4 Reasons Your Boss Doesn’t Care About SEO

June 24, 2011
By Lisa Barone in SEO

A lot of our readers fight the good SEO fight in-house. They’re working their butt off, dodging politics and doing everything in their power to make a case for why the company needs to invest more (or at all) in search engine optimization. But despite their efforts, the boss still doesn’t seem to show an interest in SEO.

Why? And what do you do?

How do you make the case for SEO in terms your boss can understand? Below are four reasons your boss doesn’t care about SEO and how you can turn it around.

You haven’t turned the data into a story

As humans, even smart humans, we’re not always good with interpreting data, which is troubling since most SEOs spent their day swimming in it. The trick is to take the raw data you receive from your analytics and transform it into something that is easier to understand. Typically, this involves creating a story around. Note I said a story, not a Power Point.

Use the analytics data that tells you where your users are coming from, which links are getting clicked, where you’re getting unexpected traffic, where people are abandoning and build a story around it by comparing and contrasting the numbers. Don’t show your boss the raw data; show her what the numbers mean. What does that number mean to the business in terms of sales, customer retention, and how you’re SO much better than your competition? That’s what she wants to see. She wants to see the view, not the trail you took to get there.

Rankings are up, but traffic is down

If you’re the boss, I can see how it sounds counter-intuitive. You probably can too. I mean, if you’re paying someone to focus on SEO and they say rankings are up – then why isn’t traffic up? Well, probably because you’ve finally cut out some of that meaningless, non-converting vanity traffic. The traffic you acquired by accidentally ranking for things your business really didn’t want to rank for. Now, instead of getting a lot of lookie-loos you’re getting people with real wallets. Real visitors are up, pretend visitors are down.

Again, go back to that data and compare and contrast the number of visitors you’re receiving with the number (and price points) of conversions you’re seeing. If you’re attracting more of the right audience, your boss should like what the numbers say. It’s all about putting things in the language your boss will understand. More often than not that language is money. Or vanity.

Your boss isn’t educated on SEO’s other benefits

When you’re working for a small in-house team, you’re often responsible for a lot more than “just” the company SEO. You’re wearing all the hats – you’re doing conversion optimization, you’re creating the Facebook page, the landing pages, you’re tweeting, etc – you’re building the brand as a whole. But your boss doesn’t always see that. He’s looking at conversions and while they’re going up, maybe they’re not going up to the degree that he’d expect them to. He’s not sure you’re worth the money he’s paying you.

Maybe it’s time to create a clearer picture of everything else you’re doing. While increased conversions is the SEO benefit all bosses long for, show him everything else you’re providing for the company. Things like:

  • Increased visibility not only in Web search, but in Image Search, Video Search, etc
  • Increased brand authority and perceived value
  • Lower cost of customer acquisition
  • Better brand sentiment
  • Larger percentage of the available market
  • Greater voice in social media & throughout the industry
  • More engaged customer base

All of these elements contribute to the overall health of the brand and will increase sales down the road, if not immediately.

Your boss thinks you’re a warlock

The reason my father tells everyone that I’m a secretary at Google with a slight tone of disgust in his voice is because he doesn’t understand what it is, exactly, that I do. And because he doesn’t understand it, he doesn’t necessarily appreciate it or see its true value. Depending on the state and size of your organization, your boss and my father may have a lot in common (I’m sorry). Your boss doesn’t need to know the dirty details of what you do all day, but he should understand the basic principles. Maybe that means having a sit down with him and explaining to him the rationale for what you’re doing or maybe it means getting better at how you present the information to him. But if your boss doesn’t understand what you’re doing and what search engine optimization really entails, then he’s likely to not really care. And that’s a problem that needs to be fixed.

What’s the climate like within your organization? Is everyone onboard with SEO or do you find yourself continually having to justify what it is you do and why it’s so darn important to the business’ bottom line?

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