3 Simple Ways to Explain SEO to Decision Makers

Woman presenting data to an executive.
You know you need to take your company’s organic search marketing to the next level. And you also know that there’s going to be a lot of questions about SEO, what’s involved and its value.

It may also be the case you’re dealing with a non-technical bunch, who will be thoroughly confused if you bombard them with too many details.

So, here are three pointers as you approach decision makers who may not know about SEO.

First, Explain What SEO Is

We’re talking high level here, no need to go into optimization strategies at first. Keep it simple.

For example:

“SEO improves a website so that it performs better in the search engine results (meaning showing up on page one). The benefit of this is to generate more traffic to the website. The goal is ultimately to make more revenue for the company by capturing and converting leads coming from the search results.”

Our Free Executive’s Guide to SEO is a great tool to help you explain SEO. It’s a free video training course geared towards executives and other decision makers that teaches fundamental SEO concepts in under one hour. I recommend sharing it with anyone who would benefit from learning how SEO works at a high level.

Don’t be tempted to go into too much detail about how it actually works. But you can put any concerns to rest about whether SEO is trickery.

Briefly explain that good SEO practices actually help search engines because they want to rank only the best websites on page one of the search results. And if you have a website that is helpful to search engines and people, you have a better chance to rank.

If they still don’t understand how more traffic to the website can mean more revenue, you can explain what leads and conversions are online.

For instance, you can talk about how once someone gets to your website from the search results, they can do things like:

  • Sign up for an email list
  • Download content
  • View a video
  • Request a service quote
  • Buy a service or product
  • Subscribe to a service

While some of those actions require some nurturing to get a sale, the end goal is the sale. Be sure to clarify that SEO’s main goal is to drive traffic to the website, then the website and the company is responsible for converting those leads.

Remember that if you are working with an SEO expert, they should be able to advise you on things like how to convert more leads on the website.

For more tips, I suggest reading:

Next, Show How SEO Aligns with Key Business Initiatives

Whatever those big initiatives are, show decision makers how SEO can support them.

For example, maybe your company is looking at additional revenue streams, wanting to cut costs in marketing, needing to differentiate the company from the competition or redesigning the outdated website.

You could show them:

  • How SEO could increase visibility for your business online when launching new products or services.
  • How SEO can ultimately decrease the cost of marketing if you can get rid of some of your advertising costs.
  • How you can use the right SEO content to differentiate your company from the rest.
  • How SEO should be a part of any website redesign so that it does not inadvertently hinder organic search traffic.

At the very minimum, you will want to show how SEO can reach your target audience in new ways.

For more tips, I suggest reading:

Finally, Talk About What Sort of Results They Can See

There are far too many factors at play in organic search to promise any specific outcome. (Even though the decision makers may want you to.) It will be helpful here to set the stage for how to think about SEO.

You can explain that organic search is a highly competitive space. Without a website that is streamlined for both search engines and website visitors, and without content that demonstrates expertise and authority, you don’t even have a chance to show up on page one.

With those things at play, however, you do. You have a chance.

It is also helpful for decision makers to know that their competition is already surpassing them in the search results and reaping the rewards of traffic – the same traffic you could be benefitting from.

The longer you wait to get in the game, the further ahead the competition can get. That makes it even harder to pass them.

(You may have to briefly explain how your online competition is likely different from your market competition because online, your competitors are those vying for visibility for specific search queries.)

You may have to deal with some pushback – if it’s so competitive why even bother? This is where you can start to talk about potential results.

While generic data will not prove the outcome of your SEO program, you can come with research that shows what other websites have experienced when they do SEO. You might even tap into your network and ask for case studies or anecdotes about their experiences with SEO.

Analytics chart showing organic traffic gains on a Bruce Clay Inc. client’s website.
Analytics chart showing organic traffic gains on a Bruce Clay Inc. client’s website

Arm yourself with industry data as well. I like this research from BrightEdge that shows:

  • The organic search share of traffic to a website is more than 50% on average across all industries. (Translation: The organic search channel represents a huge opportunity over all other channels – but you have to make sure you’re getting the right traffic and converting those leads.)
  • B2B companies generate two-times more revenue from organic search than any other channel.

Dig around to find out industry data that aligns with your company, whether it’s B2B, B2C or local. Because potential results will always be a question from decision-makers.

For more tips, read:

At the end of the day, explaining SEO to decision makers means putting yourself in their shoes. Then, keep your presentation simple and aligned with what matters to them.

If you need some backup explaining SEO to your organization and getting them on board, our team of experts can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn or through the BruceClay.com website.

See Bruce's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (3)
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Still on the hunt for actionable tips and insights? Each of these recent SEO posts is better than the last!

3 Replies to “3 Simple Ways to Explain SEO to Decision Makers”

Hi, it’s a great tutorial . Thanks for sharing it .

Great way to communicate

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