understanding of the audience’s search behavior.

The aim is to collect as much relevant information as possible to inform the SEO strategy.


Once all the insights are  collected, a detailed plan for SEO is developed. The plan outlines target keywords, SEO roadmap activities, content strategy, and other SEO goals. 

The phase sets out clear timelines and objectives for your project. 

Technical SEO

Before you focus on page and content optimization, technical SEO pitfalls are addressed. It brings out to make the site search engine friendly by enhancing the mobile responsiveness, site structure, implementing secure protocols(HTTPS), and increasing page load speed. 

Make sure the technical health of your site is crucial for rankings and user experience. 

Off-page SEO

It involves all the activities outside the site to enhance the SERP position. It goes on to build high-quality backlinks from reputable sites, as those are all the main ranking factors for the search engines. 

Other off-page tactics consist of influencer outreach and social media marketing. 

On-page SEO

With a technically sound site, this phase deals with optimizing individual web pages to rank higher and earn more search traffic. 

The tasks involved in this traditional SEO approach 

  • Optimizing title tags.
  • Optimizing images, header tags, and meta descriptions 
  • Ensuring keyword-rich high-quality content.
Content development 

This content development concentrates on crafting, optimizing, and publishing content that meets the audience’s needs. This consists of infographics, articles, blog posts, and other content for engaging users and addressing search queries. 

Monitoring and analyzing 

Continuous monitoring seems essential for tracking the site performance against the set goals. 

This is accomplished through tools like Google Search Console, and Google Analytics to assess rankings, traffic, and user behavior. 

Adjustments and maintenance

After you get the performance data, your SEO tactics might need adjustments in this approach. 

The final phase will be to make necessary changes to enhance results, like tweaking keyword strategies, on-page elements optimization, and updating content. 

Regular maintenance checks if the site continues to meet out the standards of SEO and adapts to the updates of search engine algorithms. 


The approach is suitable probably for large-scale projects, having detailed project plans and defined milestones. 

The simple process in the traditional approach with the defined steps in the team makes the SEO team manage and work easily. 


The traditional approach, their outputs adapt slowly to reflect the changes in the changing trends and the data insights due to the rigid project planning. 

Waterfall’s approach is to plan the entire SEO process in detail before starting the entire development. 


Pre-planned requirements and goals

In the waterfall model, the SEO management was tasked with considering all the requirements before starting the entire SEO activities or production. 

This makes sure, that the product team has clear and defined ideas of what you are going to do, since all the roles of the team, their requirements and other SEO tasks are clearly defined. 

Track progress against pre-defined milestones to ensure goals remain within reach.


Deep-digging into requirements, user research, competitor analysis, and risk assessments during the planning phase sets a strong foundation.

Comprehensive analysis

Utilize established metrics and industry benchmarks to evaluate progress and effectiveness.

Resistant to change

Waterfall thrives on a fixed plan, which means the team members could confidently approach the development process as the strategy is resistant to change. 

As there won’t be many changes to the initial plan, the team or the developers won’t have to worry about adapting to learning new skills or changes in a limited timeframe. 

Offers a clear structure

The waterfall model for the SEO process lays out the phases of the entire SEO process. This lets the team members know how each and every SEO process is going to evolve from one phase to another phase and where the product currently stands. 

This approach helps the team to make better estimates and to craft well-informed decisions. 


The predictability of how each project phase is going to be developed, and how it moves offered by the waterfall method, prevents unwanted errors or any sudden changes the SEO team might be unable to adapt to. 

Staying track 

As everything is discussed and documented beforehand, the team is aware of each step they ought to take in reaching the goal. 

This makes them stay on track and stick to the SEO tactics aligned with the company’s goals. 


In this model is quite challenging, in which each SEO team will be often separated by different work such as backlinks, content audit, technical SEO, and so on. 

Teams working on different phases in SEO could operate in silos, leading to rework or miscommunication. 

So I have to ensure flexibility and to adapt and strive to create a collaborative environment every time. 


As the entire planning of the project is initiated, at the project plans, slow response to the changes is prone in this waterfall model. 

Lack of continuous optimization will be a trait in this approach, as the project deployment is performed at the end stage of your execution. 


