How to convince my company they need SEO

by skeylargo 20 replies
I am not a web site developer at the moment (I used to be) working now for a small company that has ZERO SEO on their site. When I look at their site I cringe, although they think it is great. I am trying to find compelling reasons why they need SEO but in response I get:
- we are a niche business; does not matter if we show up on Google search
- we don't care if we show up in organic search since don't cater to end client
- we've been in the business for many years and people who want our services know who we are
- if they are looking for our type of services they look at specialty publications/site/conferences to find companies not by searching Google
-our clients/customers are not using Google to find us, they just type our name directly to go to our site
I ran a quick evaluation on optimization and they rank at 40% for overall optimization and their global position is 7,000,000. No meta-tags, keywords, descriptions, 11 MB images with no alt tags, no back linking, no blog.

How do you convince a business to do SEO when they don't think there is any value to it? The only reason so far is that they might have to change their business focus next year and offer services to end customer so it would be beneficial for them to start working on SEO now so if/when they decide to go that way they will be already ranked and ready and the potential clients can find them through organic search.
#search engine optimization #company #convince #seo
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
    Originally Posted by skeylargo View Post

    I ran a quick evaluation on optimization and they rank at 40% for overall optimization and their global position is 7,000,000. No meta-tags, keywords, descriptions, 11 MB images with no alt tags, no back linking, no blog.

    First of all, everything in that list other than the image stuff and linking has nothing at all to do with SEO. Meta tags, keywords, and descriptions are totally useless.

    I have no idea what "global position is 7,000,000" means. Sounds like you are using some silly useless SEO evaluation.

    To convince them that they need SEO, there are two simple ways to do it. One is to pull up examples of competitors, what they are doing, and the potential traffic they are getting.

    Second way is to get them to run an AdWords campaign. If nobody is looking for them for relevant keywords, like they think, then the campaign won't cost them a thing because they will get zero clicks.
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    • Profile picture of the author skeylargo
      I do not know much at this point about SEO but learning ...
      I found metatag.org site that did SEO evaluations - don't know if that is silly or not but I thought it was interesting and the data it returned for our site and some of our competitors kind of made sense after looking at other sites' source code.

      Some of the information I found on SEO optimization was from other posts on this forum for on page optimization where all advice included meta tags and keyword and descriptions among other things.
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      • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
        Originally Posted by skeylargo View Post

        I do not know much at this point about SEO but learning ...
        I found metatag.org site that did SEO evaluations - don't know if that is silly or not but I thought it was interesting and the data it returned for our site and some of our competitors kind of made sense after looking at other sites' source code.

        Some of the information I found on SEO optimization was from other posts on this forum for on page optimization where all advice included meta tags and keyword and descriptions among other things.
        Looks like that site doesn't exist, but if it did, of course they would want you to believe meta tags are important. It's right there in their name.

        I would ignore about 90% of the SEO information you read on this forum. Actually, that goes for just about every SEO forum out there.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
    Ask them if they have all the new customers they would like?

    If they say yes then give it up - they won't bother with SEO

    If they say no then ask them why they would turn down getting more from the web?

    Truth is not every business needs to rank.
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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    I guess more than anything, I'm trying to figure out why you need to convince your company of the importance of SEO at all. Will you make more money by doing it? If not, why waste your time and energy beating a dead horse? In a worst case scenario, you are becoming annoying to them.
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    • Profile picture of the author skeylargo
      Yes, my role would expand/change and I would make more money.

