Explaining SEO to Your Boss

Even if you’re overseeing the SEO side of things for your company, you probably know there are many things left to learn. After all, SEO best practices are constantly evolving and new search engine algorithms are being updated constantly. Now imagine if you had zero knowledge of what SEO is—pretend you didn’t even know it stands for “search engine optimization.” You don’t know how websites get ranked in Google, what makes a “good keyword,” or what a black hat trick is.

That’s likely how your boss feels. She’s not meant to know the intricacies of SEO, but she does need to understand where your company stands, the importance of SEO, and the bare bones basics. That’s where you come in. If you’re in charge of delivering SEO news be locally seo cycle of seo and social mediato your boss, you can expect a few common questions such as, “Are we doing better than last year? Why is traffic up but not sales? I’ve been Googling (insert keyword here) but we’re not showing up; why not?”

Embracing Clarity

Your boss doesn’t want to hear about Penguins and Pandas, she wants clear answers, examples, and statistics. Before you meet with your boss, make sure you tailor your explanations for your audience. Some bosses know more about SEO than others, and you need to make sure your jargon (if applicable) meets their understanding. From the beginning, choose a simple yet effective way to report or present results, and use that same format each time—familiarity breeds comfort.
When it comes to tailoring SEO results, don’t just think about your boss. What if she suddenly leaves the company, or you’re surprised with stakeholders at the meeting? Make sure you know each major stakeholder, keep an upgraded organizational chart, know what he or she understands about SEO and how he or she likes reporting, if you can. Understanding how different people work together, such as the CMO, CFO, and CEO, can make everyone’s job easier.

Tailor Understanding Levels

Delivering SEO news isn’t just about making things clear, but also highlighting your importance in the company. Look at things from their perspective: They want to know where the SEO stands for your company, your plans for improving it, and what that involves (making sure you play an integral role). Write down any questions that may be asked so you can go prepared with answers. Every stakeholder has different goals, so align your plan correctly.
A great way to do this is to prepare charts comparing SEO performance based on channels, as well as comparing previous quarters to the current performance. Have a brief, simple explanation for each chart prepared, and point out positive changes and how they are linked to your own efforts. Timelines can be a great tool, especially when they include projects you were involved with, changes to Google algorithms, or even worldwide events that may have impacted SEO.

Passing the Buck

Hopefully, you’re the SEO liaison between your company and the SEO firm you work with. That means the responsibility is largely on the shoulders of the professionals. You’re just the messenger—but you know that bullets have a way of targeting the messenger. Working with a reputable SEO company means the hard work is done for you, and they can provide you with simple reports or show you how to track progress yourself and you can then translate for your boss.

SEO isn’t easy, and explaining it to those without the same level of understanding as you can be tough. However, with the right tools, team and prep work, you can dish up a grand delivery.

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