May cause delays

In the waterfall model, everything ought to be known and documented before the production, hence collecting all the details beforehand could be more time-consuming and result in delays in starting each and every SEO task. 

Rigid, doesn’t adapt to change

The approach follows a fixed SEO project management plan, and the rigidness of the plan leaves little to no room for the SEO adjustments meaning the product is slow to integrate the customer feedback. 

Errors can be costly

Testing is performed at the end of the entire project lifecycle. 

If the team discovers any errors in the middle of the process, it could be expensive to return back and fix the mistakes. 

Increased risk

Opting towards this model is riskier than another flexible approach like agile. 

If the goals aren’t properly defined and then documented properly at the initial stages, then the entire process might not be as efficient. 

This may result in huge money losses where the end results will be unable to satisfy the user’s demands and wants. 

Agile SEO

The Agile approach is an iterative method, with short SEO sprints, of planning, execution, and review. This method of managing your SEO backlog and projects centers around iterative and incremental steps to accomplish the task.

In agile, the team would work on the project phases concurrently, with short-term deadlines. 

In addition to this, it directs the project’s direction and can empower the team to be more productive and motivated, and it also demands a self-directed team. 

Continuous testing, rapid adaptation to the algorithm updates and user behavior, and data-driven decisions can be involved in between the sprint cycles whenever SEO demands. 

To put it simply, you must work on rapidly and learn fast. Follow the simple steps for doing it:

  • SEO Project planning what you’re going to do
  • Implement it
  • Check if it was what was wanted
  • Act on the task and change it, and repeat the process iteratively. 


When you are opting for bite-sized projects to undergo frequent testing and optimization cycles, you can deliver it with an agile approach. 

Agile SEO Methodologies


Agile is a team-based, iterative approach to SEO development. This method emphasizes the fast delivery of products in complete functional components. 

Instead of creating tasks and schedules, all time is “time-boxed” to phases referred to as SEO sprints

Every sprint possesses a defined duration (generally in weeks) with a running list of deliverables, planned at the sprint initialization date. 

Deliverables are prioritized by the business value identified by the customer. 

If all the planned work cannot be completed for a particular spring, work can be reprioritized and the related information can be used for future sprint planning. 

After the work is completed fully, it could be put up for review and assessed by the team and clients through end-of-sprint demos and daily builds. 

Agile depends on a very high level of customer involvement throughout the project specifically during those reviews. 

Step-wise procedures in Agile method

Sprints and iterations

The SEO work will be divided into manageable, short cycles referred to as SEO sprints, generally lasting 2 to 4 weeks. 

Every sprint, focussed on a particular set of tasks, or goals, making the team handle the projects in bite-sized pieces. 

It benefits you in fast testing, learning phase, and adapting it. 

Cross-functional teams

After this division, it majorly depends on cross-functional, collaborative teams, bringing all together different expertise, such as web developers, data analysts, content creators, and SEO specialists. 

In this step, different SEO aspects are incorporated and optimized in an aligned and cohesive manner. 

Consistent planning and work prioritizing 

Instead of a long-term and fixed plan, consistent planning and task reprioritization, based on environment, performance data, and impacts is carried out. 

This gives the team for high flexibility to adapt the tactics to the changing environment and go on with high-value work. 

Regular review and adaptation

At the end point of every sprint, the team reviews the results, and assesses what has worked out, and what didn’t work out and can take necessary adjustments. 

You may be involved in tweaking keywords, changing technical SEO tactics, and revising content strategies. 

Executing content through content sprints and regular reviews will truly crown content as king.

You can learn from the outcomes at each sprint and iteratively enhance performance.

User-centric approach

After the continuous review and assessment of feedback and user behavior, tactics are aligned more closely with search intent and needs, leading to better conversion rates and better engagement. 

Data-driven decision-making

Agile SEO depends heavily on data for guiding decisions. 

Regular  assessment of the metrics such as rankings, conversion rates, traffic, and bounce rates turns to inform the direction of SEO efforts, to make sure they are result-oriented and evidence-based. 

Responsiveness and flexibility

Agile SEO has the capability for a quicker response to external changes like shifts in user behavior, algorithm updates, or emerging trends. 

The tactics remain competitive and effective across time. 