      I started to look at it because I was asked to evaluate our social media and website SEO. I think when they asked me about SEO they actually did not know what they were asking about . I did the evaluation and based on my findings and outside company evaluation I got a proposal which is a lot more money than they are willing to pay. So my idea was to do some of the stuff that I can do myself and only outsource what I am not able to do.
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      • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
        Originally Posted by skeylargo View Post

        I was asked to evaluate our social media and website SEO. I think when they asked me about SEO they actually did not know what they were asking about . I did the evaluation and based on my findings and outside company evaluation I got a proposal which is a lot more money than they are willing to pay. .
        Okay thats a very different issue than what your Op represented. So they ARE interested in SEO but its matter of what they want to pay for it.

        in that case its even more about the monetary value so the only way past that is to show the extra monetary value that SEO will bring. You do have one easy way forward. You could learn to do all of it. pick a keyword and in spare time show the increase in exposure.

        If your present work load with the company allows for you to do that then you can show them tangible improvements rather than just hypothetical value. Once you can do that then you have an added skill set to command extra pay with that and other companies.
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  • Profile picture of the author tritrain
    I disagree about the description and keywords not having value. The description is used in the snippet, so when someone types in the or searches for their site in some other way, it will be nicely categorized for them. It's a service to the customer, in that sense. The description and keywords are a factor for the search engines, even if just small ones. They describe what the site is about, in their own way. It more accurately defines who they are than 'guessing' by who links to them and such.

    Maybe you could offer to look at Google Webmaster tools and see what Google sees wrong with the site. It would be free.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marcus W K Wong
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    Originally Posted by skeylargo View Post

    I am trying to find compelling reasons why they need SEO but in response I get:
    - we are a niche business; does not matter if we show up on Google search
    - we don't care if we show up in organic search since don't cater to end client
    - we've been in the business for many years and people who want our services know who we are
    - if they are looking for our type of services they look at specialty publications/site/conferences to find companies not by searching Google
    -our clients/customers are not using Google to find us, they just type our name directly to go to our site

    How do you convince a business to do SEO when they don't think there is any value to it?

    Don't pitch it to them that it's for "new customers" and "free traffic" >> there's so many arguments against this that it's deprecated the value of the entire SEO industry.

    SEO as a whole, is more than just about being first on search engines. Put yourself into what I'm assuming is their sales orientated mindset and find the value proposition of SEO exterior to what they're saying. Case a scenario and pitch it to them with responses. Some examples to pitch in response would be:


    - we are a niche business; does not matter if we show up on Google search
    - if they are looking for our type of services they look at specialty publications/site/conferences to find companies not by searching Google
    -our clients/customers are not using Google to find us, they just type our name directly to go to our site


    Ok, so a lead with intent goes to a conference, runs into our business. They forget who we are but they remember certain details about us.

    This isn't questioning the sales skill of the representative, but this it's easy to lose a business card, get a wrong email - what are we doing to stop that leak? What are they going to do?

    They can't go back to the conference 2 weeks later but my guess is that they're going search for <service><location><employee><conference>. The truth is, what's happening is we're educating people but not giving them every opportunity to signal back to us.

    The least we could do is revise some copy and do some basic content to build authority. This content can be repurposed in sales pitches to prospects.


    - we don't care if we show up in organic search since don't cater to end client

    It's not just end clients searching. We can use SEO and content to validate our customers influence to their end clients by facilitating trust. This is about retention through SEO not just appearing page 1 of google. We're a business that's operating for how long, and people (end clients and our clients) don't know. Why?


    - we are a niche business; does not matter if we show up on Google search

    SEO isn't just about ranking page one, this is leading into the site speed and relevant to the user experience of our site. The better the experience, the easier it is for us to trigger them to make an emotionally activated and well informed decision for us to close them on. This is breaking deep into SPIN selling and we're not degrading the quality of support we provide to our existing customers.


    I'm basing these responses on the presumption that they're sales/business orientated (like most of the world). Competitor research may not be the best way to pitch it, but if they can see the value with zero competition - I'd say that's way more powerful in the thought process of "don't be a sheep, be a shepherd" mentality.

    Happy to help where we can. But start at benefits if they're not convinced. They will disregard the data if they don't think it's beneficial.
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    • Profile picture of the author skeylargo
      Thank you Marcus. Some very good points and suggestions. I will have to give it some more thought and come up with the strategy.

