You already know that you need the help of an SEO consultant, but your boss just doesn’t seem to get it. You can see the opportunity and the trends. You know the competition is tearing up the search results and you understand that you’re lagging behind – but thus far, conversations about SEO have been fruitless and frustrating.
Maybe you’ve been delegated to “do the SEO” and management treats it as though it’s as simple as putting on a pot of coffee. Or, perhaps your boss just doesn’t get why the business should invest in SEO when other channels are working “just fine”.
How can you get leadership on board with the idea of bringing in some SEO help?
1. Speak Their Language
Your boss probably doesn’t speak “internet”. Phrases like “link juice”, “canonical tags”, “inbound marketing” or even “organic rankings” will probably fly over their head. Instead, frame your arguments through the lens of business terminology: ROI, market share, revenue, competitive advantage, lead nurturing – the words that will have their ears burning instead of their eyes glazing.
When you absolutely need to use SEO terminology, always take the time to offer a brief explanation to keep their heads in the game.
Use visuals as often as possible! Heavy concepts are made lighter when they can see graphs and charts showing lost opportunities and potential revenues.
2. Start with the Opportunity
The best way to get leadership to see the light is to show them the dollars they’re not capturing.
- If you’ve got access to your Google Analytics, show your boss where traffic is (or isn’t) coming from. Demonstrate where visitors are losing interest or getting stuck and explain that with some work, you could be generating more leads and making more sales.
- Run a quick rankings report (or check manually) to see the gaps in your current online visibility. For added impact, ask your boss to name a few terms he feels would be important to your business and search for these live on-the-spot. Frame it through the lens of market share – these are discussions and seats at the deal table that your business isn’t a part of.
- Communicate the value of a visible brand: To consumers, the companies on the first page are the best in the industry. Those who aren’t on the first page are essentially invisible no matter how well-known they are offline.
- Present SEO as an amplifier for your other marketing. Consumers are more likely to search for your brand online after hearing an ad or seeing a billboard. This isn’t just a “new channel”, it’s a way to be relevant to the way customers make purchasing decisions.
3. Talk up the Competition
If there’s one thing business owners hate, it’s losing out to their competitors. Show your boss who the dominant players in the space are and demonstrate the way they’re using SEO to succeed online.
- Show snapshots of rankings results where the competition is on the first page and you’re nowhere to be found.
- Use tools like Ahrefs or Open Site Explorer to show your boss the big difference in the number of links and social mentions between you and your savvy competition.
- Give a couple quick examples of ways the competition has used SEO – whether that’s guiding their content, changing their title tags or doing some creative outreach. This helps make the strategy real to management, but also helps them realize that SEO is not just tech voodoo done in a few minutes.
- Explain that the longer you wait to get on board, the further behind your company will be when you inevitably do come on board.
4. Demonstrate the Complexity of the Job… in a Simple Way.
This one is important for those who have been told to “Do the SEO” on their own.
Crucial to earning your boss’ buy-in is showing them that SEO is more than just keywords and title tags. The onus is on you to prove that SEO is an evolving, professional discipline that takes specific expertise and a serious time commitment to master.
Instead of telling them things are complex, show it to them with visuals that won’t overwhelm.
- Mention that there are at least 200 known factors Google takes into account for rankings
- Hand them a printout of Google’s search highlights from last year, explaining that the average month saw at least 40 different updates.
- Display visuals of how different Google’s results pages looked just a few years ago compared to now.
- Explain how much of a demand SEO is on your time – especially if your job has several other important demands. This is especially important if you have other mission-critical job functions that they expect you to accomplish.
5. Do Your Homework on Vendors
Even if management recognizes a problem, they may be hesitant to trust a third-party vendor with their online brand. Invest the time and effort into finding a reputable SEO agency with a proven history and transparent processes.
Show your boss that not everyone in the SEO business is a fly-by-night operation and that you have a credible vendor in mind worthy of their trust.
Send Out the S.O.S!
If you’re overwhelmed trying to manage SEO in-house or your business is still spinning its wheels on getting going, starting a dialogue on SEO can be the first step towards more leads, a stronger brand and less hair-pulling.
Go in armed and ready for the conversation so you can prove the need, explain the challenges, contrast the competition and get the buy-in you need to move forward!