Thursday, 8 May 2008

How to Brief Your Boss About SEO

Let's say you work for a company whose website isn't performing too well. You know the site needs the TLC of an SEO expert but you can't find the words to explain to your boss exactly why the company should hire one.

Getting Her Attention

Most bosses understand their company's bottom line. With that in mind your opening gambit should be something like this.

"Our website hasn't been set up correctly and it's costing us money"

There are two reasons why this is likely to have the desired effect.

  1. You stated something is costing the company money - this pushes buttons
  2. You stated something that's been paid for, the website, isn't right - so does this

Having grabbed her attention you need to give her the information in simple bite sized chunks. There's no need to go into any technical detail whatsoever, you've got her and you can't risk losing her.

The On Page Stuff

Many people get horribly confused about on page SEO because it involves some HTML mark-up and some weird sounding thing called meta data. The thing is, you don't need to talk about any of that. On page SEO can be summed up very simply, and here goes.

"Our web pages haven't been written and presented in a way that search engines like Google can easily understand and this means people are not finding our pages when they search for the products and services we offer."

That pretty much covers on page SEO. There's no need to go into any more detail.

Keyword Research

Although you've hopefully got the message across with respect to the on page optimisation you may want to reinforce this with a few words about the actual content of the pages. Keyword research is another area of SEO that confuses people with it's KEI's and long tails. By the way, have you seen this new seed keywords research tool? Again, a few simple words is all that's needed. Try this.

"Not only have our pages not been put together properly but the words that have been used are also wrong. It's possible to find out what people type into search engines and we should make sure our pages use these words."

Link Building

OK, so you've established the website's content isn't up to much but we also need to get across the idea that the site needs others to link to it if it's going to get to work for the business. You also need to talk about link quality, a link isn't just a link. Try this.

"There aren't many other websites linking to ours and this is bad news. When another site links to us, especially a good site, the search engines regard the link as a vote of confidence in our site. If we get lots of good votes our site will show up more in the search engines."

Measuring It All

Finally you need to impress upon your boss that none of the above needs to be guess work and it's very easy to measure the impact of doing it. This should be an easy sell because this is where you put your money where your mouth is, or your job on the line!

"The good news is this is all fixable and we can measure the effect of fixing it."

That's it. A really simple SEO pitch any boss can understand. Let's re-cap and stitch it all together.

The Full Pitch

"Our website hasn't been set up correctly and it's costing us money"

Pause while your boss stops what she's doing and gives you her attention.

"Our web pages haven't been written and presented in a way that search engines like Google can easily understand and this means people are not finding our pages when they search for the products and services we offer."

Very short pause then....

"Not only have our pages not been put together properly but the words that have been used are also wrong. It's possible to find out what people type into search engines and we should make sure our pages use these words."

Another short pause....

"Also, there aren't many other websites linking to ours and this is bad news. When another site links to us, especially a good site, the search engines regard the link as a vote of confidence in our site. If we get lots of good votes our site will show up more in the search engines."

And now the bit where you put your head on the block....

"The good news is this is all fixable and we can measure the effect of fixing it."

Fear and Greed

Finally, if you need to deal the killer blow before you rest your case try this.

"Our competitors are doing this stuff, if we don't we are leaving ourselves exposed."

TTFN

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More in this category: General SEO, SEO Basics