      A lot of it is really new to me since the last time I was involved in web development SEO and social media was not even a thing. I am also tasked with some aspects of social media campaigns as well and need to incorporate that into my "pitch" as well since the two need to be really connected.

      It is difficult to sell the value of SEO to the decision maker when he gave me the following recent scenario:
      We just acquired a new large account - they looked us up on the website/publication that rates all companies for our industry and we have been consistently rated highest for customer satisfaction. They looked at our website, contacted us and we have a new account.
      Granted, that is not a norm, but I don't know how to counter that.

      I have to admit I had to look up what SPIN is - looks like I have some reading to do to learn how to become a better "salesperson".
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      • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
        Originally Posted by skeylargo View Post

        It is difficult to sell the value of SEO to the decision maker when he gave me the following recent scenario:
        We just acquired a new large account - they looked us up on the website/publication that rates all companies for our industry and we have been consistently rated highest for customer satisfaction. They looked at our website, contacted us and we have a new account.
        Granted, that is not a norm, but I don't know how to counter that.

        But nothing about that story proves that they don't need SEO.

        If someone finds them in a phonebook, does that mean they don't need a website?

        Who knows how many others might find them through other searches on Google. Not everyone is going to that publication who needs their service.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
      Originally Posted by Marcus W K Wong View Post

      Don't pitch it to them that it's for "new customers" and "free traffic" >> there's so many arguments against this that it's deprecated the value of the entire SEO industry.

      .
      Most of what you wrote sounds intelligent and cerebral but its not where small and mid size business lives.

      SEO is about getting customers ...period. The whole point of a search engine is it leads searchers to what they are seeking. In no way does that deprecate the value of SEO. Its the reason search engines exist after all.

      If the Ops business does not respond to the idea of getting more business its terribly unlikely they are going to respond to any of the ideas you floated.

      Its search engine optimization and optimizations that do not improve the quantity of views may optimize your site and visitor user experience but if it doesn't increase views its not search engine optimization.

      Can user experience create SEO opportunities? of course but its entirely possible to have stellar user experience for your existing customers and not rank much higher (and yep SEO is about ranking...if viewers went to page two and three it wouldn't be but few do).

      At the corporate level all the things you listed are a concern so they are put together with SEO but they are not the same thing. If a client is not interested in having more exposure and customers then you might as well forget mentioning SEO and just pitch some of the site changes you mentioned for UI etc and leave SEO as a term completely out of it because those things for those reasons is not SEO.

      We deprecate the value of real SEO when we are not using it for its core competency but looking for something else besides what it is to validate it.

      In fact I cannot think of ANY means of advertising that has its value deprecated because one of its main goals is to get new customers. I totally agree with you on the free traffic thing (but only because SEO is rarely ever truly "free") but I can't see the logic in the idea that seeking "new customers" from SEO deprecates its value when getting eyeballs and visits is core to every form of advertising and the whole point of optimizing your site in a search engine is for advertising/exposure reasons.
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  • Profile picture of the author neal patel
    Find out your opponent and analyze their website. compare your site with them and show that how good they are doing with the help of SEO.

    It is good that without SEO your company get business but try to show them that if without SEO we are doing good, with SEO we can go far better than competitors.

    Ask them that they don't want to grow their business in this competitive world?

    having a website is the common thing, but to be found on the first page is the great thing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Noman Asghar
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    Tell them the market size on the internet related their services, show them high volume keywords and how much they are grabbing from it.
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
    Originally Posted by tritrain View Post

    I disagree about the description and keywords not having value. The description is used in the snippet, so when someone types in the or searches for their site in some other way, it will be nicely categorized for them. It's a service to the customer, in that sense. The description and keywords are a factor for the search engines, even if just small ones. They describe what the site is about, in their own way. It more accurately defines who they are than 'guessing' by who links to them and such.

