The more people who can find your website in search engines such as Google, the more customers, sales and leads you are going to generate. Plain and simple. This process is called search engine optimization, or SEO for short.
When it comes to selling SEO services to a prospect who is familiar with this process, things can be fairly easy. But what about when you’re dealing with a prospect who has no idea what SEO actually is? That’s when things can get tricky.
Operating inside the trenches of local marketing, I’ve been able to rank my local marketing agency for many top marketing search terms. We’ve achieved thousands of first-page rankings for customers and I’ve taught other digital marketers my SEO strategies through trainings at our marketing school, Offline Sharks.
So, if you’re an entrepreneur or business owner selling SEO as a service, how do you effectively explain how it works?
This is a great opportunity to not only flex your expertise by explaining how the inner workings of SEO, but also demonstrate what it can do for their businesses. When clients trust that you know what you are doing and how it benefits them, closing the deal is easy.
Before you dig into your SEO lesson, ask how much your client knows already. This tells you how to best simplify your message and if you need any educational materials. Then you can run down the basics of SEO.
Remember to build on their demonstrated knowledge by referencing what they told you they know. It lets the client know you were listening and keeps them engaged when you use their language.
Customize the information below to make it highly relevant to each client and their industry.
What is SEO (for people who don’t know SEO)?
As previously mentioned, SEO is short for search engine optimization, which is the process of setting up your website, digital marketing and online accounts to show up higher and ideally at the top of online search results for your target customer.
Usually, people talk about SEO for websites and getting webpages to rank higher in Google search results. Google has an algorithm that continues to evolve, and it is constantly ranking dozens of factors to decide if one of your website pages is a useful result for a Google search.
Give customers a relevant example using their business. For example: “future customer George drives to a dry cleaner and sees it closed on Sundays, so he puts ‘dry cleaner open Sun’ in his phone. Google shows him the dozen open dry cleaners near him and he picks one of the top three because they’ve got a bunch of shiny yellow review stars. When SEO is done right, your business, [Your Name] Dry Cleaning, shows up in the top of search engine results every time and more customers choose you.”
Explain to your client that you can and should optimize more than just your website, and there are hundreds of search engines besides Google, such as (input examples relevant to their industry) Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, etc. Online accounts would include things like business listings on review sites and directories, social media accounts and business profiles anywhere people search for services or products you provide.
In basic terms, SEO is setting up your online presence in a way that lets search engines and the people using them know you have exactly what they are looking for. Local SEO adds location identifiers that let search engines know that your business is highly relevant for people searching in your service area.
How does SEO work (when clients don’t know how SEO works)?
Optimizing for search engines falls under two categories: On-site (things you can do to or on your website) and off-site (things you can optimize or make happen online but off your website).
On-site SEO activities take care of optimizing the technical side of your website, making sure your website is set up and updated in a way that makes it easy for search engines to know exactly who you are, what you do and where you are located. Google “crawls” websites for that information and stores it, so it knows when to match it to someone’s search.
For example, on-site SEO covers things like:
• Site structure: Does your website make sense and is it easy for users to navigate?
• Page speed: Slow loading kills your ranking because Google doesn’t want to suggest slow sites.
• Content: Posting quality content and using keywords shows search engines how and where to look for them.
Off-site SEO is anything you do off your website to improve your ranking in search engines. Things like your website’s popularity, relevance, authority and reviews are established by other websites and people on the internet. For example, Google reviews can heavily affect search engine rankings in local results and having other websites link back to your website signifies that other people find your pages useful and trustworthy, giving your business more authority.
Where on-site SEO ensures you have a foundation that search engines approve of and want to use in results, many of the off-site optimization activities build up a quality internet presence. Remember that the effectiveness of off-site SEO is dependent on human behavior. Are people clicking over to your website? Are they sharing and mentioning your content on social media? Are the content makers of other websites linking back to your webpages? These are the things that encourage Google to put your optimized website in front of more people.
Breaking down SEO for clients can be difficult.
Explaining SEO to non-SEO business owners and decision-makers can be hard, especially when you yourself have been doing it for so long and likely now automate most of the process. But this is where you can really win over clients and prospects.
Use your client’s language, build off what they already know and include analogies and examples from their industry where the end result is high rankings and more customers for their company.
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