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 that 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 to 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 into 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 up 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 for 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.

FAQ: How can I effectively explain the concept of SEO to decision-makers and showcase its value for our business?

Search Engine Optimization should be understood by decision-makers so as to maximize its potential. SEO involves the science and art of optimizing websites to appear higher on search engine results pages — leading to increased organic traffic and, ultimately, revenue streams.

To effectively convey the value of SEO to decision-makers, begin by highlighting its tangible benefits. By securing a spot on the coveted first page of search engine results, your business gains unprecedented exposure to potential customers actively seeking your products or services. Furthermore, investing in SEO showcases a commitment to staying ahead in a competitive market, which resonates powerfully with decision-makers concerned with long-term success.

It’s important to address the concerns decision-makers may have about the technicalities of SEO. Focus on the broader picture, emphasizing that while intricate strategies exist, a high-level understanding is sufficient initially. Describe how SEO’s core principles align with key business initiatives, such as launching new products or services, reducing marketing costs, and standing out in a crowded digital landscape.

Guide decision-makers through the journey of comprehending SEO’s impact on website performance. Explain how optimized websites attract search engines and create a user-friendly experience, contributing to higher conversion rates. This holistic approach solidifies the idea that SEO is an investment in the overall online success of the business.

Incorporate experiential insights by narrating a real-life success story. Share how a company, similar to the decision-makers, leveraged SEO to witness a substantial increase in organic traffic, leading to a significant boost in revenue. Such anecdotes reinforce the notion that SEO isn’t a mere buzzword; it’s a strategic tool with measurable outcomes.

Articulating the concept of SEO to decision-makers requires a blend of simplified explanations and compelling insights. By focusing on tangible benefits, addressing concerns, and sharing success stories, you position SEO as a pivotal component of the business’s growth strategy. Armed with this understanding, decision-makers can confidently embrace the power of SEO and steer the business toward digital prominence.

Step-by-Step Procedure: Explaining SEO’s Value to Decision-Makers

  1. Understand Your Audience: Analyze the decision-makers backgrounds and priorities to tailor your explanation effectively.
  2. Start with the Basics: Introduce SEO as the practice of optimizing online visibility to attract potential customers.
  3. Highlight Business Relevance: Emphasize how SEO directly supports key business goals and initiatives.
  4. Focus on Benefits: Explain the direct correlation between higher search rankings and increased organic traffic.
  5. Share Success Stories: Narrate case studies showcasing how SEO led to remarkable business growth.
  6. Address Concerns: Tackle potential reservations by discussing the broader impact of SEO rather than diving into technical details.
  7. User Experience Matters: Describe how SEO aligns with creating a user-friendly website that converts visitors into customers.
  8. Long-Term Strategy: Illustrate how SEO isn’t a one-time effort but a sustainable strategy for continuous growth.
  9. Leverage Industry Data: Incorporate relevant statistics to substantiate the importance of SEO in today’s digital landscape.
  10. Highlight Competition: Emphasize how effective SEO helps the business outshine competitors in search results.
  11. Investment Mindset: Position SEO as a smart investment with substantial returns over time.
  12. Share Practical Insights: Offer tips for decision-makers to grasp the core SEO concepts easily.
  13. Demonstrate ROI: Discuss how SEO generates revenue through increased online visibility.
  14. Holistic Approach: Explain how SEO influences various aspects of online presence, from content to user experience.
  15. Link to Business Objectives: Showcase how SEO aligns with specific business objectives, such as product launches or cost reduction.
  16. Quantify Results: Present data-driven examples of how SEO has boosted revenue for similar businesses.
  17. Clear Communication: Use simple language and relatable metaphors to enhance understanding.
  18. Address Timeframe: Set realistic expectations about the time required to see significant SEO-driven results.
  19. Encourage Collaboration: Suggest involving experts who can guide the implementation and monitoring of SEO strategies.
  20. Continuous Learning: Emphasize that SEO is an evolving field, and decision-makers should stay informed to harness its full potential.

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.

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

This article provides some great tips for showing decision makers how SEO can align with important business goals. I like how it emphasizes the need to provide specific examples and research to back up your claims.

Useful tips, aligning seo with key business objectives and explaining how you’ll measure results is key.

It’s an interesting post. Love to read all of Bruce Clay’s blogs.

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

Great way to communicate


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