Search engine optimization can seem like an alien concept to those unfamiliar with it, and one of the biggest struggles for marketers tasked with adopting search engine marketing is explaining the concept to a boss or client who is brand new to SEO.
There's no doubt that SEO is a complex and ever-evolving marketing process - so how do you go about communicating how it works and why it's important?
Here are three actionable tips professionals can use to explain SEO to their boss or client.
Tell them it's about humans, not bots
When someone dives into SEO for the first time, they might feel intimidated by the mention of search bots and algorithms, and wonder why these things are being favored over marketing to real humans.
But the thing is, SEO is for humans.
Google uses bots and algorithms to help humans discover content most valuable to them, and we, in-turn, need to create human-friendly experiences and content to succeed.
Tell your boss or client that by adopting SEO strategies, they'll also be working on giving their customers a better experience with their brand or business, which is always a positive step.
Provide simple examples of SEO techniques
Link profiles, algorithm updates, on-page and off-page ranking factors, metadata, keywords, semantic search. These things might all make sense to you, but it's nonsense to the uninitiated. Don't hit your boss or client with a bunch of technical terms. Instead, go back to basics, such as:
"When a website links to your own, it helps Google to know what your site is about and that it has useful information.
"Google looks at the actual words on a web page, as well as information built into your site that can't be seen by human users, to understand what the page is about."
"Keywords are words or phrases humans type into Google to find what they're looking for on the web."
Break everything down into simple, accessible concepts, which not only explain what it is, but why it works.
As their knowledge grows, you'll find it easier to describe the more complex aspects of SEO to them.
Give them a brief history
For those of us who've worked in the industry for some time, it's easy to understand the value of SEO because we've been a part of it while it has evolved. We understand the purpose behind new algorithm changes and can appreciate why some SEO tactics are more valuable than others. For someone without this knowledge, it can be more difficult to wrap their head around why and how SEO works.
Bubblegum Search have created this short, sharp interactive timeline on the history of SEO, and it's the perfect place for beginners to get up to speed on why SEO exists and how it has grown into what it is today.