In today’s world, where almost everything has become digital or at least has a digital version, search engines have grown in both importance and popularity. It is where people find information. It is where people try to find solutions. It is where people find products and places. This growing value of search engines is the reason why many online marketers espouse the importance of search engine optimization (SEO). But not everyone is convinced that SEO is the way to go when it comes to marketing businesses online.
For someone who works in the marketing department of a corporation, the SEO non-believer could be the boss who refuses to set aside even a small part of the company’s budget for SEO activities. For the SEO professional who works independently or for an SEO firm, the non-believer could be a potential client who refuses to shell out even a penny to optimize his company’s website. Count yourself lucky if you’ve never met any of these individuals. If you had, then you may have noticed how they continue to disregard SEO even after you’ve shown them solid proof of its value.
So, if they’re really that difficult to crack, what can you do to finally convince them that there is something to be gained from SEO? More importantly, how can you convince them to spend money on SEO efforts? Following are some very useful suggestions.
Understand Where They’re Coming From
Surely your boss or potential client isn’t just refusing to engage in SEO activities for no reason! For all you know, they may have tried SEO before and had a horrible experience with it. Note that there have been a good number of people burned by what is known as black hat SEO. Find out if this is what happened so you can take steps to make the non-believer realize that while there is indeed a lot of bad SEO out there, that’s not all there is to SEO. Knowing why they are non-believers is the first step towards learning how to make them believe.
Use Google Analytics
Numbers. Data. Facts. These are things your boss or potential client cannot dispute. And these are things Google Analytics can most definitely help you with. With Google Analytics, you can show the non-believer where they are right now in terms of online performance and then use charts and graphs to make them understand how SEO can help improve their numbers. If you can show the data of someone you did SEO for as proof of how your work helped a business grow that would be even better. Here are some specific steps you can take:
1. Track year-to-year performance in terms of organic traffic and revenue.
Organic traffic refers to the website visits that result from online searches and organic revenue refers to the sales you get from organic traffic. It is important to track the growth (or decline) of organic traffic and revenue so your boss or potential client will see how their website’s search rankings affect the overall performance of their business. Organic traffic and revenue typically declines as a website’s search rankings go down. Search rankings, of course, are directly affected by the amount of effort you put on SEO activities.
2. Calculate the contribution of organic traffic and revenue to total website traffic and revenue.
To further emphasize how much of an impact search rankings (and therefore, SEO) have on a business’ growth, it helps for you to show the non-believer how much of his website’s total traffic and revenue is made up of organic traffic and revenue. When he sees that most of his customers are online users who found their way to his business via search engines, he will realize just how important it is to maintain top search rankings.
3. Track referral traffic and revenue.
Referral traffic refers to website visits that come from sources other than search engines. For example, if an online user sees a link to your website on a blog post and clicks on that link, that particular site visit will be recorded as referral traffic. And any revenue earned from that visit will be recorded as referral revenue. It is important to track referral traffic and revenue because it shows how link building and content distribution efforts help improve a website’s performance. Link building and content distribution are, of course, SEO activities.
Check Google Search Console
One of the most common reasons given by business owners for not paying for SEO services/activities is that their IT department has “everything online” covered. You can use Google Search Console to show them that there may be things their IT department hasn’t got covered. Check Messages and Manual Action in the Console to see if there are any warnings. Check Crawl>Crawl Errors to see if the website has broken pages. Check Search Appearance>HTML Improvements to see if there are missing or duplicate title tags and/or Meta descriptions.
Check the SERPs
If the above steps still do not convince the non-believer to invest in SEO, try doing an online search of their brand name. If there are results on the first page that contain negative feedback on the brand, show these results to the non-believer and explain that these are things you cannot control unless you do SEO. If the non-believer has a brick-and-mortar shop, do a localized search to see if they come up on search results. If not, explain how SEO can help them gain top rankings in localized searches.
Explain What Goes Into SEO
Sometimes the only reason why a business owner objects to the idea of investing in SEO is that he doesn’t completely understand why he needs to spend “that much” on it. The best way to work around this objection, of course, is to make him understand how you arrived at that particular budget estimate. Draw up a detailed SEO plan of action, with every step of the process clearly outlined. Indicate the estimated cost of every step, providing all the necessary details.
Explain why each step is important. What will a particular step do for the business? How much is the business owner set to gain if that particular step is done right? Business owners are generally easier to convince when they can see a real possibility of gaining excellent returns on the proposed investment. If you’re able to answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” in a clear and confident manner, you’d most likely win them over.
Sell Your Expertise
Non-believers are likely to ask if you can guarantee them top spot in SERPs. You are also likely to be asked if you can guarantee that once they get top ranking, you’ll be able to keep them there. Of course, nothing is guaranteed in SEO and you definitely shouldn’t be giving guarantees where there is none. But simply stating that “there are no guarantees in SEO” will not convince a non-believer. In fact, it will make him more of a non-believer in SEO! So, what do you do? Simple. Show him what you have done for others.
Dig up your files on previous clients and put together a set of case studies that show how you were able to help business grow through SEO. Show the non-believer that although you were unable to guarantee top results for your past clients (you may not even have been able to achieve top results for them all the time), your SEO efforts did make enough of an impact on their online performance to actually make a difference in the overall performance and growth of their business. You may even gather testimonials from your previous clients for good measure.
Bonus Tip: Listen carefully to the objections raised by a non-believer. Sometimes what he says isn’t really what he means. Once you are able to identify what the objection really is, find out if that is the only reason why he doesn’t believe in the value of SEO. Take steps to overcome objections only after you have confirmed that those are the only objections they have.
If all else fails, show the non-believers how well their closest competitors are doing because of SEO. Whether they admit it or not, people have an innate need to do better than the competition, especially if they feel that the other guy does not deserve the success he is enjoying. When the non-believer sees that his “undeserving rivals” are getting a bigger share of the pie—more online followers, more social media shares, more online sales—and that this success is spurred by their SEO efforts, he is likely to become more receptive to the idea of investing in SEO as well.
In most cases, the data collected from Google Analytics are enough to convert non-believers into SEO enthusiasts. But if you are unfortunate enough to encounter someone who continues to dismiss SEO even after being presented with Analytics data, the other tips and techniques discussed above should help you change his mind.