Last week I had a great chat with a few SEO peers about communicating. SEOs, like other niche professionals, usually speak a unique language. Where some developers (for example) usually have a client facing filter, SEOs often have to speak to business folk directly. That means an SEO needs to practice communication. Yes, practice!
A good, ethical SEO knows that nothing in this space is an absolute guarantee – no more than a lawyer can guarantee a win in court. But a good business person is bred to get as close to a "sure thing" as possible. For this reason, SEO can still be a hard sell despite articles being published every day about its importance. It’s vital that the ethical SEO go into a first meeting (or pitch) with this knowledge and an open mind. Time to listen, learn, and ultimately educate.
Sometimes taking it to the kindergarten level helps in learning a new language. It doesn’t matter how smart someone is as a business man – Spanish or French should still be taught first as a 101. So should SEO! So when broaching this, I find the analogies help a lot.
One of my favorite analogies
Think of SEO like racing. To win a race, not only does the car need to consistently be upgraded (aka optimized), but many factors need to be analyzed routinely like track builds, track conditions, talent of driver and pit crew, talent of competitors.
So let’s imagine you are a team owner. You implement an expensive, cutting edge exhaust system on your best car. You notice in your trials that the car clocked better, but you still didn’t win that week’s race. OK, can’t win them all! Next week you install a new suspension, but again lost the race. Worse, your competition still beat you soundly without the two optimizations you have. Uh oh. Some of your team starts to get frustrated and confused. Theories and options are flying. Chaos level rising!
But you do the right thing. You keep buying, trying, testing, and removing optimizations. You watch your competitors and study their moves for inspiration, but you don’t worry. You stay on target. Suddenly, towards the middle of the season something happens. You start placing in the top 5. The points and rewards (money) you’re receiving is slowly starting to add up. Chaos level lowering!
Eventually you start winning. Your wins offset all your losses with a healthy margin of revenue leftover to enjoy. But it’s important you think about next season, and your next level of racing. New technology will arise. New track conditions, new team members for both you and your competitors, and a hundred other factors will need your monitoring. Don’t sit still just because you’re winning – if you don’t stick with it, you’re going to fall behind again. You can’t afford to do that after all your investments.