Transparency and collaboration 

The Agile approach promotes client collaboration and open communication within the team, and with stakeholders. 

Regular updates and meetings make sure that every member is aligned with the challenges, progress, and goals of SEO fostering an inclusive and transparent work environment. 


Agile SEO takes on a collaborative environment with cross-functional teams working together. 

Agile leadership encourages teamwork, at every spring, and breaks the process into manageable sprints, enabling the team to craft better products faster. 

The teams have complete control of each phase of SEO projects, with the project owner and scrum master taking the lead. 

But also, the team has the specific authority in the project work implementation. 

For instance, if the project focuses on digital marketing, the team must have PPC, conversion rate optimization skills, SEO, analytics skills, and more. 


Agile SEO is more responsive and adaptable to SEO tactics based on feedback and real-time data. It becomes adaptable to the changing market conditions and frequently updating algorithms of Google than the traditional SEO. 

Flexible responsiveness to change paves to welcome adjustments to the SEO strategies even in the late stages. 

Hence, the method prioritizes value delivery to the user and continuous progress, making it a more sensible ever-changing digital landscape. 

The focus is on time-boxing and delivering value-driven products towards customers.

The general principles of this agile SEO method are 

  • Timeboxing- breaking down the project into small units called sprints. 
  • Lean development – the focus is on the end product and work efforts are undertaken for making it simple. 
  • End-user involvement- every work undertaken as per the client’s requirements. 
  • Flexibility: define how changes could be brought out in framework, design, requirement, and deliverables. 
  • Testing of SEO tasks- occurs at the end of every defined project phase. 

Since it is highly flexible and adaptable, new features can be added to the project


 Faster results, increased responsiveness to change, and continuous improvement.

User-focused approach

The Agile method provides a user-focused approach by employing regular feedback from clients, and stakeholders, putting forth user stories to give a high-value brand and ideal user experience. 

Improved customer satisfaction

Encourages constant feedback at every sprint, aligning the end product with customer requirements and needs, growing customer satisfaction. 

Improved collaboration and transparency

One of the Agile principles states, “Business people and the developers should work together throughout the project.”

This strengthens collaboration and maximizes transparency. 

Many agile frameworks such as Scrum, promote cross-functionality with the team for enhancing collaboration better. 

Faster releases

With this project management approach, sprints are time-constrained, leading to fast launch and also maintaining the end product quality. 

Opting for SEO sprints brings out numerous merits like measurable results, cost efficiency, and better management of project goals.

SEO sprints are put on a quick track for success while indexing and ranking are harnessed by search engines. 

Cost efficiency

The sprint approach helps us allocate resources strategically, focusing on high-impact areas first for quick, measurable outcomes. We also gain by reducing wasted time on low-yield activities or trial-and-error methods standard with traditional SEO retainers.

The agile phenomenon ensures each cent contributes to achieving the KPIs, if it boosts keyword rankings of organic traffic. 

Sprint’s approach assists in allocating the resources strategically, concentrating on high-impact areas first for quick outcomes. 

Thus it propounds a cost-effective avenue to increase ROI and drive growth without draining the budget. 



Requires adaptability and collaboration, might not be suitable for long-term planning.

Lack of control 

In comparison to the waterfall model, this agile approach offers structure to the product development process.

Agile is autonomous. The dynamic nature of agile workflow removes authority from project managers, making them have a lack of control feel over the SEO process. 

Costly and time-consuming

Training agile teams could be time-consuming and expensive without a proper software like SEOScrum.

Insufficient training is one of the most general causes of failure in agile management. 

Key Differences: Agile SEO vs Traditional SEO

Traditional SEOAgile SEO
ApproachWaterfallIterative (flexible)
FocusLong-term planning, keyword researchContinuous testing, data-driven decisions
TeamworkSiloed TeamsCollaborative teams
Timeline and Works
Work more extended time as it works on all areas of SEO, and some critical tasks may not be completed. 

SEO sprints generate rapid results as they work for a short time for each task. Beneficial for small businesses with constrained budgets. 
Task priority In traditional SEO, multiple tasks are carried out simultaneously. 

The focus on the next project objective, once the targeted aim is attained. High-priority tasks are finished first. 
Process handledProcess is not well-defined, as it typically indulges a mix of various SEO practices such as backlinking, content optimization, and keyword research without strict sequential steps. 

