If you have been working in SEO for a certain period of time, you surely are accustomed to a whole world of clients, bosses and prospective investors not understanding or appreciating what you do. The 2.5 billion lines of code that make Google a multi-billion dollar industry also creates an intricate series of tests and checks to keep its name as the best search engine in the world. Your role in SEO can make or break the company you are working for, but quite often you will find those around you unable to understand the importance of what you do.
A simple way I have found is to use interactive metaphors to explain what exactly you do. People love stories, and if you can communicate your purpose better, it makes your work a lot easier.
One of my favorite ways of explaining SEO is through hurdle races. I tell my client that as the search engine optimizer, I represent the website on an online race with other similar websites. Google creates a series of tests and checks, and it is my job to bypass them before others and reach the top of the page when my target audience searches for a product I sell.
When you talk to your colleagues about spiders, crawling, redirects and fan girl over the incredible links you managed to get, it feels amazing. But people who do not work in your field will not be able to appreciate the intricacies of what you do, which is why it is important for you to communicate your interests to them in simpler terms.
When you are pitching ideas and plans, don’t just go for the questions but tell them why you want to do what you propose.
Here are some golden rules to make it easier for you to pitch your SEO ideas to those who don’t understand the logistics of it.
Remember, you are the SEO expert, not them. Spiders and Crawling don’t mean the same thing to them as they do to you. It’s not just limited to SEO, every field has its own terminology which makes working and functioning a lot easier. However, when you are pitching an idea outside, you must remember to keep the technical terms as far away as possible. Even if you have to use certain words, make sure you explain what it means- and do it without sounding patronizing!
While SEO is a part of your job, you will have to work alongside people from marketing- who are not familiar with the problems or the solutions you are proposing. So make sure you explain not only what you want to do, but also why you want to do it. For example, when you want to explain why you use canonical- remember to tell them how it helps and why your project needs it. Patiently explain the basic terms of SEO to your audience, trust me you’ll find it a lot easier to communicate with them in the future.
Remember They Need To Know The WHY More Than The HOW.
A lot of work done in SEO is invisible to the world. Most people don’t know it exists, and those who know it does don’t know what difference what you do makes.
So it’s critical that you not only tell them what your role is.
For instance- maybe you want to emphasize on featured snippets in search results. That seems like a pretty straightforward goal to you but for someone who has no idea about SEO that makes just about zero sense. If they don’t understand why they will think you are wasting your effort on something that makes no sense to them. So stop for a second and explain to them how going after featured snippets will allow you to own more of the SERPs which can potentially hike up your visibility levels.
Or suppose, you might be spending some time identifying pages to redirect because you found google search console filled with crawl errors. Your colleagues might give you heat because those pages are long gone and have no significance for them.
Take a deep breath and regain your composure. Then tell them you might find in those pages traffic and authority which you could tap into and benefit the website. It will go a longer way than pushing jargon on their faces.
Learn To Tailor Information According To Your Audience.
How much information you present depends entirely on who you are explaining it to. You must shape your priorities and explanations according to your audience, or else you will not be able to sell your skills effectively.
If you are talking to someone from IT, give them details of the tech work you are doing. List the bugs you want to fix to give a boost to search visibility.
At the same time, a person from marketing would appreciate a lot more if you told them the methods you were employed to attract the target audience to your website. Give them specifications of your content marketing campaign, and watch them eagerly listening to your words.
Finally, when you are talking to someone from the management and executive board, cut out on all details about the smaller plans. Stay mum about the content marketing strategies and the bug fixes alike. Just confidently chalk down the predicted impact of your SEO on their company profile and you will have them glued to their seats.
So, what’s the drill?
Don’t directly show your plans to someone, make the effort to identify where they are coming from and which part of your work would they be interested in it.
When approaching a member of the board, you could focus on the wide range of opportunities, inform them of the expenditures needed and send them detailed reports of the same.
If however, you are meeting the developers-feel free to go into the technical implementations and their role making the site more search friendly. At the end of the day, just talk to the people based on their job interests, and you are good.
Weave A Narrative From Your Data
Reporting raw data facts, just plain numbers might be the most efficient method for you, but for the others, it might not feel the same. Learn how to tell stories through your SEO data, explain the impact of what is happening by pinpointing real-world consequences rather than just numbers.
You can use visual reports and dashboards, simplifying SEO and telling a remarkable story through it.
This, of course, does not mean you keep barraging the viewer with contextless graphs. Keep a stable mixture of visual aids and narratives, helping you focus on few critical metrics. Ultimately you use simple graphics designing within a context to promote your SEO performance.
Always Back Your Words Up
A golden rule of working in SEO is documenting in detail everything you do. You must create weekly reports and documentation, keeping as much evidence of your services as possible. As it is a relatively complicated and intangible field, it is important to know what and why we are doing whatever we are doing.
For instance, if you had planned to conduct say a competitor research that Would improve your website- immediately make a report that chalks out your research findings You could create spreadsheets, reports, and documents that push your work out in the open. Last but not the least, every month maintain a report that shows your progress. Make sure the report is not automated but has contexts corresponding to the technicalities and emphasizes on some clear wins.
Lastly, Keep Working On It
Communicating is such a process that it gets better over time. The more clients you approach, the more bosses you learn to pitch your idea to- the better you will get at it. At the end of the day communicating SEO work is not a one day task. It is a way of making life easier, for you and for your clients and contemporaries.