The Only World-Standard SEO Software

Download Now
SEO PowerSuite
SEO PowerSuite Hot-new version
Supported OS

A Salesman’s Approach to SEO Metrics: It’s Time Your Boss Recognizes the True Value of SEO

| Posted in category Search Engine Optimization

If you are the only person in your company taking care of SEO, sooner or later the day will come when you have to demostrate the results of your day's work to your boss or supervisor. And this is not always easy, since often SEO metrics are all Greek to the receiving end. You can go on for hours about the new high-PR backlinks you got for the website or those new profitable keywords you've just discovered. The truth is that the only thing your boss wants to know is how SEO helps their business. And, unless you manage to translate your SEO analytics into the language of business, your work will always be underappreciated or, on the contrary, your employer will expect too much from you.

Let us consider some widespread SEO myths and how they sometimes create misunderstanding between you and your boss.

Myth 1. If the website is not going up in SERPs, there is no progress

A very popular SEO metric that’s quite easy to explain is website rankings. Pretty much everybody understands that the higher the rankings, the more visitors a website gets. But what if your website has been # 1-3 on Google for months? Does it mean that nothing has been happening? Well, quite on the contrary. It is exactly thanks to the SEO's hard work that the website is still at the top of Google (or whatever search engine that may be).

Ok, let’s have a quick look at some statistics here. Using Google Trends, let's check how the number of people searching for "SEO" has changed over the past couple of years:

Google Trends Screenshot

We see that the number of people looking up "SEO" on Google has virtually tripled since 2004, and is steadily growing. This means that more and more businesses optimize their websites for search engines, trying to beat you in the results pages. Thus, the fact that your website still occupies leading positions and your sales are not going down is a huge achievement already.

So, explain to your boss that now there are many more competitors breathing down your neck in the SERPs than, let's say, 2 years ago. You might want to track how competition for your target keywords changes over time and, if necessary, demonstrate it to your employer.

Myth 2. If visitors do not convert, this must be because the SEO is targeting "the wrong keywords"

Poor old "wrong keywords", they always seem to be the ones to blame. The reason I don’t like the phrase "wrong keywords" is that it’s too vague and general. And I don't not really believe in "keywords that convert" as such. Because even if somebody comes to your site using the term "buy your product" and converts, this doesn't mean that 2 days earlier they haven't visited your website while searching for "your kind of product".

Then what role do SEOs really play in helping conversion? First, they help increase the number of converted clients by attracting more traffic to the website. Second, they do everything they can to attract well-targeted traffic to the site. But SEOs being solely responsible for targeting the right kind of online audiences is probably an exaggeration.

So, in general, as an SEO you are responsible for the quantity and the quality of the traffic that comes to the site. But even if swarms of just the right prospects head to your site, this still doesn't mean they are going to convert, because there are many other factors that influence conversion. These are (1) website design and layout, (2) site copy, (3) product price, (4) product quality, (5) product reviews, (6) urgency to get the product, and possibly some other ones.

So, in case your boss tries to blame low conversion rates on you, make it clear that SEO is only one of the numerous factors that influence conversion and elaborate on what SEO actually does for conversion. Also, explain to him/her how other departments can help increase conversion rate.

Myth 3. SEO = Web marketing

Companies vary on the scale of fully SEO-aware to barely knowing what SEO stands for. So, while some firms have a separate SEO department that includes a keyword research specialist, a copywriter, a link builder, etc., in other companies, SEO, PPC advertising, site content management and  even copywriting may be taken care of by a single jack-of-all-trades marketing specialist. No matter what company you work for, you should know where you stand as an SEO specialist.

Nowadays more and more companies allocate a distinct position for an SEO specialist. So, if you see that hiring a separate person to write copy or monitor PPC ads would increase sales, don't hesitate to tell your boss about it. Who knows, you could become the person who will be later referred to as the founder of the SEO department ;).

Myth 4. SEO is way overpriced

For many people it is still hard to figure out what a reasonable price for SEO would be. This is basically because SEO is a relatively new industry, and many are not well-familiar with what it includes, what it does, etc. The more they learn about SEO and the better they understand how it is done, the more valuable it will become in their eyes.

Thus, "educate" your employer by telling true stories about how incredibly fast search engines evolve these days. Tell them about this new algo that just appeared and how it affected so many websites, yet your website managed to hang on.  Tell them about the latest Google news and how it might affect search, your website and the whole world. All in all, make it clear for them that SEOs are like intelligence officers – always have to be on top of things.

Myth 5. SEO works well for the company only if it results in sales

Well, immediate sales or leads are the most evident and the most important results that SEO yields. However, there are other benefits that often accompany top search engines rankings. I'm talking about different PR-related things like building brand recognition, etc.  For example, besides considering how many clients have made a purchase or contacted your company after visiting your website, also take into account how many times your company’s presentation has been printed out or your webpage got bookmarked on Delicious, or simply ask your boss to think how many potential clients your competitors have been missing out on, since their website does not rank as well as yours.

Myth 6. It’s not worth spending money on SEO tools

There are so many myths about SEO tools and horror stories about how they are illegal or dangerous. Some employers might think that you would like to buy tools because you just want to sit back and relax.

Again, explain to your boss how SEO apps work. It has been proven that SEO tools save one a great amount of time and allow to cut man hours expenditures. Get this message through and, most likely, instead of spending hours doing time-consuming checkups, you will be able to concentrate on bringing your company’s SEO forward.

To sum it up, I would like to say that, hey, it's up to you whether you would like to communicate any of these points to your employer or not. That will probably depend on a particular company, their need for SEO and other factors. I just hope that the reasoning provided in this post will help you shape your arguments in case you need to ;).

back to SEO blog