Sprints consist of well-defined steps such as Foundation, content, and Link-building. This structure makes sure that these actions are taken based on data-driven insights. 

DeliverablesLarge-scale projectsbite-sized, smaller projects
BenefitsComprehensive analysis, thoroughnessContinuous improvement, rapid results
ShortcomingsSlow response to changes, inflexibilityMay not be suitable for long-term planning, requires adaptability 
Adaptability SlowQuick 
Budget allocation The budget planned for this kind of project using the waterfall method, is commonly fixed. As the project is determined right from start to end, there is less space to modify the budget mid-project Agile approach welcomes changes and encourages experimentation even in the later project phases. Due to this, the budget tends to be highly flexible. 
Client involvement The Project course is outlined from starting to the end phase, hence amalgamating the client feedback is not the ongoing part of the process. In every development step, the client is entirely involved.  As they traverse to different phases, feedback is given for improvement or changes.  
Monitoring and tracking processesFrequent status reviews are carried to assess the development. The status SEO reports are sent to the team. The monthly/ weekly report’s data with their status are shared with the team periodically. You can monitor the progress. 
At every sprint, progress is measured. The sprint reports are performed and handled to the team and clients. Through a demo of the SEO sprints, you can track the progress of the project at every sprint and retrospective phase.  .
Analysis of feasibility Takes a long time to assess cost and benefits to check if the plan is operationally, technically, and financially achievable. 
Less time, for you can contact clients in the first project stages and settle down with the task details and requirements. 
Planning processYou can track the formulated plan for the project beginning, for the entire project’s progress, and cannot make changes. 

Once the outline is developed, planning happens ongoing, as the team works on an active sprint. Changing the plan is allowed, however, you cannot add new requirements to this active sprint. 
Agile SEO vs Traditional SEO

The agile manifesto states, “Our highest priority is in satisfying the customer by continuous and early delivery of valuable software.”

Choosing the right approach

Which project management method will work relies on your organization. Before you choose this, you have to clearly define what SEO goals you plan. 

If you’re in a competitive industry and ought to bring out new features in the shortest time possible, Scrum might be the ideal framework for you. 

However, if you’re working on a long-term complex project, comprising various specifications, a highly controlled approach like the traditional waterfall model may be better suited for your agency or a firm. 

Agile SEO focuses on visualizing and optimizing workflow efficiency, effective in situations where continuous progress and flexibility are paramount. 

There are different factors for consideration if you’re choosing between the waterfall model and the agile approach.

Settling smart with your project plans

Does your project need strict requirements or regulations?

The waterfall approach is better suited for SEO projects having certain needs and regulations since every phase’s deliverables and the strict procedures make sure that they are met. 

While you choose agile or waterfall, consider how involved the project owners or site owners are in the project. In Agile the stakeholders are closely involved in each step of the way whereas this waterfall is a more structured project management method and does not lend flexibility. 

If your project’s flow is rapidly changing with requirements, and a high degree of uncertainty then agile is a better fit for those projects. 

The waterfall model is a better fitting approach for projects having well-defined requirements and a clear end goal. 

Your preferences and your team’s experience must be considered while you take the decision for your SEO projects. 

Some agencies also adopt a hybrid approach, integrating the elements of agile and traditional methods. 

Even if you choose whatever model, regularly ensure your demands and make an effort to adapt the approach to increase the effectiveness in the ever-evolving SEO landscape. 

You pick out the right approach based on the SEO requirements….!

Bottom line 

After you opt for the best method as per your business needs and preferences, the use of tools helps businesses to effectively grow their online traffic by measuring the success of the present SEO strategy and tweaking it on the fly. 

It may take little time to gain the results, and they do tend to come faster but it delivers serious benefits for your business in the longer term, basically, it builds you a platform for continued growth in conversion rates, organic traffic, and rankings. 

If you’d like to learn more about a smarter way to market your business, you can choose our scrum-based SEO agency software to tell you more…and help to seize your goals quickly!

Arun Andiselvam

As a serial entrepreneur, I have successfully established five brands over the past 12 years. After creating a successful rank tracker for SEO agencies, I am currently dedicated to developing the world's first SEO Project Management software.