    1. It's not a ranking factor.

    2. A lot of the time, Google won't use the description you have chosen anyhow.

    3. Leave it blank and Google will choose what they feel is the most relevant snippet of your content, which actually could attract a lot more clicks than your chosen description. A page can rank for hundreds of keywords, many of which you would never think of. I would rather let Google try to pull a description that matches the search query.
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    • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
      Originally Posted by MikeFriedman View Post

      1. It's not a ranking factor.

      2. A lot of the time, Google won't use the description you have chosen anyhow.

      3. Leave it blank and Google will choose what they feel is the most relevant snippet of your content, which actually could attract a lot more clicks than your chosen description. A page can rank for hundreds of keywords, many of which you would never think of. I would rather let Google try to pull a description that matches the search query.
      Pretty much what I was going to say except that we still create meta descriptions for pages that we actually want to target for a phrase, simply because Google usually does use that meta description if that phrase is typed in. They certainly will use something else on the page if it matches the searcher's query, though.

      Either way, the meta description and keyword tags have no impact at all on ranking, except that if used, a compelling meta description may result in more clicks which may influence the rankings to some degree (lots of debate about that).
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  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    Since I do not know your industry and numbers for it, I'll make up a scenario.

    Immediate value of 1 new client= $100. Lifetime value of 1 new client = $500.
    That is, owner of the company thinks their immediate net profit is $100; lifetime is $500.

    You tell them there are 100 searches a month for what they sell and, if at top of searches, they get 50 of those searchers to visit the site.

    So what?

    Does the site convert? (They did not ask you to evaluate that; you did not say it does and how well.)

    For my example, the site converts 10 of those 50... And the sales people convert 5 of those 10 into buyers. So, each month, SEO gets them 5 sales or $500 immediate profit and $2,500 over time.

    In theory, SEO that costs $499.99 a month is profitable. In real life, people put emotion into math so, for some companies the SEO that gets them $500 immediate and $2500 over 3 or 7 years can cost as much as $100/month while others are going to say $230 or $178 or $53.71.

    The point I'm making: you need to know
    how many searches overall,
    how many you're likely to get if you make it to #1 or #10,
    how many of them will end on your site,
    how many will call/contact,
    how many will buy,
    and what is the value of a client to your bosses.

    Long ago, before Google put ads at the top of pages,
    #1 got some 30% of all searches,
    #2 got 12%
    #3 got 8%

    and each spot lower got about 1.25% less than the one above, with the exception of #10, which got about that much more than #9 (presumably because being the last item on the page it was easier to notice).

    If you end up ranking on page 1 for a bunch of keywords, you'll get at least as many visitors from random phrases (phrases that don't show up in Google adwords planner as possible keywords, phrases you'd have never thought of on your own but still make sense and some that do not). It's just that each phrase will have been used by only one or two people that month in the whole of your area/country.

    The thing is, you should be able to say, SEO will cost you $100 and will bring you $1000 on average. In real life, people like to hear the steps in-between the $100 out and $1000 in, so you need the numbers of all conversion points.
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  • Profile picture of the author st0nec0ld
    SEO is not anymore an option for a business; it is a must. You tell them that.
    If they want to keep up or to be on top of SERP then they need to compete for it and the only way to do that is to do SEO.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
      Originally Posted by st0nec0ld View Post

      SEO is not anymore an option for a business; it is a must. You tell them that.
      I wouldn't because its no longer true. I work with businesses killing it without SEO. They are not like this company though. They are using social and ad buys.

      In fact even though I am a known SEO guy I find my companies work is edging toward 50/50 SEO and social - less than 50% SEO if I take PPC/Ad buys into account.
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  • Profile picture of the author KylieSweet
    Most of the business that are targeting local and general has its own website so you need to optimize it to tell the search engines that your site is what the users need. Because every websites do not walk by its own so that we need to guide them to provide for the users.
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