Four and a Half Tips to Get Your Boss to Care About SEO

Search engine optimization is very quickly becoming an emerging industry and the source of success of many businesses large and small alike. Unfortunately, not all management staff recognizes this. Whether you’re already running SEO as a part of your business’ marketing efforts, or just recognize the need for a dedicated SEO specialist in order to aid in the success of your business, here are some tips that will get your formerly uninterested boss excited and ready to invest more in SEO strategies.

1. Show Them Your Competitors Are Investing in SEO

When it comes to most people, there’s always a desire to “keep up with the Joneses” in terms of success and material wealth. For business men and women this is no different, and perhaps even more true. Therefore, a great way of convincing your boss or manager the importance of upping the investment in SEO is to show the results that competitors are having in the business.

You don’t even need to rely on a verbal argument, if you are really losing the SEO war, it’s as simple as bringing up Google and searching for targeted keywords for your demographic and showing how your competitors are coming out on top. Likewise, showing them how your competitors are ranking above you in AdWords can be another piece of evidence that demonstrates how you’re losing the battle.

1b. OR Show Them There’s a Gap That Your Competitors Aren’t Fulfilling

Alternatively, if your competition isn’t dominating the search engine rankings, then another argument to make to your boss is very clear — there’s an opening for that top ranking spot in your area that no one has. Likewise, it’s easy to demonstrate that a potential customer might search for keywords, but if there’s no nearby or applicable businesses, they’ll turn elsewhere. If you’re the only business in the area ranking in the search engines though, then you’re golden. Again, management always wants to stay ahead of the competition so if you can get a headstart in reaching out to potential customers using SEO, any intelligent management staff should be glad to enhance that campaign.

2. Show Them Their Investment is Valuable

At the end of the day, the job of a boss or CEO is to make their business more profitable. If you can show them that an investment in SEO is a valuable addition to the company, then your boss is much more likely to be open to an overhaul and additional commitment to investing in your SEO efforts. Additionally, there are many statistics out there that show that SEO has one of the highest ROIs for businesses when done correctly. These statistics can certainly push perception of SEO in your favor. However, it’s also a good idea to explain the importance of SEO as a narrative, telling the tale of how this poorly converting and low ranked site became one of the local powerhouses in their field due to SEO can be a convincing argument to show the merits of SEO in the business.

3. Explain That It’s More Than Just SEO

A practical and open boss, manager or CEO will recognize that there’s more to a business than just having a good product or service; it’s important to have advertising, marketing, customer service, and brand loyalty, to just name a few aspects of running a successful business. With this in mind, when less open or knowledgeable bosses turn down any convincing arguments you make towards SEO, you need to explain that it’s not just search engine optimization you’re doing, but enhancing multiple aspects of your company’s business. In general, a good SEO campaign goes hand-in-hand with improving user experience by streamlining web design, creating content for users, and making your business more visible and accessible to customers.

Ultimately, websites tend to better in the search engines when they are appealing to human customers, and not to robots or programs built to analyze websites. Therefore, SEO doesn’t just enhance search engine results, it enhances overall user experience. When you explain that SEO isn’t just “getting to #1” in the search engines and has many more benefits and applications beyond that simple metric (which, we should mention, can still be important!) your boss will be much more understanding of the importance and benefits a well-run SEO campaign can do for your business.

4. Explain Confusing and Important Metrics to Your Boss

In many cases, in order to convince your boss that your SEO strategy is working, you’ll have to provide reports of your analytics and how you’re improving the profits of the company. Furthermore, if your boss doesn’t care about SEO (which is why you’re here), then the odds are that he or she doesn’t understand much about SEO in the first place. With this in mind, it’s important to ensure that your boss understands the metrics you’re presenting in reports to him or her. If they don’t adequately understand, this can make an unconvincing argument for committing more time and budget to SEO practices.

For example, your reports might show that your site has a decrease in traffic after you do a major SEO overhaul. This might be construed by management as the new site turning people away or poor results on your behalf. However, in reality, things like decreased traffic might indicate that you’ve enhanced the site and eliminated a non-converting demographic to your site, which would actually mean that the search engines are better representing and pulling in customers with the intention of purchasing from you. Facts like these should be stressed to your boss, and explain the importance of increased conversion rates, lowered bounce rates and other important metrics, so they have a better understanding of your success.

Ricardo Casas is the CEO and founder of Fahrenheit Marketing LLC, an Austin, Texas based internet marketing firm. With over a decade of experience in the industry, Casas understands the importance of a good SEO campaign in order to make a business successful in 2013.

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Search Engine Veteran - Enterprise SEO & Small Business Entrepreneurs. Advisor to startups for pre-launch optimization SEO Audits & consulting.